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December 15, 2017

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Surviving the Next Recession

You know itís coming. Sooner or later, the job market will take a dive. The question is: how do you prepare?

The first step is to be rational. Like the stock market and the housing market, the job market runs in cycles. So, forget the tears, the blame and the denial. Be thankful for the smooth ride youíve enjoyed, and gear up mentally for the bumps ahead. It wonít be fun or easy, but youíll get through the downturn and come out stronger. Just ask any of us whoíve survived multiple crashes.

Next on the agenda: Forget your current business model. If youíre like most recruiters, your world is about to be turned upside down.

Like-Kind or Unique?

Simply put, the candidates who make you rich in a strong economy will more than likely make you poor in a recession.

How is this so? Well, when the job market is hot, most of the job openings are for people in duplicate roles. When companies grow, they throw more people into like-kind positions to handle the workload. Instead of having one sales person or one engineer or one software developer on staff, they add to their headcount by duplicating functions.

When business slows, the same companies find themselves with a surplus of talent. At that point, the pink slips start flying as redundancies are eliminated. As a result, candidates who were once in high demand suddenly find themselves out of a job.

From a business perspective, youíre faced with a dilemma: Do you climb aboard a sinking ship with your candidates, or bail out and change your business model?

Being a survivalist with bills to pay, Iíll take option number two. Iíll make it a point to cultivate relationships with special, outside-the-box candidates who have unique skill sets. These are people who can add instant value to an organization and put money in its pocket.

Itís Not Too Early to Start

As recruiters, we like to remind our candidates that the best time to look for a job is when you donít need to look. Well, the same logic applies to your recession strategy. Here are three tips for building your safe house:

1. Economize. Look for ways to reduce your overhead. I recently switched my long distance carrier, dropped a phone line, cancelled some cloud services I really didnít need and migrated my web hosting to GoDaddy. Monthly savings? About $400.

2. Strengthen your network. Make sure to maintain, re-establish or find new professional relationships. You may need each other sooner than you think.

3. Look for value-added candidates. These can be the square pegs, runners-up in recent placements or high-achieving hiring managers.

My first recession experience almost put me out of business. What saved me was a talented, over-achieving hiring manager with whom Iíd placed several people. No, he didnít ask me to fill more jobs. In fact, he was forced to lay people off.

Instead, he asked if I could help him find another position. Which I did, and the huge fee it generated salvaged my career. And thatís when I figured out that the first casualty in a recession is your old business model.

- Bill Radin

Bill Radin is one of the most popular and highly regarded trainers in the recruiting industry, and has trained many of the largest independent and franchised recruiting organizations, including Management Recruiters, Dunhill, Sanford Rose, Snelling and Fortune Personnel. His speaking engagements include the NAPS national conference, the annual Kennedy Conference, and dozens of state association meetings and network conventions, including Top Echelon and Splits.org.