It’s been six months, and we’ve already done a 180. Back in January, we wrote about the eye-watering wages local startups in Latin America were offering to hire tech talent. The amounts were so inflated because, as investor money poured in, U.S. companies and regional tech unicorns outbid each other for employees with huge salaries and massive perks. It looked like there was no end in sight.

Well, the end is nigh. 

At least, that’s the way tech companies and investors are acting. VCs and founders I’ve spoken to talk of a generalized hiring freeze among the smaller startups, hunkering down to see how bad the storm gets. But what if the right choice is to get out there right into the storm?

If there’s anything to be said of the crypto crowd, it’s that they see the opportunities inherent in market contractions. “A fall in the market means that speculators are going away: it’s the perfect time to create,” one Argentine crypto entrepreneur told us.

I’d argue that, all pertinent caveats considered, this is also true of hiring talent during a crisis. If you couldn’t hire the right person during the boom because they were too expensive, guess what? They might just be available now. It says a lot about the irrationality of these investment boom-and-bust cycles that many of the employees companies simply couldn’t go without a few months ago, and were willing to pay a premium for, are now idle.  

Now, don’t shortchange any newly available talent; if you run a smaller company and can’t offer them a massive paycheck, why not offer equity? If hard times show us something, it is that money can’t buy you love during tough times; that’s what building community is for.

I’ve seen this community spirit cropping up across the region over the past few weeks. 

Earlier this month, Angel Ventures opened up a list with hundreds of workers who have just recently emerged from big-brand tech companies. New ventures like Pivot and Khôra are actively dedicated to connecting companies in need of skills with unemployed talent. Peruvian edtech platform Talently is dishing out free access to its courses to any recently unemployed software developer in Latin America. 

Sure, these companies, VCs, and individuals may be looking to mitigate the current slump, but they are, crucially, also investing in the community that will drive the next tech boom.

Acting countercyclically is counterintuitive, but it makes more sense than the knee-jerk irrationality that we continue to see across the global tech scene. And when it comes to hiring during a crisis, what is most ironic is that it is this very tech talent that companies need to survive the current crunch.