The pandemic turned the job market upside down. How recruiters and hiring professionals are rethinking their strategies for finding and retaining today's job seekers.
Today's job market looks nothing like it did two years ago.
First, early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic shut down jobs and office space. Then, as the economy started to rebound, workers quit en masse in search of more fulfilling prospects. Now, as job growth skyrockets, so does inflation.
For recruiters and hiring managers intent on finding the best possible candidate and getting offer letters out ASAP (as top talent is off the market within 10 days), navigating all this change… hasn't been easy.
But with every challenge comes an opportunity.
So we caught up with the pros to learn about the unique obstacles recruiters and other hiring experts face in today's job market, along with what they're doing to address them.
More jobs are becoming remote-friendly. And even employees who are satisfied with their current job have an ear out for a bigger, better opportunity. The result: today's talent pool is massive. We put a call out to hiring professionals to see what kinds of obstacles that brings. Here are some of the answers we got from recruiters, CEOs, and other team leaders.
"Because every single company is hiring like wildfire, the candidate pools are being inundated with unprecedented levels of outreach. Whether by phone or by messaging, candidates are exhausted with the level of reachout and they're so annoyed that they won't even entertain opportunities that are good for them simply due to being fed up with outreach.
"For recruiters both internal and external like me, a headhunter, we are all assailing the same candidate pools of the highly desirable top talent and they're finding it very hard to get back to us so the response rates drop significantly, leading both internal teams and headhunting/recruitment agencies to have to work overtime and get really creative with how to engage candidates at this point." — Dandan Zhu, CEO of DG Recruit.
"There is a discrepancy between the talent available and the talent companies need, and a similar discrepancy between candidate demands and what companies are able to offer, whether that be in salary rates, workplace flexibility, or inclusivity and culture.
"The shortage of skilled tech talent means the top candidates are usually snatched up quickly, and a significant number of these workers who did quit their job in the past year did so because they already had another job lined up, so these figures are deceptive as an indicator of the available talent." — Archie Payne, president of CalTek Staffing.
"Candidates, especially those with in-demand skills, are no longer loyal to a single employer. They also have a new vision of how they want to work, which is primarily flexible work. Not all employers are prepared to support or facilitate the level of flexibility workers need. This can lead to top candidates dropping out of the recruitment pipeline." — Paul French, managing director at Intrinsic Search.
"We went full remote. And doubled in size (50 to 100). It’s completely shifted how we view talent pools for both ourselves and for our clients. When you’re untethered by geography, the available talent pool is exponentially larger. But, you need to be proactive and intentional about communication, onboarding, culture building, etc. Trying to ‘wing it’ (like a lot of companies would do in the old world) will result in high turnover.
"Content marketing has made an enormous impact on our hiring. Forty percent of our 2021 hires first learned about us from our social media (mostly LinkedIn) initiatives." — James Hornick, partner at Hirewell.
"Finding a COO who would match my talents and work on a common goal was one of my trickiest hiring concerns. I was well aware of how critical this role was — and how critical the fit would be — but it's tough to imagine how the connection would develop without first having the opportunity to collaborate." — Kathryn McDavid, CEO of Editor's Pick.
"Recruiting has moved from solely an HR endeavor to a multi-department effort. In the past, HR departments led recruitment efforts, from job posting, to application reviews, to interviews, and finalist selection.
Today however, due to the influence of social media, coordination between HR and marketing departments to promote jobs, employees to utilize their social media networks for recruitment, and continuity specialists to make certain that messaging is unified, are all part of the process. The coordination of these efforts has become a necessity, as the complexities of today’s job market are simply too big for one department." — Zach Letter, CEO of Wonder Works Studio.
"Employee retention and recruitment today relies on making your company seem well worth working for. For instance, prospective candidates want to hear about sustainability initiatives, diversity initiatives, and an overall corporate culture that is too appealing to pass up. Current employees want to feel respected and appreciated by being celebrated and recognized for their individual contributions and achievements. Shifting your business model to better prioritize your people will both retain and attract top talent." — Trey Ferro, CEO of Spot Pet Insurance.
"Today's job candidates, particularly millennials and Gen Z, look beyond pay and advancement prospects to a company's ideals. They want a workplace culture that values diversity and an employer who values ethics and sustainability." — Matthew Dailly, managing director at Tiger Financial.
"Hiring may be delayed if you have a qualified candidate but are unwilling to progress owing to
inexperience. By doing so, you risk losing this qualified lead to a rival. Because many employers know that even if an applicant lacks prior work experience, he or she is a hard worker willing to learn new skills. So, when you go through the hiring process, move rapidly. If you can't decide, you'll lose some great employees." — Steve Scott, CTO of Spreadsheet Planet.
According to many of our respondents, a hirers' biggest virtue in surmounting the obstacles of the current job market is flexibility. That means offering employees autonomy in where and when they want to work (when permissible). But to many hiring pros, that also means reimagining the scope of the underlying role.
Here's what some experts have to say:
"We started hiring remotely and we implemented a flexible working schedule. We make sure to find workarounds and tune the work demands with the wishes of our employees (or potential employees that is). The bottom line is: employees require flexibility and communication about each employee's unique needs and workplace demands and tuning them to find the middle ground." — Emma Miles, co-founder at Pawsome Advice.
"[Our company's] newly implemented 'You Do You' policy has proven to be one of the most impactful solutions. This policy allows employees to choose where they work, be it from home, the office or a combination of both. It is beneficial to the hiring process because it appeals to more job candidates and opens the door to the potential applicants who require a remote position. Additionally, the flexibility of this policy is appreciated by current employees and boosts employee retention." — Sara Bandurian, operations supervisor at Online Optimism.
