Candidates Fear Another Recession, Reluctant to Look for New Jobs

2018 has been a rough year for recruiters, as ManpowerGroup points out that 46% of employers say they cannot find the skills they need to fill open jobs. It may be a jobseekers’ market, but memories of past recessions are keeping jobseekers from being optimistic about seeking out new opportunities.


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In a new MedReps report, The Truth Revealed: Is Low Unemployment Causing a Medical Sales Jobs Shortage?, more than half of medical sales employees (66%) say if they lost their jobs tomorrow, it would be challenging to find a new position due to low unemployment rates. MedReps speculates that this mentality can be partially blamed on past recessions and the low unemployment rates leading up to them, specifically the 2008 recession.

The More Experienced, the Greater the Fear of Being Laid Off

The most startling finding uncovered by the MedReps report: these fears and perceptions directly impact how quickly and effectively recruiters can hire top talent, which means you can’t afford to ignore them. In fact, 69% of medical sales reps—with just 6 to 10 years of experience—who were new or not yet in the industry during the Great Recession of 2008, were laid off or knew someone who was laid off.
Furthermore, the more experienced a medical sales rep was, the greater the risk that he or she would be laid off. As the MedReps report found that 76% of those with 11 to 15 years of experience in the industry say they, or someone they know in the same industry, were laid off during that time. Another 79% of those who have dedicated 16 to 20 years to the profession say the same.
MedReps advises recruiters to be mindful and empathetic to medical sales reps, as the Great Recession continues to strike a nerve among many workers in this industry. While the economy appears to be striving, 39% of respondents suspect the next recession could occur within the next 1 to 3 years and another 32% believe it’ll happen within 4 to 6 years. This means medical sales candidates are now a combination of passive and pessimistic—which continues to be a difficult situation for any recruiter.

Candidates Are More Mindful of Glassdoor Reviews

With recession fears running high, MedReps suggests that this actually makes candidates look at job descriptions, former employee reviews, and the company’s overall success with a more critical eye.
As MedReps points out, “If they’re [medical sales reps] going to leave a position where they’re comfortable and feel safe from an economic downfall, they need to be convinced that the new company is stable beyond compare and leaders are devoted to the employees’ futures.”
Recruiters and employers should be mindful of the reviews being left on social media and websites like Glassdoor, as these reviews may or may not help sway potential candidates who are on the fence about changing jobs in uncertain times.

Detrimental Misconceptions

As stated above, with unemployment rates being so low, it makes candidates worried that a recession is looming, which is a “major factor in employees’ counterintuitive outlooks on potential job searches.” MedReps says that this perception is “a detrimental misconception.”
The report suggests that rather than seeing low unemployment as an opportunity to rise in a position, due to less competition, “candidates believe it will hurt their chances of receiving a job offer because they equate low unemployment with fewer jobs available.”
MedReps advises employers and recruiters to walk a mile in the candidate’s shoes, as candidates look at the job market in an entirely different way. According to the report, “When job seekers are discouraged by the world around them, their desire to ‘hit the pavement’ and search for openings is greatly diminished. When recruiters fail to recognize the source of candidates’ hesitation, opportunity is missed on both accounts. It’s essential that recruiters find a way to dial in on the same lens.”

7 Tips for Attracting Fearful Candidates

The MedReps report offers a few best practices for recruiting medical sales reps:

  • Narrow your search with artificial intelligence (AI): Use AI to analyze candidate data and understand who is open to opportunities.
  • Go where the candidates are: Social media recruitment is critical for connecting with passive candidates.
  • Be respectful of their current role: Use tools such as text messaging platforms, scheduling apps, and video interviews to allow candidates the freedom to walk through the hiring process on their own time.
  • Show them where the company stands: Post the total number of your current job openings on social media to catch your target audience’s eye and immediately make your point.
  • Give them your plans: Create a link on your career page showing jobseekers the plans you have in place to prevent employee hardships during a recession. MedReps suggests taking it a step further and add “Recession-Proof Plans” under your benefits section, showing you take their fear’s seriously and are ready to help them through anything.
  • Speak directly to entry-level candidates: Ask current entry-level employees to create video testimonials, sharing how valued they feel on your team and how leadership nurtures them for growth opportunities.
  • Prove you’re forward thinking: Show-off your company’s plans for the future and show updates to them often.

When you can prove to candidates that you take their fears seriously, and offer practical solutions for squashing those fears, you’ll be better equipped to recruit the talent you need. While we haven’t hit the next recession, it’s always best to be prepared for the worst.
To learn more about MedReps’ report, The Truth Revealed: Is Low Unemployment Causing a Medical Sales Jobs Shortage?, click here.