It’s now clearer than ever that the workforce and the labor market are changing rapidly, and creating a new paradigm for the future of work. Although earlier than anticipated, this revolution has had a huge impact on anything from recruiting to onboarding, through workforce culture and retirement. Through the last couple of years, (the domination of Millennials in the workforce, baby boomers retirements, and the pandemic that accelerated change, amongst other factors) has dramatically and forever changed the way we work and the way we think about work. And yes, also the way we hire.
Regardless of the spike in opportunities and in addition to companies growing at rapid rates, talent acquisition teams are experiencing a major talent shortage which has affected the pace of bringing in new hires. Due to fiscal policy combined with the recovery of the coronavirus recession, our economy hasn’t had the chance to recover from a whirlwind of one of the most confusing pandemics of our time that has caused a major shift in the workforce demand. In 2021, the nation’s “quit rate” was at the highest we’ve seen in 20 years due to low pay, lack of advancement opportunities, and not feeling respected at work. Post the great resignation, hiring teams—that are understaffed—have been burdened with the task of mass hiring for positions after a resurgence.
As it stands today, we are in an employee’s market, which means that after the great resignation, candidates are being more selective when job searching, especially candidates from diverse backgrounds who have gotten acclimated to working from home during the stint of the pandemic. According to a study by the Center for Talent Innovation, found that White men and women report a higher sense of belonging than their Black, Hispanic and Asian colleagues. Job seekers are increasingly searching for higher pay, more flexibility, additional benefits like child care, and remote options as they leverage their skills in the current market. Because of the prevalent effects of unfilled roles, supply and demand forces companies to make some major changes in order to be proactive instead of reactive.
Recent case studies have shown that talent pools have a secret weapon: silver medalist candidates. Silver medalist talent are candidates that made it to the final interviews of a specific role, but were not offered the job. By dipping into silver medalists, you can reduce the time it takes to vet qualified candidates. All those individuals that you thanked for interviewing, can be quality applicants that your talent acquisition team wouldn’t have to screen, which relieves your team from spending valuable time that could be dedicated elsewhere.
As we are navigating in a new and challenging hiring space post-pandemic, we should be establishing innovative ways to recruit. Transparency will be key here when funneling qualified and diverse talent into your applicant pool. Companies can start by being more transparent about compensation and benefits as well as look for ways to set new standards for incoming candidates in order to retain future employees.
So, what do we do about it?
The first step: focus on retention.
Invest in upskilling and training. Promote employees internally. Provide opportunities to those already within your organization. Research has found that employees consider quitting for two reasons: they didn’t feel their work was valued by the organization (54%) or that they lacked a sense of belonging at work (51%). The key is to prioritize professional development, whether you are rewarding it or supporting the professional growth of individuals.
The second step: stop throwing away opportunities.
The average job posting receives 250 applications but only 4-6 candidates are selected for interviews. These applicants are then vetted by TA teams and go through multiple rounds of interviewing with various members of the company. Hiring decisions are always complex and influenced by a variety of factors; at the end of it all, one person is given the role and one is not. That silver medalist candidate still has the skills, experience, and know-how to make it that far into the interview process.
So why do we end communication there? Silver medalist candidates are an underutilized talent resource. By tapping into the employees and talent already available to them, organizations can circumvent the impacts of the talent shortage. They have the skills, the experience, and were almost the perfect candidate. Maintaining relationships with these talented individuals provides companies with new opportunities to find and retain excellent employees. Consider implementing a recruitment and hiring strategy that focuses on cultivating and retaining these silver medalists in order to combat the impacts of the talent shortage.
Naturally, companies will have to rethink hiring other dimensions, such as offering competitive wages and benefits that employees truly need (less free beer faucets around the office and more wellness options). But starting with this hidden stash of talent right under your recruiting team's fingertips—would be the first place to look at.