Their Loss Is Your Gain- How to Utilize Downsizing in Staffing to Your Advantage

These days seeing headlines announcing massive layoffs at companies are not uncommon. News stories like these often set off alarms or panic for many as they can signal changes in the economy that are perceived as dismal.  As a sourcing professional, this should be a golden opportunity to find ideal candidates with the relevant experience and skills you’re looking for. The question is, once you become aware of a downsizing, what course of action can you take to get in touch with a potentially large pool of applicants?

Cold call anyone and everyone you can get in touch with

A couple of years ago I was tasked with staffing seasonal sales reps for Samsung products to work in Best Buy stores the client had a specific desired skill set that they wanted to see in all the candidates. They had to be tech-savvy, personable, and able to catch on to new concepts quickly. Applicants with sales experience were more than plentiful, but it was more difficult to find people that had the innovative mindset. It was just my luck that at the same time Radio Shack announced the closing of 1,100 locations which would mean thousands of jobs lost. Through a simple internet search, my team and I were able to acquire a comprehensive list of the specific stores that were closing. I called every store within a reasonable distance of my Best Buy locations and spoke with the managers to ask if any employees did not have jobs lined up for after the store would close. After a full day of cold calling, I came back the next day to a full inbox and a considerable number of voicemails from employees asking when they could interview.

If you’re in a situation where there isn’t a publicly available list of locations to call, try getting the number to the HR or recruiting department for the corporation. Often when numerous people are being let go from a company, they’re open to providing resources and points of contact to help their employees find a new career after leaving.

Make a general call out to those downsized through your social media networks

This works exceptionally well if you’re sourcing for positions local to you. Share a link to an article reporting on the layoffs and make it know that you may have a new career option for those that are affected. You never know who on your friends’ list on Facebook, or in your professional network on LinkedIn might know someone who needs your help in their job search. Include your contact information and request a resume as well.

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Scrape the job boards and find those recently updated resumes

Candidates from a company that is downsizing are likely to get their resumes updated and posted on job boards quickly. In this situation, you have specific candidate variables such as location, place of employment and skill sets to pinpoint who is actively looking after a layoff. Be the first recruiter to call them.

Be mindful and compassionate

The loss of a job can be incredibly traumatic. Many are left with uncertainty and anxiety about being able to provide for themselves or their families who can make their job search more stressful than normal. In your communication with these prospective candidates, be sure to take extra care to convey empathy for their situation. The mindset of a passive candidate and that of someone recently displaced from employment are night and day.

Erin has been in talent acquisition for the past 6 years and has recruited for a broad spectrum of professionals including SAT prep tutors, costumed mascots, promo models, healthcare workers and IT.  She currently works as a Talent Sourcer for an e-commerce company in the greater Chicago area.

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