by Bill Firing
CEOs and their hiring organizations have quickly learned that talent acquisition in the COVID-19 era has been more challenging than expected. And those that have adapted their hiring practices to the sensitivities of the candidate market have been more successful in landing top-tier talent.
First, the realizations that may have flown in the face of conventional wisdom:
While there are more candidates in the market today than at the start of the year, many of those are not of the caliber that hiring managers are seeking. Companies are protecting their top performers knowing that their current business may suffer without them and that they would be the most difficult to replace when the business market improves.
Similarly, talent that remains employed are more inclined to hunker down in their current roles understanding that there may be increased risk in making a move in the current market.
As a result, most CEOs find the market for talent to be no larger and certainly more challenging in the current environment.
To that end, we’re finding those that are successful in filling challenging roles with top talent in this market to be making a few adjustments.
• Re-thinking posting on job boards in favor of more direct outreach to targeted candidates. We’re finding the volume of submissions to job board posting to have increased exponentially – and with a substantial volume of unqualified candidates. It’s taking enormous efforts to sift through for a limited number of nuggets, if any.
• More personal and targeted outbound messaging by a recruiter or hiring manager will capture the attention of sought-after candidates. There needs to be a value-proposition communicated in a manner more precise than ever before.
• Be prepared to sell your organization, the role and the hiring manager more clearly and more up-front than ever before. Understand that despite the number of folks becoming unemployed, the candidates you likely want to hire are being more cautious about moving than ever before.
• Adjust your interview process to be sensitive to the timeframe and questions your candidates will have in this market. Be prepared to talk about your business outlook in the near future, and the plans you’ve been making to adjust. And be transparent about what you are still figuring out. And don’t rush candidates to your timeline. We’re finding that top talent can be landed in this market, but giving candidates the time and space to digest what they learn in the interview process is key.
Above all, don’t misinterpret the market. Highly qualified candidates will not be suddenly lining up to interview for your openings. Instead, we’re finding the current market more challenging for hiring managers. That said, some quick adjustments in your mindset and recruiting approach can help you fill important roles with high-caliber talent.