As pink slips pile up nationwide, hiring may seem like a risky – or downright foolish – move for employers. Yet, according to many career counseling experts, if you can afford to, now is a great time to augment your staff.

"It's absolutely a buyers market," says Michael Wilder, co-founder of Hayden-Wilder, a job placement service for college graduates in Boston, MA. "You have a much larger pool of extremely talented people who are hungrier than ever," Wilder says.

Many of his clients are highly qualified Ivy-league grads with pristine resumes and eager attitudes. Employers can benefit, he explains, because job-seekers have been forced to reassess their expectations. Some are willing to take internships instead of full-time jobs or work for some time without benefits.

While first-time job seekers are setting their sights lower, more experienced workers who have lost their jobs are more willing to compromise too, according to Melvin Scales, a senior consultant at the outplacement firm, Right Management. "Tons of top workers have been displaced," he says – often as a result of across-the-board cuts, not personal shortcomings.

Scales explained that the typical turnaround – from job loss to securing a new one – can take a while, especially for the highest level workers. "For every $1,000 worth of income, it will take them about a month to find a job of that pay equally. So someone making $100,000 may be talking about ten months on average," he says.

As a result, employers can find talented and valuable workers who are more open to flexile relationships like contract work or part-time positions.

"A lot of great people have been laid off through no fault of their own," explains executive coach Marshall Goldsmith. "These are great people who worked for companies who have had massive problems," he says.

He urges companies to look to this labor pool, if not for new hires than to replace their own inefficient workers. As unemployment climbs, he says, the incentives to hire those star-players only increase. "Salary expectations are lower and gratefulness is higher," says Goldsmith.