Hiring today: the candidate market and the new normal …
The Beatles sang: “you say you want a revolution”, and the one we are living in is changing the way companies hire. In the new normal, some will adapt and others will not survive the change.
Historically Speaking ……
In the bust that followed the .com bubble of the 1990s, people I knew were among those laid off in the fallout. Not wanting to accept a pay cut, they turned down great roles for over a year. As the market stabilized, out-of-whack salaries disappeared and people realized that such high pay was a thing of the past.
My recruiting activities in the financial sector came to a halt after 9/11, and for more than a year I didn’t pick up the phone to call New York. I was one of many professionals who reconsidered their career options following the decimation. As I shifted to recruiting for another sector, I learned to adapt to that industry’s needs.
In 2007 the housing market crashed and propelled the country into a recession. Professionals were scared for their jobs as companies tightened their belts. The overall number of open roles decreased while demand for jobs grew. Salaries were adjusted for the supply of jobs as rising unemployment became critical.
The Last 2 Years …
Hiring activities fell quiet in 2020, one of many impacts of COVID 19. Unemployment rose as the Pandemic escalated and dragged into 2021.
By the end of the first quarter, companies were eager to get back to “business as usual” and the hiring frenzy began. The Pandemic catalyzed some lasting changes and ushered in an era where candidates control the market.
This year (and maybe the next) will be a test for companies, to change policies and processes and adapt to hiring in the candidate market.
Hiring Today …
The disruption of the Pandemic took a toll on everyone, but it brought back a sense of balance and humanity to the workplace. We could see into our colleagues’ homes as they juggled kids, dogs, and caring for seniors – continuing to work despite the challenging environment.
The meaning of work-life balance changed and made the case for remote working; professionals can argue for flexible locations and fair pay. Staggering inflation has changed the meaning of a dollar in post-pandemic norms. Candidates want companies to evaluate compensation packages and adopt policies to guarantee a real living wage.
I keep hearing from companies that they are aware of these requests. But they continue to use outdated and ineffective practices. This new era is an opportunity for companies to look for intangible value and promise that goes beyond a resume.
Some Things to Consider …
Business leaders are addressing some of the key areas important to a healthy, happy workplace. Feedback from employees has led to companies considering their responses to the questions below. Look them over and consider the responses that companies or candidates want to hear.
Companies consider this …
- What makes your company a good place to work?
- Why would someone want to join your team?
Candidates ask this …
- Can you paint a picture of how new hires will contribute to, and grow within, the firm?
- What professional development opportunities do you provide for individuals to grow and contribute more within the organization?
- Culturally, how do you plan to build inclusive trusting environments, where success is measured by the quality of life as well as performance?
While business leadership teams work on these questions, I want to shift the focus to a topic even more elementary: the mechanics of getting successful new hires.
The Hiring Process …
Is long overdue for an update. The steps, and the communication in each step, need to be clarified and held accountable (the company). In my work as a recruiter, I see my clients lose candidates at a dizzying rate, to organizations that move faster and make fewer demands.
Innovative companies are streamlining their processes to include panel interviews and pitch presentations – resulting in a shorter timeline overall. These agile techniques happen faster, review more candidates in each step, and present a dynamic, 360 view of each possible hire.
Hiring managers want to spend time getting to know people, so they can hire the best resource for their team. Understanding that the post-pandemic landscape includes hybrid and remote roles will lead hiring managers to leverage digital resources like social media and recommendations on LinkedIn.
Conversations that matter – Get to know candidates through their references and informational interviews too!
Countless hours are wasted on process minutia while candidates get frustrated and walk away. Keep great talent in your pipeline with faster processes, stronger compensation packages, and innovative formats for interviews. These characteristics show that an organization is open to non-traditional practices to retain great people.
The Comp Package …
Needs to meet market demands. So what if you’ve been paying your entire internal at the same level for 10 years. Change it!
When my clients have roles that are open for more than 6 months, I advise them to revise job descriptions and compensation packages. Maintaining the traditional ways with rigidity is not impressing anyone in the labor market today.
When hiring in the candidate market, you must adapt or die!
Moving Forward …
Assess how the pandemic disrupted the way we live and do business. Returning to outdated practices doesn’t make sense when the market demands equitable, innovative, and effective methods for interviewing.
There are a lot of great people with intangible talents. Companies that want to create new normal business practices, should take note of what those talents are.
I’ll close with a quote from Jim Collins, named one of Forbes 100 living greatest business minds:
“Look, I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”