Smart Hiring Practices in Challenging Times

Unpredictable economic conditions. Changing demand. Rising wages. Competition for talent. These are just a few of the factors making the jobs of hiring managers and recruiters tougher right now. Employers in Atlanta, Georgia with accounting, call center, IT, legal support, medical billing, office, and professional positions to fill are feeling the pinch as much as anyone. But what can you do about it? What is possible for you to control and what is not? A recent survey revealed that hiring is the number one concern of CEOs who cite “unavailability of talent and skills as the biggest threat to their business.” According to Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employers in the United States spend an average of $4,129 per job on hiring.  


What’s Happening in the Current Market?

Wages and Employment are Growing – Slowly

Recent numbers indicate more than 7.1 million fewer people were employed in June than in February 2020, the last month before the Covid-19 pandemic declaration. During that same period, average hourly earnings rose 0.3% month over month and 3.6% year over year. The current stagnation in employment growth can be attributed to employer and worker reluctance to commit to a hire because of ongoing uncertainty due to the Delta variation and inconsistent back-to-school policies making it difficult for parents to plan. A total of 5.6 million workers said they couldn’t work for pandemic-related reasons, according to an August update.  


Health Concerns Keep Workers Home

survey of 515 unemployed workers conducted by Jobcase indicated that contrary to popular wisdom, they were not earning more staying home than they would if employed. Many of them report being hesitant to return to work, with 34% saying they were worried about the COVID-19 virus, unhappy with low pay rates, and frustrated by unrealistic employer expectations such as college degrees for jobs they don’t believe should require them or valuing degrees over experience.  


Employers are Offering Incentives

Twice as many companies (4.1%) posting jobs to Indeed in June 2021 offered incentives. The use of incentives varied among industries, with Driving-related occupations, personal care, and home health offering cash bonuses ranging from $100 to $30,000. Food prep jobs offered bonuses of $100 to $2,500. Even with higher wages, bonuses, and incentives, many jobs continue to go unfilled, particularly those dealing with the public which, in many places, has become demanding, unappreciative, and combative.  


Are You Taking The Wrong Approach to Hiring?

For many years, employers were able to create a job description, advertise it (typically in the classified section of the local newspaper) and wait for candidates to mail in resumes or stop by to fill out an application. These were often entry-level jobs that came with extensive training, anticipating that employees would work their way up the org chart. It’s no secret that the process has changed – a lot. Today, only 28% of employers today consider internal candidates an important source of candidates for higher-level positions. 


Turnover and Retention Issues

When workers believe employers are not invested in their careers – because of a lack of professional development opportunities, plum roles being given to outsiders rather than filled from within, they have no motivation to be loyal to the company. This leads to excess turnover and difficulty holding onto good people who will quickly jump to a competitor for a salary boost or a chance to move up the ladder. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data show 95% of hiring is done to fill existing positions, most of which are vacant due to voluntary turnover.


Here are a few innovations, along with their pros and cons:

Applicant Tracking Software

Now that the vast majority of applications are completed online, hiring managers have seemingly unlimited ways to slice and dice the data. The system crawls each application searching for keywords that were pre-determined to be essential to move a candidate to the next step in the process. Bad news for an applicant who, for example, lists advanced proficiency in spreadsheet software, only to be eliminated by the ATS scanning for the word “Excel.”  


AI-Assisted Hiring

Companies attempted to make electronic resume parsing smarter by introducing artificial intelligence (AI). Unfortunately, as with most things computer and data related, garbage in = garbage out. The intent of this software was to identify prospective good hires and eliminate bias using machine learning. The process was to identify current employees who are successful in the role and load their data into AI as a sort of template. It worked – but only too well. The software chose mostly white men for positions currently held mostly by white men. STEM positions were particularly hard hit by this issue with large companies such as Amazon back-burning their AI-assisted hiring programs entirely.


Narrower Talent Pool

This may seem counterintuitive – after all, more is better, right? Not if it means wasting time with completely unqualified people, it’s not. For example, if you need a CPA for an open accountant position on your team, do you want a stack of resumes from bookkeepers, clerks, CFOs, and financial analysts intermingled with those from qualified accountants? Probably not. It makes more sense to structure your recruiting efforts to attract, say, ten solid resumes, three to five of which come from individuals worth interviewing.


Rethinking Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are the gold standard for many employers. It’s like wanting to date the guy who’s already got a girlfriend. If someone else has them, they’re worth the effort, right? You might be surprised. Of the more than 20,000 talent professionals who responded to a LinkedIn survey in 2015, 86% said their recruiting organizations focused “very much so” or “to some extent” on passive candidates. 

Active candidates are more likely to look for work that suits them or better opportunities. Active candidates report being passionate about their work, engaged in improving their skills, and reasonably satisfied with their current jobs. They look for new jobs because they want new challenges; higher pay is just the icing on the cake. 

Passive candidates, on the other hand, are likely to jump ship solely for more money. Not the ideal hire if you’re looking for loyalty and retention. Almost all employees will consider a new job offer if the pay is high enough. Employee surveys indicate only about 15% are not open to changing jobs.  


