Bridge Insights

It’s a Post-Pandemic Job Market. Stop Making these 6 Hiring Mistakes!

Oct 12, 2021

Hiring Crisis. Talent Shortage. Skills Scarcity. The Great Resignation. Call it what you want, but let’s face it, today’s labor market is tight, fast-moving, and unpredictable. There’s no doubt the pandemic changed the hiring landscape dramatically for candidates and employers.

While things may be settling down, changes to the job market aren’t slowing down. If you’re still using the same hiring strategies to attract talent that you were even a few months ago, your talent acquisition methods may be missing the mark. It’s time to reevaluate your process.

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1. Update. Your. Job. Descriptions.

If you are using a “Master” job description that details every possible job duty and reads like a wishlist of skills, that’s a recipe for disaster –especially if it’s been written in a way that puts your company first.

In today’s market, it’s important to remember that, at the job description stage, candidates are shopping for opportunities. The onus is on businesses to sell their position to the job seeker.

If you want to attract top performers, it’s important to understand what candidates are looking for and speak to them in terms they understand. Lead with the selling points they’d find most meaningful; what’s in it for them and why do they want to work for your business?

Try to trim the fat on your list of requirements. A laundry list of requirements not only makes the job description visually unappealing but also is overwhelming and can give even the most qualified job seekers a reason to deem themselves unqualified.

2. Pink Unicorns Aren’t Real

Often, the pressures of filling an open position ASAP lead hiring managers to start the interview process without knowing which specific skills are needed to perform their role successfully. This “build the plane as you fly it” approach to hiring often leads to hiring leaders creating a new list of requirements while candidates are applying.

Having a job description with a moving target (and effectively going back to square one) leads to a longer and less effective hiring process, wasted time, and lower quality candidates.

While being flexible and adapting to your candidate pipeline is admirable, defining your non-negotiable “must-haves” is a must. While determining these skills and attributes may require some planning upfront, in the long run, it will make for a more effective hiring process and a better pool of candidates.

Delineating between your must-haves and nice-to-haves (and being open to train on the latter) will yield a larger talent pool. Remember, pink unicorns don’t exist in the real world, so stop trying to find them.

Adding more requirements to your hiring process won’t get you the “perfect” candidate; it turns off qualified candidates and leaves you with a much smaller talent pool. In today’s market, limiting the size of your viable candidate pool will lead to a stalled hiring process and, in many cases, the inability to hire altogether.

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3. Your Interview Process is Lengthy and Unfriendly to Job Seekers

The market is competitive and is moving at lightning speed. If your hiring process doesn’t match the current hiring landscape, you will lose good talent. In the world we live in, quick response times and feedback are necessary to keep candidates engaged. When it comes to making a hiring decision, the old adage that “No news is good news” (while you interview candidates) doesn’t hold water anymore.

Even in employer-driven markets, good candidates don’t stick around very long. In today’s market, it feels like they’re gone the second they apply. Making a candidate jump through multiple hoops or leaving them in the dark for long periods of time is a sure-fire way to see a drop off in your hiring funnel.

4. Your Hiring Process Is Focused on Your Company

Yes, the goal of any job posting is to find a professional who will positively contribute to your organization. Although it may seem counterproductive, the most effective way to do this is to put the job seeker first. As much as you’re trying to select the best candidate for your organization, job seekers are trying to select the best employer for their careers. Job seekers are making assessments on what they see in the job description, during the interview, and throughout their experience with your process overall. The more you make the interview about YOU, the more job seekers you’ll lose to your competition.

Put yourself in the interviewee’s shoes: Providing details during an interview about your team, company culture, and the values your company possesses can bring life to an interview. Increasingly, people are selecting employers who share their same values and have an impact on the community at large, so don’t be afraid to share what job seekers want to hear.

[blockquotes quote=”yes”]Adding more requirements to your hiring process won’t get you the “perfect” candidate; it turns off qualified candidates and leaves you with a much smaller talent pool. [/blockquotes]

5. A Bigger Paycheck Is Only Part of the Compensation Equation

According to the BLS, the consumer’s price index increased by 5.4 % in July 2021 over the previous year. People want the same buying power they had pre-pandemic and, today, they have the luxury to shop around for a job that can provide this to them. For employers, this means that if you’re not offering competitive compensation packages, you’re setting up your open positions on a tough road to success.

The amount of jobs in the marketplace has increased and so has the demand for qualified workers. It’s no wonder companies that are still choosing to cut corners on salary have so many positions unfilled. While you don’t have to overpay for unqualified workers, it may be in your best interest to review your total compensation plans and adjust them to meet the rate of inflation.

If you’re not able to bump up the base salary, get creative in your benefits package. Again, think about the things job seekers are seeking. Retirement benefits, volunteer programs, paid time off, tuition reimbursement, flexible work options (more to come on that) are all great ways to compensate employees outside of that bi-weekly paycheck.

6. What are Your Competitors Doing?

If you want to be competitive, it’s time to start doing research. Your open positions are not the only game in town. Job seekers are shopping around and top performers know what your competitors are offering for their pay, hours, benefits, and a work-life balance.
If you’re not tuned into the bigger picture of what’s going on in the market (and responding to it), there’s a chance you’re losing candidates.

Did you know that advertised sign-on bonuses have skyrocketed 454% since August 2020? And, today, it’s not uncommon for employee referral bonuses to be in the thousands.

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Putting It All Together

The bottom line: If your hiring strategy isn’t in line with the market, it will not be effective at finding top talent. Less than two years ago, unemployment rates were at an all-time low and shifted virtually overnight to the highest we have seen in over 50 years. Those two markets, although separated by only a few months, looked wildly different from each other; the present-day employment market has changed, and effective hiring strategies changed with it.

Though the dust hasn’t fully settled from the economic upheaval created by the pandemic, it is clear enough to see the general direction the employment market will go. It’s been a roller coaster of a ride and how people view their careers in the context of their lives has shifted dramatically.

Employers would be remiss to not make changes to their hiring strategy that parallel the shifts that job seekers have made to their list of priorities. To rely on traditional hiring tactics would be a mistake. By being receptive, adapting, and making changes based on market trends, your team will be sure to find the talent it needs regardless of the way the employment market winds are blowing.