The Great Recession and subsequent recovery have forever changed the landscape of recruiting and hiring in America.
During the Great Recession, employers had their pick of candidates as unemployment hit a historical high of 10% during the month of October 2009. Every open position received hundreds and sometimes thousands of inbound applicants. This robust number of applicants meant hiring managers could have their pick of qualified candidates and finding highly skilled workers with a knowledge and cultural match was easy because the candidate pool was so large. However, like all recessions before it, the Great Recession finally came to a close and forever changed the face of recruiting and hiring in America.
Total Number of Individuals Filing for Unemployment Benefits
Now the economic recovery has arrived and is in full swing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of individuals filing for unemployment benefits has plummeted to the lowest level in more than four decades. In addition, private employers have added jobs to the workforce for seven straight years in a row.
All Employees: Total Private Industry
These forces have combined to create a historically low unemployment rate of only 4.1%, the lowest level since 2000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this past February alone saw the creation of over 313,000 non-farm payroll jobs.
While the foundations of the recruitment process stay the same in excellent and challenging economic times alike, employers are finding that the arrival of a better economy is also signaling increased recruitment challenges.
Employers are officially faced with a tight labor market. Candidates with marketable experience, excellent career progression, education, and professionalism are receiving multiple competitive offers, which was not the case just a few years ago.
The tight labor market has created several critical challenges for organizations as they search for the best talent:
A faster full-cycle recruiting process has become the norm:
The longer the interview and hiring-cycle are, the greater probability that an organization will lose candidates to other offers. Strategies to mitigate this risk include scheduling interviews back-to-back and quickly coordinating with the hiring team to get feedback, make a decision, and get back to the most appealing candidate to keep them engaged in the process.
Supply and demand constraints place pressure on compensation:
Employers, facing the most competitive market in many years, must be willing to align compensation packages with what other organizations are willing to pay. Many proven employees are in a position for bonuses and promotions with their current employers. This incentive means they are less likely to depart for competing offers. In effect, many employers find themselves competing for the same pool of potential employees, and the laws of supply and demand results in upward pressure on the total compensation package offered.
Non-salary benefit expectations are on the rise:
As employees receive competing offers, the non-salary benefits offered have become even more critical. Now employees are comparing offerings that many times include title flexibility, commuter reimbursement, flex-time, dedicated parking spaces, childcare, vacation and PTO, gym memberships, and telecommuting options. Therefore, employers seeking to recruit the best and brightest need to offer a total benefits package that is extremely robust and flexible.
Recruiting and hiring in this tight environment means that organizations must address these challenges on multiple fronts.
Focus resources on employer marketing:
Hiring managers need to point out the unique advantages to joining the organization including opportunities for growth, positive facets of the work environment, and any unique benefits the organization might offer. The highest quality employees will many times investigate potential employers on the internet. Therefore, organizations need to have a well-formed internet presence that communicates the employer brand and the benefits of working with the organization. In addition, websites like Glassdoor.com, which evaluate employers, have become very important to the employer brand and are checked regularly by potential employees. By dedicating HR resources to monitoring and responding to comments posted on employer review sites such as Glassdoor.com, employers can maintain the most positive image and signal engagement.
Increase resourcing and coordination of the hiring-cycle:
Organizations can increase the number of resources dedicated to the hiring-cycle to improve coordination and move candidates rapidly through the process. This increased resourcing means optimizing the time devoted to writing the job description, coordinating interviews back-to-back, and ensuring that the necessary time is allocated for decision-making across constituencies. This focused effort will ensure that the right candidates are recruited and involved in a rapid hiring-cycle, so they are not lost to other offers.
Recruiting for potential:
Highly qualified and specialized employees have become more difficult to recruit in the current economic environment. This recruiting difficulty means that employers will need to shift their candidate evaluation process to be more forward-looking. This strategy involves looking for high-potential candidates that can grow into a role based on their prior employment and academic histories. Choosing to hire for potential means access to a broader and potentially more affordable candidate pool.
We now find ourselves in a robust economic era marked by a shortage of talent and high opportunity costs associated with not having a critical position filled. However, by proactively meeting recruiting challenges head-on, organizations can position themselves to attract the best talent to serve their teams.
Recruiting should be an ongoing process — not just one activated when there is a vacancy. It is critically important to keep an ever-watchful eye out for qualified talent. All organizations have positions that require unique and specialized skill sets and experience. Therefore, it is critical to be proactive and engage with talent as it surfaces.
While the recovering economy and dropping unemployment are having direct impacts on the supply and demand of qualified candidates, organizations can rise to the challenge by thoroughly engaging in the recruiting process and ensuring that their employer brand and compensation packages are competitive.
Establishing a relationship with a recruiting firm can provide your organization with a competitive advantage by continually surfacing and qualifying the best talent for your needs. This deep engagement means getting to know your organization and dedicating the time to truly understand your unique, specialized, and critical hard-to-fill roles.
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Here at WorkMonger, we are dedicated to helping you fill your non-teaching roles quickly and with the best talent available. Our dedication to understanding your organization and the position enables us to locate talent that is not only a match for your knowledge, skill, and ability needs but is also a match for your organization’s unique culture. Let us do the hard work of continuously building a pool of candidates for you so that when an opening occurs on your team, we can place qualified, interested candidates in front of you right away.
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