As workers move locations across the country, expand their work bases, and shift the boundaries of American commuting, the talent pool available to companies has grown exponentially. It also means that prospective employees are willing to wait for the perfect opportunity (or move on to greener pastures) when choosing their next position. With so much unfamiliarity about the ever-changing job market, it can be difficult for organizations to know when to make hiring decisions. If you hire too early, you may be running on thin margins; If you hire too late, you risk burning out key employees.
Here are some strategies that can help human resource departments understand the current job market and decide when and how to hire strategically.
1. Change your hiring style
According to dr. Dan Harrison, founder and CEO of Harrison Assessments, a predictive talent acquisition assessment focused on helping HR and talent management professionals throughout the talent lifecycle, companies need to adjust their mindset when searching for employee candidates.
“Many companies approach talent management with a finite (or win-lose) mindset. Finding more people and hiring the best talent is considered critical to ‘winning’ the talent game,” says Harrison. Although there may be some truth of this idea, such a narrow view of talent management causes leaders to overlook the goal of continuing the game (i.e. hiring, developing and retaining top talent as everyone’s job with no winner or loser).
To help hiring managers examine their current mindset, Harrison lists several possible strategies that can help build an “infinite mindset.”
- Offer real and compelling benefits: Solicit employee feedback on their needs and follow up by providing more employee benefits, additional PTO, hybrid work options, or any other benefits employees desire.
- Create Mutually Beneficial Relationships: All employees are different. Good leaders need to get to know their employees to ensure their skills and interests match their current role, leading to greater workplace satisfaction and engagement.
- Make talent management a group effort: When everyone works together to create a positive, fulfilling workplace, everyone can take ownership of their role within the company. Tailor communication channels to employee preferences and encourage your company leaders to consider employee well-being when making large-scale decisions.
2. Know the value of communication
Nobody likes to be left out. One of the most consistent complaints I’ve heard from job seekers is the frustration of intensive hiring processes and a lack of communication from managers.
Imagine you went through the application process, updated your resume, drafted a cover letter, and attended an interview. Each of these steps takes time, causing candidates to wait days, weeks and even months between the next step. At every stage, companies have the opportunity to communicate with job seekers.
If you’re looking for new talent, the business leaders and your recruiting team should make a communication plan for applications. Decide from the start what deadlines and processes you will share with candidates. For example, if your company has decided on two rounds of interviews (an initial interview with the hiring manager and a second panel discussion with leadership), inform potential hires.
Similarly, set clear expectations when inviting them to proceed with their application. Are applicants expected to take an exam or provide a portfolio of work? Can candidates expect a pilot project? By setting clear expectations for applicants, you give them the opportunity to prepare and showcase their best work.
3. Create a “staff plan” to stay flexible
As much as economists love to predict the future, the reality is that it’s best to prepare for a few surprises. With rising prices in transportation costs, housing and daily necessities, employment is also on the move. To make ends meet, many households are reviewing their needs and looking for higher-paying jobs with better benefits and more stability.
One of the best ways to plan for these times of economic turmoil is through a accurate personnel plan existing employees, unfilled positions and company needs. Leaders and talent acquisition managers need to be creative in their recruiting solutions and remain flexible as they try to meet their growth and profit expectations.
For example, the growing gig economy has increased the number of experienced freelancers and contractors in the workforce. A company looking to trim down certain departments and roles may find hiring freelancers a viable option rather than investing in a full-time employee. Conversely, managers should collaborate across departments and consider expanding functions or offering an internal promotion to increase retention rates.
Don’t forget about hiring logistics. Reach out to your talent acquisition teams to coordinate large-scale hiring plans or potential layoffs. Can they handle the number of potential candidates you plan to interview, or will you need to hire new recruiters and human resources first?
While the current upheavals in the market may feel overwhelming and incomprehensible, there are solutions to today’s hiring problems. Companies that cultivate this “infinity mentality” and build a reputation for communication will always attract quality candidates. When leaders create positive and innovative work environments, the economy, the labor market and employees all benefit.