Hiring Top Talent in a Growing Economy

The economy is getting better, which means for many industries, hiring top talent is going to become increasingly difficult.

In February of 2016 alone, the US economy added 242,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained stable at an eight-year low of 4.9 percent – half of what it was during the peak of the recession. While dropping unemployment signals a strengthening economy, for employers, greater challenges in the hiring process are likely what a growing economy means for hiring top talent.

With the job landscape slowly shifting in the favor of the employee once again, hiring managers are left with a fraction of the candidate volume they experienced just a few short years ago. Additionally, these applicants are demanding better employment offers, making the challenge of filling vacant spots that much more complex.

However, when the applicant pool is drying and the candidates are more demanding, companies with large populations of workers do not need to completely forego quality candidates in the name of quantity. When effective hiring measures are set in place, there are a few different methods organizations can employ to contend with a job landscape in which employees have more options and more economic freedom.

To Get the Quality of Hire You Want, Know Exactly Why You’re Hiring

Determine why it is your organization needs to add additional staff. Do you need more representatives in the office to handle a higher volume of customer interactions? If so, this is a good problem to have, because it indicates your business is growing. However, if the problem is that too many of your current employees are heading for the door, it means your company is having issues with attrition and employee retention.

If your organization is indeed experiencing increased rates of attrition, it may be worth taking a second look at why your high performers are leaving. Now more than ever, it’s incredibly important to keep your best workers around by keeping them engaged and ensuring they feel valued.

Since the average cost of hiring a new employee can be upwards of 16 percent of the annual salary for the position for low-wage workers, it benefits companies to look into core causes of attrition rather than cough up $3,328 in lost resources and revenue for an employee earning $10/hour who decides to quit.

Examining the underlying causes of attrition can help organizations take steps to create a culture that does attract top talent and stymie turnover by improving job fit in the hiring process.

Pay Attention to Your Recruiting Channel ROI During the Pre-Hire Process

Dr. John Sullivan notes high-volume recruiting requires an entirely different set of strategies than traditional recruiting, and is far more similar to retail promotion and mass marketing. Similar to marketing, tracking candidates from each recruiting source allows organizations to evaluate each specific channel and draw conclusions regarding whether or not is worth investing in. From LinkedIn job posts to your company website, integrating the most fruitful recruiting resources (i.e., social media and online job boards) with your organization’s applicant tracking system allows you to assess each channel’s effectiveness and determine with which channels recruiters should be spending the most time when high-volume hiring is the top priority

As an example, in previous posts we have discussed using social media recruiting as a talent acquisition effort as well, and the merits of viewing your social media presence as something of a sales funnel that can help drive top talent to your business. However, FurstPerson research has demonstrated that in environments comprised largely of low-wage or hourly employees, like the contact center industry, social media channels are not as significant a resource of quality candidates as referrals.

In other words, it is prudent to investigate just how much time and money recruiters should spend on social media channels, as word of mouth among employees still plays a huge role in the number of high-potential candidates who cross your threshold.

When Hiring Top Talent, Don’t Sacrifice Selectivity for Speed

The time and energy it takes to bring new employees on board simply isn’t as meaningful when companies do not have the data necessary to determine if a candidate is a good fit for her position from the outset. Knowing what abilities, behaviors, and skills are required for success in a position as well as how to measure those competencies in both incumbents and candidates alike allows recruiting teams to streamline the hiring process by identifying high-potential workers quickly.

For example, research conducted by FurstPerson in a contact center organization demonstrates that having a talent acquisition process that is selective enough to hire the top 50% of candidates rather than the top 75% results in a 30% average new hire performance improvement.

The Results of Using Pre-Hire Assessments to Select Candidates

When a company’s goal is to hire candidates who achieve results and stay for an extended period of time, talent selection tools like pre-hire assessments provide a quick way to determine whether or not specific applicants have the abilities, behaviors, and skills necessary to succeed.

It may not be completely realistic to expect the same volume of quality candidates today as perhaps there were in 2009, however using in-person interviews alone or arbitrarily selecting workers simply to fill seats – without a structured hiring process – can have disastrous results for morale, productivity, and revenue.

Though it can feel difficult to secure candidates when there are fewer applicants to choose from, adopting an “always-on” hiring approach is one effective way to contend with the ebbs and flows of the shifting employment landscape. This approach allows organizations a greater amount of time to choose candidates – even in the midst of a dry spell – than other, as-needed recruiting approaches.