Forecasting the future of recruiting operations with Jeremy Lyons

TA leader Jennifer Paxton explains why it’s a great time to work on employer branding during a hiring lull

“Just because hiring is slowing down, doesn’t mean that your employer brand has to. Candidates want to work at companies that they know have a great culture.”

Jennifer Paxton
PeopleOps and talent acquisition leader
Jennifer Paxton shares employer branding secret


I probably should get a nickel every time I say that this is a wild or challenging market. 

We are going through a very unexpected time that I am not sure anyone was really prepared for; in tech, the budgets have been slashed, the headcount minimized and our talent acquisition teams are cut down to the bone. 

So the concept of working on employer branding during a time when teams are not hiring might be a head-scratcher for some, but I believe that it is the right period to focus on our core. 

That way we will be in a stronger and more organized position when we hit the gas pedal again.  

Let me break down some reasons why you must work on employer branding during this period. 

1. You finally have time

Time is a very valued commodity for a recruiter. 

While recruiting, there never seems to be enough time in the day to get out all the sourcing messages, conduct phone screens, and balance hiring managers’ expectations. 

Then you throw in trying to build an employer branding content strategy into the mix and you can get into working 10-hour days where you forget to even take a lunch break. 

When you are not responsible for hiring as quickly or in as many roles, you can hone in on interview best practices, develop great candidate experience and put together a thoughtful and authentic employer branding strategy.  


2. You can focus like never before 

When you have uninterrupted time to work on a project you are able to concentrate and fully think through thoughts and ideas. 

During a peak hiring season, recruiters get pulled in to so many different directions and are bombarded with Slack messages, calls, debrief meetings, etc. that it can be a challenge to carve out any focused time for long-term strategy and planning. 

Our jobs become so reactive, task-oriented, and not forward-thinking as if we were on a hamster wheel, running to nowhere (this is great in the short run but not sustainable). 

In a hiring lull, the req loads are a bit lighter and recruiters can create dedicated blocks of time when they can work on building out candidate personas of evergreen roles, building relationships with employees who could become brand ambassadors, working with the D,E& I team and/or employee resource groups to invest in new talent pipelines to engage candidates from underrepresented groups and build out a social media strategy for hiring.   

3. You have space to innovate

When recruitment budgets are tight, you are forced to get creative and think outside of the box. This also means that you can explore new ways of doing something and invest in hiring tools that will support and scale your ideas. 

Many departments have been repurposing team members to other areas, allowing them to gain new skills and leverage their untapped potential for fresh ideas. 

You can have members of the recruiting team write blog posts, create videos, and work with hiring managers to build out a specific value proposition for each department. 

This way when you are hiring again, you will know that you are engaging candidates that share your goals, and values and want to make an impact in the work that you do.  


Just because hiring is slowing down, doesn’t mean that your employer branding has to. 

Candidates want to work at companies that they know have a great culture and share their values so companies that continue to work on their employee brand through the hiring lull are going to have a competitive advantage over the ones that do not. 

This is a great time to reassess, affirm and repurpose your team. 


Jennifer Paxton

With a master’s degree in Opera, Jen Paxton didn’t think she would have a career in talent acquisition or PeopleOps, however, she fell in love with helping candidates find the right role. She started her career at JobSpring Partners placing technical professionals then moved on to Robert Half before deciding to move to an in-house recruiting team. She has grown teams at later-stage startups like Fiksu and LevelUp and built Recruiting and PeopleOps strategies from scratch at small startups like Logentries, TrueMotion, Privy, and Smile. She took a slight detour from her usual Head of People roles to Co-Found a video content platform called Jamyr which was recently acquired by Recruitics. She has been a part of four successful acquisitions and almost all of her companies have won “Best Place to Work” awards at least once while she was there. 


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