Are you building your talent pipeline during the downturn?

Are you building your talent pipeline during the downturn?

During the current recruiting slowdown, smart organizations are using their talent acquisition teams to source new talent in preparation for the economic recovery in the second half of 2023. Are you building your talent pipeline during the downturn?

This is the primary findings of GEM 2023 Recruiting Trends Report, a recruiting CRM that pairs with supplicant tracking systems to hire faster.

I am delighted to see talent sourcing is a leading trend. Sourcing talent is more than getting names with titles, companies, and contact information. It is reaching out to candidates and building a relationship with them. It requires spending time learning about their achievements, their desired career moves and when to contact next, such as after a performance appraisal or end of a project. It is the relationship that gets the interest.

By the way, Gem surveyed nearly 700 seasoned talent acquisition professionals about their pain points, priorities, expectations, and initiatives for this year.

In addition to sourcing talent, Gem learned many insights, six that caught my eye are listed below, such as key performance indicators (KPI) for recruiting, helpful recruiting technology, and recruiting strategies to find candidates:

  1. Building pipelines is the #1 activity talent teams are engaging in, preparing for an economic return. Continuing to build talent pipelines for the inevitable bounce back in hiring is the #1 activity talent teams are engaging in: 60 percent of respondents say their teams are pipeline-building. Data cleanup, evaluating DEI initiatives, and building or strengthening employee value propositions (EVPs) are also high on the list of downturn priorities: 47 percent, 46 percent, and 41 percent of teams respectively say they’re engaging in these activities.
  2. Struggling to meet diversity goals. Meeting diversity goals and initiatives continues to be challenging 54 percent of smaller organizations and 76 percent of larger organizations. People in the latter group say they have formal diversity hiring goals or initiatives in place, yet only 16 percent say they’re meeting them. The biggest barrier for organizations struggling to meet diversity goals is finding underrepresented talent to begin with (53 percent), followed by moving them through the hiring funnel (29 percent), and retaining them (17 percent).
  3. Finding qualified candidates is 2023’s top challenge. The top three recruiting and hiring challenges talent acquisition professionals anticipate in 2023 are the same, regardless of company size: difficulty finding qualified candidates (53 percent anticipate this challenge), uncompetitive offers (37 percent), and nurturing passive talent over the long term.
  4. Using key performance indicators (KPIs). The top four KPIs recruiting teams currently track are the same regardless of company size: time to hire (73 percent of teams track this), source of hire (70 percent of teams track this), offer-accept rate (66 percent of teams track this), and offer rejection reasons (55 percent of teams track this). The top three KPIs talent teams track hasn’t changed since last year—though diversity has lost its place as #4. Please see the chart below from Gem’s 2023 Recruiting Trends on large company recruiting KPI’s.


  1. Recruiting strategies to find candidate. Most large organizations use multi-channel touchpoints (such as InMail, email, and texting) to find candidates (57 percent), equal to employment branding campaigns (57 percent), recruiting events (57 percent), and social media recruiting (57 percent).
  2. Using recruiting technology. Applicant tracking systems are the top technology used by recruiters in large and small organizations. The other highly used technologies are candidate sourcing software, recruiting marketing technologies, interview scheduling tools. Please see the Gem graphic below for all of the recruiting technology stack usage.

Many organizations are struggling to find candidates and have hiring freezes in place. While some organizations have downsized their recruiting teams, smart organizations are using their recruiters to build their talent pipeline during the downturn for the expected economic upturn in the second half of 2023. Don’t be caught without the ability to hire great candidates when the economy fires up again.

Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting and managing partner of InnovationOne, LLC. He works with organizations to transform HR and recruiting, implement remote work, and develop extraordinary leaders, teams, and innovation cultures. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Hack Recruiting: the Best of Empirical Research, Method and Process, and Digitization. He is quoted business journals such as The Wall Street Journal, Workforce Management, and CEO Magazine. Subscribe to his weekly blogs at

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