The national economy seems to be heading upward. However, in the central part of the country; specifically in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the employment market seems to be doing quite the opposite. Almost everyone in the country has probably heard of the oil and gas field having to do lay-offs because of the latest effect of lower prices of a barrel of oil. And as a staffing company, we are noticing companies of all sizes announcing cutbacks that either have come or are coming in the near future. This is going to be an interesting year in recruiting. Following are some things that I think recruiters need to be ready for. Overqualified candidates open to much lower salaries: I received a call yesterday from a land man in the oil and gas industry and if you know this field well, you know that she was used to making roughly 100K/yr. In this conversation, she was asking what she could expect for an office manager position that we had listed and when I told her, it was much lower than what she was used to. However, she seemed open to being considered. I was thinking to myself that things must be getting very slow in this industry right now for someone with her experience (over 10 years) to be open to making $15 – $20/hr as that would literally cut her salary in half. High qualified people will be available……..But how long will they stay? Right after I had that conversation, I spoke with a friend of mine who holds a position that is specifically targeted towards helping companies who are laying off employees to assist them in their job search as a good faith effort. During this conversation, he informed me of several companies who are preparing to lay off significant percentages of their staff. These are big companies who are a significant part of our area’s income. What this told me was that there are going to be many people who are used to making a lot of money that will be unemployed very soon. If they want to stay in this area, they will have no choice but to take a serious pay cut. This is great for many small businesses because they will have access to some great talent. The only concern that I warn small businesses about hiring a superstar at a smaller salary is: How long will they stay? Will it be worth it in the long run? These are serious questions that businesses need to be considering when looking to hire some of the great talent coming out of these companies because when the oil industry turns around, these people will shortly be out of the small business price range. How to recruit for these individuals: Watch the news. There will be some large and small news stories that will give any recruiter an edge on who is going to be open to new opportunities. If it is a larger company, there is a chance that the company has hired an outplacing company that will assist the recently unemployed employees in their job search. This company will gladly get you the resumes from the employees who are looking. Otherwise, you can use Linked in to connect with and message other employees with your opportunities that are available. It is going to be so unfortunate to see so many great employees lose their jobs in such a short time. But these times can offer great new opportunities for both the new perspective employers and employees. I think that despite the recent news seems negative, there will be a lot of positive opportunities come available for both parties. If you are an employer, keep an eye out for hidden talent that might not have the exact desired background, but would be a great asset. For the employee, this is a great time to investigate doing something new.