The COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue to affect individuals, businesses and the larger economy for the foreseeable future. Already, many companies are finding it difficult to remain fully staffed during what's been called the "Great Resignation," as many people leave their jobs and don't appear to be in any hurry to find new ones.
If your company's recruiting in this environment, keep an eye on larger trends. The following seven issues could help explain why your positions are going unfilled and what you can do to gain a hiring edge.
Thanks to the tight labor market, job candidates have a decided advantage. In a reverse of longstanding conditions, there are now more open jobs than there are people looking for work. With so many businesses short-staffed, job-seekers in many industries can afford to pick and choose and dictate their salary and benefits.
What's worked in the past may no longer cut it. So your organization must be innovative in its hiring practices. Think about what candidates for your open positions really want from a job in 2022 and beyond. You may want to consider offering new perks. For example, many employees seem to prefer to work from home, at least part time.
You've probably noticed that you receive fewer bites when you advertise open positions. This goes hand-in-hand with a worker-driven marketplace. The days of throwing applications against the wall to see what sticks are long gone. Candidates are being more selective and are inclined to only apply for jobs that check all their boxes.
This means that your company has to put its best foot forward. Emphasize what makes your organization unique and why it's a desirable place to work. Promote a positive corporate culture and provide opportunities for rapid advancement. You may also want to be more flexible in what you consider qualified candidates. Does a position really require an advanced degree, certain software skills or industry experience? Or can you provide on-the-job training?
The return to on-site work has proceeded in fits and starts over the past year. And it's anyone's guess as to when the work world will return to some semblance of normal and you'll be able to interview people in person. Accordingly, your organization should be set up to recruit employees remotely, even if the positions will eventually be fully on-site.
Many employers have found that remote recruiting is more efficient and easier than traditional methods. You can cast a wider net and conduct interviews with multiple candidates across the country, all within hours. This enables you to make faster decisions — and offers.
Many employers are shifting to an analytic approach because the "old ways" don't work as well as they used to. By gathering and analyzing recruiting data, you can develop strategies that take better advantage of the current market. This may take some experimentation and tweaking, so don't expect to hit a home run right out of the box.
Too many employers overlook job candidates from within their organizations. Obviously, you don't want to cannibalize your current workforce. But if parts of your business are slowing down while others ramp up, you may want to recruit from within and shift talent to where it's capable of having the biggest impact.
You can recruit existing employees by offering to upgrade their compensation, benefits package and job flexibility, or providing them with management opportunities. With the external hiring market so challenging, recruiting from within can help you retain workers and possibly save time and money.
For years, most people who applied for jobs actually wanted an offer — and to accept it. Now, employers are more likely to encounter "looky-loos" or curiosity-seekers simply testing the waters. It's up to your organization to make an offer an excellent candidate can't refuse.
Ask "passive" job searchers what it would get them to take the position you're offering. It may not be what you think (money or perks). Perhaps a candidate is looking for an exciting challenge or a chance to learn new skills.
It's considered common courtesy — and sometimes is an employer requirement — for employees to provide reasonable notice if they voluntarily leave a job. On the other hand, new employers generally want their hires on board as soon as possible. If one of your candidates requests a later start date because they need to give notice and want to wind work down at their current job, you may need to be flexible.
Conceding this point can help foster loyalty and get the employer/employee relationship off to a good start. However, there's a risk that prospective employees will find a different job in the interim or decide to remain with their current employer.
For employers, this year promises to be as challenging — if not more so — than 2021. Be sure to keep an eye on employment trends and best practices and be prepared to pivot when necessary. Indeed, flexibility is probably a recruiter's most effective tool at the moment.
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