by Marcia Dickerson, June 13, 2022
The Great Resignation is still in full swing, and employers everywhere are struggling to recruit adequate numbers of qualified staff. The current job market is both difficult and unpredictable. These five tips can help you try some new things to increase your success in filling open positions with great new hires.
1. Update Job Descriptions
A good place to start with any recruiting is to take a critical look at your job descriptions for open positions and figure out if they're rightsized for the pay and benefits. A lot of the current wave of resignations is being driven by people who are leaving overwhelming and stressful jobs, particularly when folks have had to pick up the work of others who have already left. Many job seekers are looking for a position in which they can contribute value without burning out. Are your jobs designed so that someone can do them without exhausting themselves?
Other employers have jobs that are designed for a combination of knowledge, skills, and abilities that might be hard to find in one person. For instance, I've helped fill a position in which the role requires managing others, working weekends, high skill with spreadsheets, and creating social media posts. We found someone who could do three of these things, but not all. So, we repackaged those tasks in order to more successfully fill the job.
2. Rethink Requirements
Many times, we set requirements for education and experience for a job based on what we've always done, rather than considering whether they're really necessary for success in the position. If you're hiring for specialized positions (e.g., nursing), then don't change your requirements. But, for other jobs, don't use requirements such as a 4-year college degree or 5 years of experience as a way to weed out people who you think might not have the skills you need. Instead, consider what you really need in your new hire. Is it problem solving skills, communication skills, people management skills? Then, craft your recruitment and selection around finding these without artificial hurdles like a degree or years of experience. There's a trend towards reducing education and experience requirements in jobs, and for many positions, this makes it easier to find the right hire.
3. Consider More Applicants
Along with rethinking hiring requirements, it's also a good time to be more open to different types of applicants. It's common for employers to skip over applicants with gaps in their resumes, those who have frequently changed jobs, folks from very different industries, and "overqualified" applicants. These days, there are likely good explanations for all of these; that is, these aren't necessarily red flags anymore. Work gaps and seeming job hopping have a lot to do with the volatility of the labor market the last few years. And, don't forget that rejecting applicants for being "overqualified" can often be illegal age discrimination in disguise. Many employees have reassessed their priorities in the last few years, and it's not unusual for job seekers to pursue positions that seem below their skill set.
4. Improve Benefits
This is the tip you likely don't want to hear, but improving pay and benefits usually helps your recruitment. While it's not a universal problem solver, if your pay and benefits can't keep up with inflation, you're going to have a hard time filling your position. And the competition is stiffer than ever, with remote positions becoming more popular. If you can't offer more pay, there are other benefits or rewards that might offset that. You might offer more flexibility in working hours or days. You can increase PTO. Think creatively, and you might find some benefits that will help you attract applicants.
5. Reduce Friction
With high demand for workers, everything you do as a potential employer in the recruitment process makes a difference. So, reducing friction, or the small challenges in applying for jobs and going through the screening process, can help. If you make it easier for applicants to learn about your job (including its responsibilities and pay) you're more likely to get applicants. And, organizations that prioritize the recruitment process and move quickly are likely to get more choice in hiring. Think about ways to make it easier on high quality applicants to have a positive experience with your organization, and this should improve recruitment.
Strong HR practices are more important now than ever. If you need help with an HR audit, HR staff training, or assistance with specific HR practices (e.g., creating a new performance appraisal), get in touch!