Hey – it’s 2021. When’s the party getting started again?
I kid, but not really. First, talent was slow to come back as the world recovered from COVID-19. Whether you believe that was a byproduct of government subsidies, fear of the workplace, childcare issues, or other factors, it’s clear that many formerly employed workers didn’t return to the workplace, at all levels.
But wait! There’s more.
Next, pent-up demand for quitting also happened as COVID lapsed in the early summer months. A seller’s market (that’s the candidate in this equation, folks) meant that people who needed a change were making one— by switching jobs.
To top it off, we can’t forget about the Delta Variant. Let’s not discuss that variable further than the simple acknowledgement.
It’s a hard time to be a recruiter. As Kevin Costner once told the Durham Bulls manager in a meeting on the mound in a Double-A minor league game, “we’re dealing with a lot of **** here.”
What can you do as a TA leader? You can either just sit there and take it, or you can have a plan and try to get some hires you wouldn’t ordinarily get by thinking about strategies and alternatives.
Here are my top Five Strategies to get some hires you couldn’t otherwise get in a COVID/Post-COVID world:
1–If your business allows it, explore remote work to a greater degree than your organization typically would consider. I know! Your company hates the concept of primary remote work! The reality is if you can provide a remote/hybrid that leans towards the remote option, you’re going to pick off some hires you wouldn’t have otherwise signed. It’s everywhere these days, kids. Explore remote for the positions you can. Do unto others with remote work before they do unto you.
2–Get ready to buy some talent. This is where you pay more than others can afford for positions you consider key. Remember, it’s a seller’s market. You are the buyer. That means you’re going to have to pay more. Start letting people know what’s up and be prepared to pay 15-20% more for key positions than you thought you would to get it done. Compression issues? Cool story, bro. Does your C-level want it filled or not?
3–The modified “buy/pay more” strategy is to look hard at candidates the next level down from your opening and figure out who’s ready for a promotion by switching companies. You’re hiring a Director. There are 100 Sr. Managers in your market. Your hiring executive will push back and tell you there’s not enough experience with a candidate from this group. The reality is 20% of these people are better than your incumbent at the higher level. You can keep your comp the same by promoting them into the company. But you’re going to have to figure out who’s good and who’s not.
4–Relax your brand pedigree. The world is starting to wonder if college degrees are really necessary. Your boss is passing around an article on this, and there’s a lot of smart nodding, but brand bias is alive and well when it comes to hiring. Big brands don’t respect candidates from little brands. Little brands don’t respect candidates from zero brands. There are stars everywhere, you just have to find them. And if your VP of Marketing won’t hire someone because the background isn’t a direct fit, enjoy the 150 day time to fill if you aren’t willing to overpay. HOW DARE YOU EXHIBIT THIS BIAS IN A TIME OF TALENT CRISIS, SIR. Or Ma’am. Or they. Brand bias is everywhere and knows no limitation by orientation or identity.
5–Start reporting on “Quick Quits.” I said it. Start reporting on turnover in the first 90 days. Quick Quits are up because if people smell funkiness in an org or on a team, they’ll jump in 2021 because they haven’t even gotten around to declining the other two offers they have. So part of your hiring opportunity is to reduce the “we were too busy to onboard” squander-fest that’s alive in many organizations. Be better, line of business friends.
It’s hard out here in post-COVID-hiring land. Do nothing and no one is coming through that door. But have an approach and a plan, and you’ll get more of your share of talent than your brand deserves.
See you at the mandatory vaccine booster shot party, friends. BTW, if you have one of these, spin it as a differentiator.
If you don’t—you guessed it—spin it the other way as a differentiator.
Recruiting life in 2021 is selling what you’ve got.
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.