July 11, 2023

What recruiting can look like without open requisitions

What recruiting can look like without open requisitions

Yoga instructors matching roles in the military? Now's the time to rethink job requirements and hiring processes

In some companies, the number of recruiting and human-resources jobs cut in recent months has numbered in the thousands. All that has made the jobs of workforce-management leaders even harder. Employees are picking up the work of laid-off employees, so they’re more busy, more worried, and even harder to engage and retain. "HR departments continue to be challenged to attract the best and retain talent,” says Alexandria Smith, Chief HR Officer for the City of Memphis.

Wharton Professor Peter Cappelli agrees. “The big worries are that [it’s] still hard to recruit and retain, still hard to deal with cost-cutting pressures.”

But in organizations without a lot of open jobs, what does recruiting look like? Some suggestions for investing your talent-acquisition time:

Examine if you are truly reducing bias, and how you can increase diversity. Our Founder and CEO Sean Hinton often gives the example of an interesting project for a military that was looking to increase gender diversity. We found numerous individuals in jobs as far-flung from the military as "yoga instructor" who fit into a variety of military-service jobs. Many of these individuals were women. By focusing only on skills and not things like past job title, we showed this military branch how it could diversify.

Take on a consultative, advisory role, arming yourself with insights into the business that make you indispensable. One of our customers, a large retailer, used SkyHive to see that a supply chain crisis was coming in 2021 before it even happened. It could see what skills were decreasing, like chip manufacturing and logistics, and what skills were increasing, like Lean Manufacturing (typically meaning low inventories).

Gain competitive intelligence. Use the insights at your disposal to examine how your competitors are increasing (or decreasing) their skill inventories in certain segments of their businesses. You very well may know what your competitors’ product and business plans are before anyone else.  

Glean insights from supply-demand data to help your organization make talent-related decisions. Perhaps, for example, you notice that the supply of a particular skill in the area where your headquarters, warehouse, or satellite office is becoming smaller, and it bolsters the case for more remote hiring.

Build pipelines of talent for jobs that will soon come open. Don't lie to prospects and entice them with job-reqs you're not hiring for; be honest and say that you're looking to see if and when they may be interested in making a move. "Make sure you understand your organization's needs and business direction," says SkyHive's Talent Acquisition Director Gui Maniglia. "Pipeline-building must be prioritized, focusing on the functions and teams that will be most urgent."

Check in on the people you helped hire. Meet with them regularly. Ask what's going well. Ask what's not going well and how you can improve their work/life to help retain them. Meanwhile, ask them who'd make a good prospect for a future hire. Run your recruiting emails by them, or your cold-call scripts, or job ads, and ask them if they think the language or imagery resonates with them and their peers.

Revisit your job requirements. Are you unnecessarily limiting your hiring to people who've worked at certain companies or types of companies, or people in certain locations? Perhaps you are over-relying on resumes and could be hiring more based on skills. Perhaps you are giving short shrift to people with credentials and certifications. Work with hiring managers to revisit your job requirements.

Rethink the way you create job descriptions in the first place. We've worked with companies with about 70,000 employees ... and about 55,000 job descriptions. They've got countless job descriptions all for the same job! Instead, create job descriptions based on the skills the market is demanding, and have those descriptions always stay current as the market changes. (Which all starts with your job architecture.)

Learn more about technology. Futurist/analyst Kevin Wheeler envisions that within about three years, artificial intelligence will be guiding much of the work of recruiters. Recruiters will spend their time making decisions with the help of AI technology; coaching candidates and hiring managers; creating content; taking on consultative roles (like doing things described in this blog post); and improving the candidate experience. Now's a good time to start understanding AI better.

Involve recruiters in the business. According to SkyHive's proprietary data, the skills of a corporate recruiter have about a 78 percent match to those of an inside sales representative.

Review all your processes and documentation. "Talent acquisition teams have been extremely busy filling roles for many years," Maniglia says. "Now that you have some time available, review your processes, looking for opportunities for improvement, and document these processes for all hiring managers, and for the entire company."

Review your KPIs and build new (or update) reporting dashboards. "Just like any department, talent acquisition has tons of metrics and KPIs," Maniglia says. "Collect and present them in an effective way. Use the time you have available to work on this extremely important piece that usually falls behind when we are all busy."

Improve the candidate experience. Are there people in your organizations conducting interviews, who haven't been trained? Do you show your appreciation for candidates, who've juggled and rescheduled their time to interview with you? Do new hires have someone, like a "buddy," who they can contact before they start, with any questions about the organization's norms or culture?

Lastly, if you’re a leader weighing talent-acquisition staff reductions, Robin Erickson, Vice President, Human Capital, at The Conference Board, says to proceed with caution. “What (organizations) don’t realize is that skilled recruiters provide a hidden ROI and laying them off during a recession can negatively affect an organization’s subsequent ability to grow in the upturn given the difficulty and cost of rehiring them or hiring and training them,” she said in our mid-year report. “Also, during a downturn, competitors in the industry may also be wielding the axe and under immense pressure to balance expenses. This is also an ideal time for skilled recruiters to create relationships with a competitor’s top talent.”

Talent acquisition in a time of fewer open reqs is just one of six trends in a mid-year report we recently published. Download that report here for free.

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