It has been a difficult year for HR teams. With nearly twice as many open jobs as unemployed Americans and an increased cost of labor, Americans are quitting their jobs and finding new opportunities at rates never seen before, with a record 4.5 million workers quitting just in March of 2022.The scramble for talent and the pressure to fill critical roles has fallen largely on human resource and recruitment teams. In order to support your internal HR teams in a time of unprecedented demand for talent, your approach should be twofold: strategic, focused on internal processes and the division of responsibilities within your organization, and the other tactical, honing in on the tools and resources you leverage to hire.
Implementing a Streamlined Hiring Process
The easiest thing you can do to improve hiring is to remove the friction within your overall process. Although long-term job openings are becoming increasingly more common, they are often not due to shortcomings from HR departments, but rather a slow-down in the hiring process on the business side. Cut out unnecessary interviews, speed up the feedback process and keep candidates well-informed of their standing in the process. With such a high demand for labor, you can safely assume that candidates are interviewing with several companies. A laborious interview process or lack of communication reflects poorly on your company and candidates won’t wait forever to be notified. When hiring managers wait too long to funnel candidates through the interview process, the burden falls on HR to find new candidates for those roles, extending the hiring process and adding to HR’s workload.
Another easy win is to search for internal candidates before asking HR for external candidates. Considering current employees for open positions has benefits on multiple fronts. Internal candidates are already vetted and well-known, shortening the time needed to fill a job. Giving employees opportunities to level up their career will also signal to others that your company is a place for them to grow and expand professionally, and the more junior roles they leave open by moving up internally will likely be easier for HR to fill.
Leveraging Hiring Tools
Make sure your technology isn’t making their HR’s job harder. Automated resume screening tools, video interview tools, job description-matching tools and other hiring technology are often purchased with an intention to reduce HR’s workload. Yet, these tools often reject qualified candidates for simple reasons—i.e., they don’t match every single requirement for a job, the tool is unable to read their resume, the school they went to or the language they chose to describe their responsibilities is unrecognizable by the tool, and more.
Technology tools are imperfect, and only as unbiased as the data they were trained on. A tool may reject a veteran returning from tour or a new parent returning from a maternity break simply because it was never taught how to evaluate a resume that looked like theirs. Ensure you’re vetting the candidates rejected within each level of your screening process to make sure qualified candidates aren’t slipping through the cracks. This is also a good opportunity to ensure your technology isn’t exhibiting bias and disproportionately rejecting candidates from certain backgrounds.
Fostering an Equitable and Inclusive Environment
An increasingly large issue in 2022, especially given the competition for talent, is that the burden of making good on CEOs’ promises about diversity and equity initiatives often falls on HR. Rethink the division of responsibility within your organization, and ensure that equity and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. Let the whole organization own that burden. Encourage leaders to attend diversity-focused conferences and events, to reach out to vendors who work with underrepresented groups and encourage diverse referrals from employees. The burden of finding and engaging talent, addressing bias in the interview process and improving diversity metrics cannot fall exclusively on HR. Often, well-intentioned diversity programs, like mandating diverse candidates for every job, results in practices that set diverse candidates back in the hiring process—as seen in the recent report in the New York Times that diverse candidates were being interviewed at Wells Fargo after the job had already been offered to someone else. A top-down approach, with leadership taking large responsibility for diversity, will help affect more change.
Lastly, lean on other resources when you can and where it’s appropriate. If you’re hiring for niche skills or high-demand roles, lean on external vendors and recruitment agencies who specialize in your area of need. There are countless vendors in the recruitment space who specialize in hiring different skill sets and leadership levels. Leveraging one of these can help ease HR’s workload for difficult roles.
Hiring is difficult right now, that is a fact. Yet, there are strategies that companies can implement to share the burden and make the process easier for business leaders and for candidates. Remember, keeping an open line of communication between HR and hiring managers is critical for both getting through this hiring climate and realizing long-term success.