Can I be bluntly honest?
Stop. Yes, stop.
All of us – hiring managers, company leadership, owners. We need to stop. It’s not 2018 anymore, and even then, I’d argue that it was tough. It’s not 2010 anymore, either, which was quite possibly the last time hiring may have been “easy”. We need to stop acting and thinking like we did then.
This is not an employer’s market when it comes to hiring. We should already be feeling this – feeling the exhaustion from running the same job ad month after month, scouring the corners of social media for a candidate because we just need one to talk with. We have been on this hamster wheel, trying all of the “old tricks” to get applicants for too many years (and it’s not even a pandemic issue).
Here’s the deal: when there’s an applicant for a position, we, as company leadership, must act. Act quickly. We have to get them in. We have to engage them immediately – through all means possible. We have to sell the individual on coming to work for us, because frankly, they have the upper hand.
Job seekers have the upper hand in today’s recruiting cycle.
Job seekers are calling the shots. That doesn’t mean employers don’t have an opportunity to set some expectations and negotiate at the proper time. It does mean that our minds have to be open.
Recognize they may be overqualified in the minds of hiring managers, or underqualified. They may have more than the skills we’re looking for; and they may possess the aptitude to learn those skills. Look for their communication styles and determine their decision-making abilities. Ask questions that can help you determine if they can be agile and apply lessons from one situation to another at a later date. These are qualities of an applicant that show more of their emotional intelligence and can help determine if they’d be a good fit in the aspects that are harder to teach than many tasks of a job.
If you feel they’re overqualified, ask them what their motivation for the position might be, so that it can be understood. In this time, we as employers, cannot just assume we know. We can’t assume that they will just leave, because you know what? We’ve seen that those who are under qualified, those who appear perfectly qualified, leave too. The motivation for interest in our position we are talking to them about may be something entirely different.
It is equally frustrating to an HR and recruiter to be working alongside the hiring team, searching to fill a position, months on end. These days, it is highly likely that it takes nine months to a year to fill a position. Recognize that we, who make hiring decisions, are not going to have the luxury of saying “we liked that applicant but want to see who else is out there”, or “the applicant was quick and could probably fit into our culture, but they didn’t have the right experience”.
In truth, how much does it cost for us to leave that position vacant for that long of time? How much does it cost in employee morale for others to pick up the slack of being down a colleague for almost a year? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to have a new person in that role, learning the position, getting up to speed on how things are done within the organization, and developing relationships with their coworkers? Simply put, employers need to stop passing on willing employees who have potential.
It’s time for us to recognize that we’re not going to get all that we want in a candidate right away, and that we may have to make more concessions than we’re used to – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s open up, take a step forward. We might find some stars amid the fog we keep walking through in all of this.