Let’s face it. The current job market is basically anyone’s guess. The Great Resignation continues despite fears of a recession, with certain sectors seeing mass exits while others reel from mass layoffs. It’s a total mess, and every time you open LinkedIn…chaos.

For every person posting about their new job, three people post that their entire team got canned over Zoom or worse, had their email shut off unceremoniously. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of the back and forth, save for the viral moments (I’m looking at you, crying CEO guy), but overall, it feels like the Wild West out there.

Anything goes. 

Unfortunately, for those in the recruiting world, moments like this often hit them the hardest. Sometimes, you’re tasked with watching the fantastic candidates you worked so hard to hire lose the jobs they so desperately wanted.

In others, you’re at the receiving end of the bad news of layoffs. Given the disproportionate hit that recruiters take during market fluctuations, what can you do when the table turns on you? 

1. Don’t Panic.

I’m kidding. That’s terrible advice. You can – and should – absolutely panic. People don’t work for free. There are bills to pay and mouths to feed (including your own). Give yourself a chance to freak out a little bit. Let it out. Feel your feelings for as long as you need to; just don’t let the panic consume you. Tell the world what happened and embrace the care others show you. Revel in the nice things people say about you. Layoffs suck. It’s a shot to the pride even when it’s outside your control, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise (especially some suit getting high and mighty on his socials – what’s up with those guys?).

2. Assess the Situation.

Most of the time, recently laid-off recruiters rush to get back out there. They pop that little green “Open to Work” banner up on their profile before the severance check even clears. I get it, again, people don’t work for free. But before you put yourself back on the market, take a beat and think about what happened in your last role. What was behind the layoffs? Was it your industry? Your organization? Every executive’s favorite excuse about “over-hiring?” Before you jump into a new role, figure out what went wrong with your last one first. 

3. Size Yourself Up.

You, as a recruiter, know way more than the average job seeker. Review your career history and materials with a fresh perspective. Analyze what’s helped you get jobs and what’s hurt. Look at yourself from the outside in. If you were receiving your application, what would you think? Any glaring issues to address? This is your opportunity to start fresh. Maybe now is the time to bring in some outside support. Not everyone is a resume writer, nor should they claim to be. 

4. Tap Your Network.

One of the great things about recruiting is the community that surrounds it. Have you met #RecruiterTwitter? If and when you find yourself laid off, reach out to your peers. Everyone goes through this at some point in their career, and almost everyone has a story to tell, a shoulder to cry on, or a piece of advice to offer. Use this to your advantage. Don’t be a hero! Just because you know how recruiting works doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new or benefit from the power of a referral.  

5. Do Your Homework.

Often, when we get into the groove of a given job, we start to block out the rest of the world. We hyper-fixate on the task at hand and stop seeing what’s happening around us. This is especially true of some organizations over others. If this experience sounds familiar, or you’ve spent a lot of time in the same role, now is the time to step outside your routine and get caught up. Talent acquisition, especially TA tech, moves quickly and the platform you used at your last job might be out of vogue at your next. 

Look, at the end of the day, getting laid off feels awful. It’s a gut punch to your ego, makes you question your skills and abilities, and worst of all threatens your livelihood.

I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone, but reality tells us that most recruiters will get laid off at least once during their careers. Sometimes you will know it’s coming; other times, you won’t.

When it happens, let yourself freak out some before you refocus. If there’s anyone who can land a better job, it’s you. Make yourself proud. 

Ryan Leary

Ryan Leary helps create the processes, ideas and innovation that drives RecruitingDaily. He’s our in-house expert for anything related to sourcing, tools or technology. A lead generation and brand buzz building machine, he has built superior funnel systems for some of the industries top HR Tech and Recruitment brands. He is a veteran to the online community and a partner here at RecruitingDaily.