Recruiting, Talent

Laid Off Workers: How to Recruit This Overlooked Talent Pool

The Great Recession of 2008 may be a thing of the past, but it still has lasting repercussions to this day. While the unemployment rate continues to hover below 4%, some workers across the nation are still in fear that another recession is on the horizon. For recruiters and hiring managers, this fear can work in your favor if you nurture displaced talent during the recruiting process.


Source: Andrey Popov / Shutterstock

Preassessment platform, Berke, recently conducted a survey, which found that almost 44% of displaced workers say they’re uncertain about their future job security. Berke defines displaced workers as “eligible workers who were permanently laid off, or received notice of layoff or termination due to faltering organizations or company closure.”
Berke surveyed 1,000 United States workers who have recently been displaced to discover the fears and expectations of these skilled workers; the findings of the survey were used in the new report, The Displaced: How to Reach an Overlooked Talent Pool. This report reveals how these workers are approaching the job search, and how talent acquisition professionals can help rebuild trust among displaced workers so they can find meaningful, long-term employment.
Before we dive into strategies for recruiting displaced workers, you must first understand why these workers are hesitant about the future of work. According to key findings from the report:
  • Seventy-four percent of displaced workers report being moderately to completely afraid of losing their job again.
  • Company culture is cited as the number one reason respondents said they wouldn’t accept a job offer.
  • Only 6.1% of respondents said they would stop looking for a job once they find one.
  • While over 61% of respondents said they would take a job because they needed the money, but then continue to look for another job.
  • Completing a personality or skills assessment would help almost 25% of respondents feel more confident about succeeding if he or she was offered the job.
  • Furthermore, almost 39% of respondents say career development opportunities are a top consideration when looking for a new job.
  • Finally, according to almost 52% of respondents, personal finances have become a major concern immediately after losing a job.

As the key takeaways show, displacement causes uncertainty for this talent pool and makes them hesitant to start a new job with a different employer. Berke suggests that in order to quell these fears, employers must focus on their employees’ wellness—both financial and physical wellness—as well as provide an amazing company culture.
“Displacement impacts people across all industries at every level and every person experiences it differently. The variety of experience is the biggest factor that recruiters must take into consideration when accessing this unique talent pool. Some people were preparing for retirement with a company they’d been with for 30 years. Others may have just started and do not have a financial safety net to fall back on. But for all, the shock of an unexpected job loss or company closure is disconcerting,” says Kelly Land, Cofounder and CEO of Berke—in an e-mail to Recruiting Daily Advisor.
The Berke survey also found that displaced workers are “looking for a place to settle in without fear of another unwanted career transition.” So, what can employers and hiring managers do to attract, retain, and calm the fears of talented, displaced workers? Berke offers these tips:

Offer a Unique Company Culture that Emphasizes Wellness

As mentioned above, if your company does not offer a great culture, you’re missing out on recruiting displaced workers. In addition to providing a great company culture, employers should look to revamp their benefits offerings to include financial wellness programs, as well as physical wellness programs that focus on employee well-being.
According to the report, “[w]ell-being initiatives signal that the company invests in its employees and is a place where they can feel safe for the long-term.” The Berke report suggests highlighting your company culture and wellness initiatives throughout your employer branding.
For example, Berke suggests showcasing an “employee of the month” theme across your company’s social media channels. Not only will you be recognizing an employee’s contributions, but you’re also publicly setting the bar, so candidates know what your goals and expectations are.

Be Honest and Transparent Throughout the Hiring Process

Honesty really is the best policy when it comes to squashing fears. Berke offers five steps for fostering honesty and transparency across your company:

  1. Discuss the company culture and give candidates ample opportunity to ask questions about it. Berke says, “Be as specific as possible when describing the culture to really bring the concepts to life.”
  2. Emphasize the room to grow. Make sure to let candidates know that their position allows for growth. If displaced talent doesn’t see a future with your company, they will not accept an offer to work there.
  3. Be realistic about salary expectations. “Offer timelines for advancement opportunities to show earning potential,” says the report. “However, if their salary expectations are beyond the company’s means, be forthcoming to help them re-establish trust.”
  4. Highlight wellness initiatives. As mentioned above, financial wellness and employee well-being programs are an absolute must-have when attracting displaced talent, be sure to emphasize these programs whenever and wherever possible.
  5. Prove to the candidate that he or she belongs at your company. Berke suggests using pre-hire assessments during the hiring process so that candidates know they’re a good fit for the job and your company. In fact, almost a quarter (24.6%) of Berke survey respondents say that “these tests help ensure they’ll succeed if offered the job.”

Bottom Line

When it comes to attracting displaced workers to your company, the most important takeaway from the latest Berke report is to be open and honest. Transparency is a great way to ease candidates’ fears and when you’re transparent during the hiring process displaced candidates will be more like to accept your job offer.
Additionally, Land offers this tip to recruiters:

“Recruiters can help ease displaced workers’ fears by sitting down with them and simply providing the time and opportunity to ask questions. Discuss the company’s future plans and how new hires fit into those plans. Reassure displaced workers that they’ve found a place where they belong by detailing how their experiences, skills, and personality fit perfectly into the company’s culture. Remember, this isn’t just business. It’s personal for these candidates. Be empathetic to their situation, get in touch with their needs, and let them know you’re invested in their future.”

The tips outlined above are great when attracting displaced talent, but in all actuality, you should be using these strategies to attract workers in every talent pool. To learn more about the report, click here.

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