Hiring in 2022 is complicated.
OK, that’s an understatement. Hiring in 2022 is hard, especially if your industry is still experiencing a shortage of available talent.
While recent jobs reports have highlighted workforce rebounds, they skew the story. As any HR rep operating in the professional services, health care or software space (to name a few) can tell you, candidate scarcity remains a real and persistent issue.
The good news? Your hiring teams are not powerless. You can still hire the right candidates for your most pivotal roles, with an appropriately agile approach.
Here are three ways you can mitigate—or at least minimize—the impact of a shallow talent pool.
1. Align your hiring team on candidate behaviors
Too often, companies still focus on a person’s resume and skills, overlooking a key predictor of success: the behaviors required to thrive in a role.
But while skills can be taught and experienced gained, behaviors aren’t easily learned or changed. And behaviors have a big impact: a person’s behavior can predict their job performance in almost any role.
You can shorten the time-to-hire curve by flipping that script—but only if everyone is involved. Huddle your hiring team—from phone screen to onboarding—around the core behavioral traits you deem essential to success in your open roles. Maybe you need a hard-charging innovator to lead a scaling sales team. Or perhaps you need a detail-oriented project manager to bring process and order to your marketing efforts.
Align on the most important behaviors, and whittle your candidate pool accordingly.
2. Write job descriptions that reflect the ideal behaviors
We’ve all seen them—or we’re even guilty of writing them: stale, boilerplate job ads that do little to differentiate your open role (or your company) from any other.
In 2022, the best candidates have more leverage than ever. They can cherry pick the recruiters and employers they engage with and they may start selecting opportunities based on whose ads are most enticing.
In a hyper-competitive candidate market, your job descriptions are core to the candidate experience. And like a smooth interview process, a sleek, succinct job description can become a competitive advantage. Think of it as an extension of your organization’s image and branding and write accordingly.
If that organizational identity includes a focus on behavioral data, all the better. Highlight the behaviors that an ideal candidate should possess. You might be surprised to find more candidates come knocking, because you’ve opened the door by looking beyond the resume and in turn, made your hiring process stand out.
3. Emphasize growth and development—at every stage
Most HR and People Ops professionals know well by now: Attracting top talent is about more than making the best offer. Increasingly, the most sought-after candidates can parlay their leverage in unprecedented ways. Perks and sweeteners often take on non-traditional or less tangible forms.
One way you can address that demand is by emphasizing development opportunities as they relate to both the role and the company. Candidates want to feel valued and like they belong. When fielding multiple offers, they’re willing to bypass a company whose values and mission don’t align with their own.
You can play to that desire for belonging without compromising your organizational identity: Promote professional development stipends or reimbursements your employees are entitled to; talk about the team they’ll be joining; and above all else, prioritize a people strategy. What do we mean by a people strategy?
A people strategy is a systematized approach to ensuring high retention and competitive hiring. That could mean flexible work hours, unlimited paid time off, or an employee-choice workplace option—it all depends on your employees’ needs. But no matter what the specifics, one thing is clear: Companies who put their people strategy on a level with their business strategy are winning these talent battles more often.
It’s within your power to address a candidate shortage. But you have to be willing to adapt and above all else, be real—both about what candidates want and what you can offer.