The talent market has been knocked off-kilter, with a heavy advantage for job seekers. In this ultra-tight labor market transformed by a new embrace of virtual work, jobseekers have unprecedented power and are socking employers with the highest quit rate on record, ghosting interviews and job starts, and being vocal regarding stiff demands for flexibility, pay, and benefits. If your business or talent team is reeling from this power shift, here are five steps we recommend to bring balance back to the hiring process.
Step 1: Streamline but don’t rush your hiring process
Make sure your hiring process is as concentrated as possible, but don’t rush through it to win the offer race. While speed is important in a competitive talent market, the cost of a lost hire is much less than the cost of making a bad hire due to a rushed process. Instead of sprinting or skipping steps, accelerate your hiring process by streamlining or consolidating critical steps (e.g., a panel vs three one-on-one interviews) and making sure those involved in the process are at the ready, so their schedules don’t create delays.
Step 2: Maintain disciplined vetting
Avoid allowing hiring pressure to push you to cut corners in screening or tempt you to hire a candidate about whom you have reservations. We’ve seen more employers lately skipping in-office interviews, skills tests, reference checks, and other key elements of their normal vetting process because candidates have other offers looming. Some clients are overlooking red flags worried that, with the scarcity of talent, they won’t be able to find someone who is a better fit. Compromised vetting often results in a bad hire who quits, disrupts, or requires extensive and costly training or mentoring. Job seekers can easily move on to other opportunities in this market if the fit is poor. The consequences for employers are much higher.
Step 3: Communicate frequently and honestly
Make sure you outline the hiring process and timeline upfront with candidates and then stay in touch with them before and after every step along the way. Candidates are much more likely to stick with you through multiple rounds of interviews if they know where they stand and know that you remain interested in them. If days or weeks go by without hearing from you, they may assume they are no longer in the running, and move on to other opportunities or offers.
Step 4: Craft differentiated job descriptions
Make sure that the job you are looking to fill is going to be competitive and attractive in the market. Pay rate and salary continue to be top priorities, so make sure what you’re offering is as competitive as possible given your budget. The few bucks you’ll save with a below-market rate may not make up for the time you’ll waste trying to find someone who will work for that rate. And pay special attention to what flexibility you can offer, especially if the salary isn’t top of the market. Post-Covid, most candidates expect the ability to work remotely at least part of the time. Finally, be creative and resourceful in positioning your job. Try to add some honest ZA ZING to the description, whether it’s your differentiated culture, unique benefits, or growth opportunities so that the job stands out in a candidate’s mind.
Step 5: Pay special attention to the first days on the job and resolve issues rapidly
You want your new hire to feel good about his or her decision to join your company with no second thoughts or regrets about the other offer he turned down or company she left. We’ve recently seen false starts where employees come onboard to chaos or feel disconnected from their colleagues and leave within weeks of their first day. Make sure new hires are welcomed by other staff members, that their workplace is in order, training is well planned, and that you help them get integrated and feeling productive and valued rapidly. Check-in early and frequently post-hire for issues that do arise and address them as quickly as possible with real actions, demonstrating your commitment to a successful start and hopeful future.
Gwenn Rosener is co-founder of FlexProfessionals, LLC, a niche staffing company specializing in sourcing professionals for part-time, project-based and flexible work arrangements. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.