The Great Resignation has consistently made headlines with over 4 million Americans resigning from their jobs, led by mid-career professionals. Ironically, the same fields that saw an increased demand during the pandemic are the ones now seeing the highest resignation rates. People are rethinking their motivations and life goals in the light of the pandemic and prioritizing personal responsibilities like caregiving and mental health.
What this means for recruiters is that it is getting harder and harder to attract and hire the best talent. As of October 2021, there were 11 million open jobs in the US even as actual hiring fell by 82,000 jobs. According to HR strategist and researcher Ian Cook, the cost of voluntary resignation is often high. For instance, a seemingly small rise in driver shortage at a trucking company he worked with led to millions of dollars in increased hiring and training costs.
As we stand at the cusp of a new year, trying to plan our hiring strategy and spend, it may seem like most of the data and lessons from the past decade are somewhat meaningless. Are there any learnings from last year that will tide us over to the next? We’ve been chatting with a number of experts to understand this better. Here are 4 shifts that we believe will make a huge difference to your hiring in the coming year.
Zig Ziglar, author of the American classic See You at the Top, famously said that we are all salespeople. It may not be in our designations but if we work with people, we are in sales. This applies incredibly well to recruiters who pitch, negotiate, and close offers with top talent every day.
However, we are not a seller’s market. Candidates have never been clearer about what they want and don’t. The top talent know their worth and are willing to wait until they get it. Factors like DE&I, role flexibility, compensation, employer brand, and culture are high in their evaluation criteria, and they would rather say no to an offer than compromise.
In order to get these candidates on board, recruiters need to start thinking like their sales counterparts, the kind to whom Zig urged “stop selling, start helping.” This is the time for recruiters to become advocates for candidates - not for themselves or their employers. This could mean looking at the big picture ("Do I want this great candidate to lead my support operations remotely or do I hold out for someone local?") or co-creating employee benefits that the candidate values (make-your-own benefits package versus one-size-fits-all). Essentially, recruiters need to understand what their candidates want and figure out ways to make that happen.
Once upon a time, personalization meant auto-populating the candidate’s name in an email. But today, all this is table stakes. To really get your candidates’ attention and make a meaningful difference to their experience, you need to think of personalization as an end-to-end experience.
This starts with the very first touchpoint: Does the candidate prefer to communicate over email or text? How often do they want to hear from you? If they are having a busy week, could quick follow-ups via text help them? Are they free to talk after work or only during weekends? Preferences will vary by candidate and a talent leader's role is to equip their team to deliver this flexibility and personalization.
This is where using the right tech solutions comes in. Sense Messaging, for example, lets you run two-way text conversations so you reach the candidate where they are (on their phone) when they’re available (90% of people respond within 90 seconds of getting a text). Personalization can happen based on any field in your database including candidate name, location, or job title. You can add emojis and custom signatures from the recruiter for a more natural conversation. With Sense, the candidate can not only reply back to the recruiter, they can even text to apply to a job or text to refer a friend.
The candidate experience is shaped by multiple touch points, each of which you can turn into an opportunity to delight. But you cannot make this happen with point solutions. What you need is a platform that powers your candidate journey across channels, personalizes interactions, and ensures your recruiters always have access to the most updated data right in their ATS or CRM.
For example, a thoughtfully crafted text about open positions brings a strong candidate to your careers page. From there, you leverage an AI-powered conversational assistant to talk to the candidate about their experience and preferences, and match them to the right jobs without overwhelming them with irrelevant options. The AI assistant walks the candidate through the application one step at a time. Over the next few days, email alerts with the status of their application are sent to the candidate. While it may seem unnecessary to send "no update" updates, this study from Tribepad showed that lack of responses from employers left 86% of candidates feeling sad, 17% of which expressed the impact was severe.
Leveraging the right combination of tech, tailored to the goals and stages in your candidate journey, not only delivers a fantastic experience for the candidate but also significantly accelerates hiring speed.
How do you evaluate the success of your recruitment strategy? Time to hire, dollar savings per offer, positions closed, are all great efficiency metrics to track. The thing is, they should not be the only ones.
Immediate gains in time or cost need to be balanced against long-term metrics like quality of hire. One practice, for instance, could be to track employee retention. Another is NPS from employees, both current and exiting. These tell you what you are getting right and wrong. You could even look at employee success and growth within the organization from the time they join: if they are doing well and are happy, you have a successful hire.
By tracking quality on a regular basis, you are automatically taking care of savings because the cost of hiring and training is far greater than the cost of retaining the right talent. Not just that, happy employees who perform well are more likely to refer high-quality candidates in their network, bringing down your recruitment cost by as much as 50%.
So, what are you prioritizing in 2022? Check out my recent conversation on HR trends and predictions with William Tincup, President and Editor-at-large of RecruitingDaily, Kelly Robinson, CEO of Reddot Media, and Alex Rosen, Co-founder and Head of Product at Sense.