"Creating a positive applicant experience is the first step in standing out from the crowd. The first step is to write a clear job description. Make a note of the perks, compensation, and advantages that your client is willing to provide. Be specific about the skills and responsibilities required for the job. Candidates should be listened to throughout the entire recruitment process. If you're going to make an offer, show your enthusiasm and clarify what happens next." — Martin Lassen, CEO of Grammarhow.
"I focus on creating a positive work environment and offering competitive compensation and benefits packages. Additionally, I regularly communicate with employees to get feedback and address any concerns they may have. By taking these steps, I hope to create a workplace that is attractive to top talent and helps retain our best employees.
"We've been working on ways to make our recruitment process more efficient and streamlined. This includes using applicant tracking systems and other resources to help us screen candidates more effectively. Second, we've been focusing on building up our talent pipeline by working with various organizations to identify potential candidates early on. Lastly, our company is constantly striving to be as flexible and open as possible with our job offers in order to attract the right fit amongst the large pool of candidates.
Be creative in your job search and don't limit yourself to the usual positions that you're used to recruiting for. Focus on building up your talent pipeline by working with various organizations to identify potential candidates early on. Open as many possible job offers in order to attract the right fit from the vast pool of prospective talents." — Jennifer Del Rosario, operations manager at 20four7VA.
"You need to start being creative when it comes to hiring qualified candidates. People are not looking for the average 9-to-5 anymore, and some people might not have all the qualifications for a particular job. However, they might have some skills that can be transferred and heightened with the right training. It is all about looking outside the box and seeing potential in everyone." — Jim Sullivan, CEO of JCSI.
"I’ve had to redesign the positions I’m looking to fill to find the right people for them. Which in the short term has meant hiring three people to do the job that two used to be able to do, but might eventually pay off as they can be trained to do every aspect of their new job, so that in the long run we’re already employing the people that we would otherwise have had to hire." — Ross Jurewitz, managing attorney of Jurewitz Law Group.
"Having patience and consistency is the key to hiring the right set of employees. Conducting stay interviews can help you understand the employees' goals in the company and also allows you to plan on hiring new employees accordingly." — Sathish S, co-founder of Graphically.
"I have always taken the approach of first calling people I already know when I kick off a search, whether or not they may be interested. This is even more important in this market. It's a great way to develop relationships, learn the market, craft my pitch, and get referred to excellent candidates. Reaching out to a referral is far better than sending a cold InMail or email." — Somer Hackley, CEO of Distinguished Search.
"Most job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job. It’s a complex process that requires you to step out of your usual duties and secure buy-in from your coworkers. Other challenges include overcoming recruitment biases, reducing the time-to-hire, and making hiring decisions based on data.
I am creating an attractive, responsive, and branded career site that presents our employer brand and shows candidates why our company is a great place to work. I have adopted the structured interview to reduce recruitment biases, which involves the same questions and activity for every candidate. Collecting data from Google Analytics and other recruitment marketing tools has helped make hiring decisions based on data." — John Tian, co-founder of Mobitrix.
That last expert mentioned the job interview — a vital component of the application process that's been completely upended over the past couple years.
Some hiring managers wrote in saying interviews have changed for the better. Daniel Nyquist, CMO of Crosslist, said they've "made potential candidates much more at ease, as they get to choose their physical environment when sitting down for an initial interview or even the second round of interviews. I think that is super beneficial for the interviewer and applicant."
But other recruiting professionals who reached out touched on the challenges of the new-normal virtual interview. According to Yoel Gabay, CEO of FreedomCare, "The biggest challenge that recruiters face is the primarily remote interviewing process. Obviously depending on the role, it is crucial for recruiters to get a deep sense of who the candidate is in skill, work ethic, and in personality."
And, while he prefers in-person interviews, Gabay acknowledges that "recruiters need to adjust to the new remote reality and incorporate new methods into the interview process that can draw out the parts of the person that would otherwise be hidden."
That's exactly why we created Hume, a powerful hiring tool that employs artificial intelligence to transcribe and summarize conversations with job seekers.
With Hume, you never need to rely on your not-always-reliable memory. Or submit to gut feelings that taint fair judgments of candidates. Instead, you'll have all the interview data you need right at your fingertips, without constantly having to scribble down notes and avert your eyes from the conversation.
And our interview companion gives you more than just a transcript. You'll also be able to easily revisit every question you asked to ensure you're rating candidates according to the same criteria, all well getting insights into their communication preferences, perceived strengths, and core competencies that speak to whether they'd be a good hire.
Hume's "highlights" feature lets you package and share these insights across your hiring team. This way, your colleagues are able to quickly weigh in on candidates, since those extra opinions reduce hiring bias. You can even use a playlist tool to create coaching videos that align every interviewer on the right questions to ask, best practices, and interview structure.
It's all designed to overcome the biggest challenges of hiring in today's job market. You can make decisions faster (ensuring top talent doesn't take a competing offer), smarter (with data-driven insights), and fairer (without fear of bias).
To see how Hume can give you a competitive advantage in a job market unlike anything we've seen before, join our waitlist for early access. You can also give Hume a follow on LinkedIn to learn more about best hiring practices.
Get on our early access list and get ready to supercharge interviewing.
How to provide a positive candidate experience that boosts your employer brand, appeals to top-notch talent, and strengthens your recruiting pipeline.