Increased Focus on DE&I

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) will continue to be a priority for employers. Not only does it bring innovation and fresh perspectives to your organization, but you’ll also attract candidates who look for employers who are visibly committed to DE&I. According to Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Workplace Intelligence, “ 70 percent of job seekers said they want to work for a company that demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion.”


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Keeping the Hiring Process Moving

In the current market, top candidates have plenty of opportunities but little patience. Move through the hiring process as quickly as you can without rushing the hire.  

There are advantages to an expedited process for employers as well. A quick and efficient hiring process can help you: 

  • Save time and money. Screening and interviewing can consume valuable time that can be better spent on other priorities – and as more people are added to the decision-making process, those hours add up quickly.  
  • Avoid talent gaps. An unfilled position is a missed opportunity, coworkers must fill in until a new employee is hired, and the ongoing costs of continuing to market the position are an unwanted expense.  
  • Attract high-caliber talent. Earning a reputation for keeping the process moving and valuing candidate time is likely to bring in professionals who take their careers seriously. 
  • Achieve business goals faster. The sooner you fill a vacancy, the quicker they can get to work, make an impact on the job, and contribute to the company reaching its objectives. 
  • Prevent a top prospect from going to a competitor. Hiring managers who keep the process moving are less likely to find a candidate has accepted another offer while you’re still getting your ducks in a row.  


How to Improve the Hiring Process

When it seems that candidates hold all the cards, remember you have a lot of control when it comes to attracting top talent, keeping candidates engaged through the process, and making the best possible hire. Here’s how you can optimize your hiring process: 

  • Post all openings internally. Your current team can be one of the best sources of talent. Internal promotions and lateral hires are good for the company, the employee and overall morale, and engagement.  
  • Be realistic with job requirements. Many employers rely on managers to spearhead hiring rather than the overloaded HR department. That means there’s no one to push back on unrealistic requirements, like jobs that don’t really require degrees or low-ball compensation plans for high-demand positions.  
  • Don’t rely too much on referrals. Up to 48% of new hires come from employee referrals, according to LinkedIn research. Unfortunately, people tend to know others much like themselves, so it will not help boost diversity in most cases. 
  • Create a timeline. Outline the steps required to hire: creating a budget and job description, engaging a recruiting firm, scheduling interviews, etc. If this hire is required for an upcoming project – make sure you know the absolute latest they can start.  
  • Plan your Interviews. Don’t waste the candidate’s time. Be sure all stakeholders are available when the interviewee is, whether they are part of the interview team or just want to meet finalists. If interviews are virtual, test your equipment.  
  • Give stakeholders a deadline. If they want to be part of the hiring process, they need to provide feedback quickly or the team will move on without their input.  
  • Create a positive candidate experience. More than 75% of candidates research a company’s reputation and brand before applying for a job. If your company is known for a protracted process or ghosting candidates, top talent may skip applying with you.
  • Be exceptionally responsive. Get back to candidates quickly when they email or call. Whether they are looking for a status report or letting you know they’ve had another offer, a prompt reply can make all the difference in keeping them engaged.  
  • Don’t wait for them to reach out. Follow up regularly with top candidates to avoid losing them. If they don’t hear from you in a while, they are likely to assume you’re not interested and move on. 
  • Extend the offer faster. Most candidates will continue interviewing after accepting a verbal offer. Send a written formal offer within 24 hours of the interview if a decision has been reached. 
  • Measure your results. Many employers don’t know what recruiting methods work best because they simply aren’t tracking the information. How many managers could say how a three-year veteran of the company ended up in their role. It’s worth the effort to take note. Then when you’re ready to hire, you’ll know where your top performers came from and ideally duplicate those results.  


2021 Recruiting Trends

The pandemic has changed the way many employers approach recruiting and hiring. Hiring managers have seen firsthand the advantages of using virtual recruiting technologies, attracting remote candidates, and leveraging internal talent pools. 

The rise of virtual hiring. Remote and hybrid work models will continue to grow in many industries. Even companies that go back to the office are likely to continue interviewing by video because it helps streamline the process, extend geographic reach, and respect candidate time constraints.  

Temporary and contract employees. Companies afraid to commit to full-time hires in uncertain economic times or need someone to fill in for employees who are sick or caring for loved ones are increasingly relying on temporary help.  

Recruitment Process Outsourcing. Research indicates about 40% of U.S. companies have outsourced at least part of their hiring function to domestic and overseas recruitment process outsourcing firms. An even greater number have made staffing and recruiting firms an essential element of their hiring strategy.  



Rise to the Challenge by Partnering with a Recruiting Firm

A proven staffing and recruiting firm like BOS Staffing can be your secret weapon when battling for top talent in a tight market. With over 100 years of combined experience in temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct hire staffing, we can help source talent, screen candidates, and optimize your hiring process. As experts in hiring for accounting, call center, IT, legal support, medical billing, office, and professional positions in Atlanta, GA, and the surrounding areas, our experts will help you build a winning team. Contact us today to learn more.   


Let BOS Staffing Help You Find Your Right Fit!

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