5 Tips for Attracting Top Talent From Companies Who Made Cuts

Many of us saw this coming: layoffs imminent with a post-inflation recession. If you had to ask people to leave, we don’t envy you. For those still searching for talent in overdrive? Now is your time to shine.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.3 million people were laid off in June of 2022. According to Fortune, as of July of 2022, over 30,000 of these cuts were in the tech sector. That’s 30k individuals that previously held important roles at companies like Tesla, Coinbase, and Facebook. That’s over 30k heavily vetted past employees. Good companies hold on to top talent in times of hardship—this is where you enter stage right.

It’s possible some of these candidates were let go for performance issues, but in this environment, it’s as likely you’ll come across a loyal employee let go from a now-obsolete position. How can you separate the diamonds from the rough? Let IsoTalent guide you on finding some true talent that befell hard circumstances.

  1. Identify Competitors’ Weak Points

Get out your sleuthing hat! Conducting a competitive analysis will give your recruiting team the footing they need to attract the right candidates. When initiating a competitive recruiting analysis, you’ll want to:

  1. Identify your competitors. We’re not just talking about competition solely from a goods-and-services perspective—we’re talking about other companies who are scooping from tech layoffs. Recruiters seeking top talent from tech layoffs and budget cuts will be posting their condolences on LinkedIn, so be sure to follow #layoffs for the latest posts. Come up with a plan of action for offering assistance to laid-off employees—whether in the form of a reference, a bent ear, or a phone screening. Struggling to identify lesser-known companies with high cut rates? Check out a tool like Layoffs.fyi for real-time layoff numbers.
  2. Dig through open positions and record what companies are hiring for, if at all. Cross-reference these roles with your own; are you seeing similar shortages in skill sets? Check out the People page on a company's LinkedIn. Are some employees fit to fill an open role at your company? Remaining employees at a company experiencing layoffs, or “survivors,” may be interested in a new opportunity amidst restructuring at their current company!
  3. Apply for a role on their website (or, at least click through the application process!) Make sure your application is streamlined by studying the application process of competitors. Take notes about what you like and don’t like about an application process, and mull over what the process says about company culture.
  4. Look for cross-posting patterns on LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job post platforms. How big is the company’s footprint? With top talent cuts, it’s important to have an implicit understanding of their recruiting budgets. If a company is spending money to recruit new hires for newly-created positions, you’re more likely to find survivors with a touch of animosity ready to jump ship.
  5. Diligently record and compare benefits. Identify how closely your industries overlap, and then dive into the employee experience. What are the company’s biggest weaknesses according to past and current employees? Record quantitative and qualitative aspects like Glassdoor ratings and Indeed reviews. Detail all benefits and offerings in a spreadsheet like this one. Think about and compare roles like an applicant deciding between multiple offers.

Once you’ve identified where you have a leg up on the competition, begin targeting those laid off and those at the company. 

  1. Reach Out to High-Performing Survivors and Individuals #Lookingforwork

One fascinating fact about layoffs? They don’t necessarily improve the financial standing or productivity of a company. According to Forbes, layoffs lead to declines in survivor engagement. Remaining employees experience a 41% drop in job satisfaction and a 20% decline in performance. Remaining workers are saddled with more tasks. Essentially, they lose faith in the organization they once trusted and succumb to burnout.

After heavy tech layoffs, these employees are attached to their companies by a thread. Your first move is sliding into those direct messages. Casually ask if they’re interested in a phone screening—if the answer is yes, they’re likely shopping around for a new role (and now is your chance!)

Are you seeing a lot of layoff announcements on LinkedIn? Send a DM and offer condolences, a reference, or point them to an open role at your company.

  1. Find Out What Percent of the Company Was Laid Off

After sending introductory messages to people #lookingforwork and survivors, do a little more snooping. The smaller the percentage of laid-off employees at a company, the less likely your candidate was a top performer. It’s one thing if massive budget cuts have led to a 20% staff reduction, and another if the individual was one of ten people at a company of 6,000. Scope out the company online. Do they have a coveted work culture and a positive reputation? That’s a red flag for your candidate. It’s possible they were let go for performance-based reasons, not a victim of tech layoffs.

  1. Advocate for Why Your Company Is a Positive Next Step for the Candidate

Top talent is likely to be eager (potentially desperate) for a new role right off the bat. While in an average or thriving market this is a red flag, it’s one that we recommend ignoring. It’s normal for someone booted from earnings without warning to be chomping at the bit for a new opportunity. Take care in a phone screening to highlight unique benefits that show your company cares for employee wellbeing. Reiterate the company mission and highlight benefits like education or progressive training that indicate your company values personal growth. Coach your hiring managers on an empathetic approach in the round of second interviews. Keep your interviewers on the same page about company voice and a unified mission.

  1. Sharpen Your Brand Mission Across Platforms to Show a Unified Voice

At a time when teams are being dismantled, there is sanctitude in unity. Highlight team and individual successes often on the group Slack channel or a weekly email and tell candidates about it during the phone screening. Focus on describing the company vision from the inside out by recounting the type of attributes most successful employees embody. Tie these to the mission statement directly to give your candidate a clear sense of what they can expect in accepting a role.

Attracting laid-off top talent and survivors doesn’t have to be difficult. Decide which competitor harbors talent or ex-talent that is a best fit, make a connection with high-performing individuals, and show each one how you offer stability and opportunities for growth. You’ll be grateful you acted fast!