Recruiting on a Budget

Let’s be honest: None of us were ready for 2020. While economists warned of an upcoming recession, no one predicted a pandemic, a massive shift in how work is done, and drastic financial changes to companies the world over. The question is no longer, “How do we be the best recruiting team we can be?” It’s now, “How do we be the best recruiting team we can be with a significantly smaller budget?”

Image of people working on a budget with the text "Recruiting on a budget" on top

Many recruiting teams are facing drastic and concerning budget cuts. Major companies like Google are even aiming at cutting their marketing and recruiting budget by up to 50%. In general, CFOs are citing an estimated 7% decrease in HR spending for 2020.

How to Tackle Budget Cuts

Invest Effectively

When you’re facing budget cuts, you need to focus your investments effectively. Too many teams underutilize the people, data, and technology that they already have. If you’re looking to cut costs, you need to look at what you already have and start using it! Do you have a member of your team who is stellar at candidate communication? Work with them to create new outreach templates that the whole team can use. Do you have candidate data that is unsearchable and locked in your ATS? We can help with that!

It can seem odd to spend money or time when you’re trying to save money and time but when you front-load some of the effort the return on investment is staggeringly great!

Prioritize Needs

When you’re short on time, staff, or budget, you need to prioritize. Prioritizing needs allows you to focus on highest priority tasks first to ensure that none of the important work is lost in the shuffle. Each person on the team will have their own way of making this work. Be sure to support team members as they decide what works best for them and schedule frequent check-ins while everyone adjusts to a prioritized work list. 

This will also require being honest about what needs to be done versus what would be nice to get done.

Set Accurate Expectations

Don’t let communication fall to the wayside in the stress of the situation! Check-in with teams frequently and make sure that hiring managers are aware of all of the work that is being done behind the scenes. If at any point you run into roadblocks that you can’t solve owing to the budget, don’t be afraid to speak up. If you have a recruiting team of two trying to do the work of 60, you’re going to run into problems. Be honest about the problems you’re facing and realign expectations to be more realistic so no one experiences burnout.

Invest in Organic Communication and Growth

If you’re faced with a tight budget, it’s time to focus on inexpensive or free ways to reach candidates. Social media is going to be a major advantage here! Put out the call for applicants on social media consistently and with creativity. The more unique you are, the more people will remember you and share with friends.

Make sure to put the call out for referrals from internal teams as well!


If you’re looking for more, we created a brand new report just for you! The Better Cost of Recruiting: How to Save Money and Time takes a look at 3 simple ways that you can do just that…save time and money! We also do a deep dive into how HiringSolved was able to help AECOM cut 30% of their operational expenses while increasing their quality of work.

Don't stop now. Keep reading!

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