Hiring Is Hard...

Hiring is hard…

I say this as a 3-time founder who has hired 1,000+ people over the course of 20 years. During this time, I’ve found a never-ending challenge with building great teams…it’s attracting, hiring, and maintaining the right talent.

Over the years, I’ve seen talent acquisition teams perfect the “attracting” part of the process, however, these same teams still face challenges when it comes to “hiring”. Why? Because the best candidates can get lost in the hiring process for all the wrong reasons…speed, biases, poor candidate experience, etc.

My first successful company faced a very similar challenge in a different part of the business. When we launched Maxymiser, a marketing platform focused on customer experience optimization, the vast majority of marketers were wholly focused on attracting “traffic” (yes that’s what they called people back then!) to their websites. We helped them convert that “traffic'' into actual customers.

We can see similarities with hiring today. Sure, you can attract talent, but are you converting the best talent to employees that are ultimately going to help your company grow and succeed?

Oddly enough, it feels like we’re helping to solve a very similar problem 20 years later, but this time, there’s a much bigger impact across the entire organization.

Why has hiring become so hard?

I could list out many different reasons on why hiring has become so hard, but here are the top three that I believe are making the biggest impact across organizations.

1.) Historically, companies have underinvested in their people compared to other areas of the business. I wrote a letter to talent acquisition that highlights how your CEO doesn’t care about hiring the best people.

2.) There’s been a major shift in the world with work-from-home, BLM, and the war for talent. These shifts have been huge stressors on talent acquisition teams. As with any change, they have also given rise to new opportunities that only the most strategic companies are taking advantage of right now to secure the best talent.

3.) More and more candidates are dropping out of the talent acquisition journey. According to Aptitude Research, 25% of candidates are dropping off at the interview stage (see below). Companies are investing in recruitment marketing to convert leads to apply, but then this investment is being wasted on a poor interview process. 

The Changing Role of Talent Acquisition

Because hiring has become so hard and because there’s been such a shift in how we hire, it’s inevitable that the role of talent acquisition has to change and evolve. With this, different skills are used more by talent acquisition leaders. Here’s my thoughts on the four new skills that talent acquisition leaders need to lean on for successful change going forward…

1.) Data-Driven
Time to fill, candidate acceptance rate, number of diverse hires, etc. There’s more data in the people function than ever before, and talent acquisition leaders need to be able to use the power of data analytics to make better hiring decisions. Work out what the important metrics are for your business, measure them, focus on them, ignore others, and put initiatives in place that will force change for the better.

2.) Storytelling
The majority of talent acquisition leaders have faced challenges in measuring their department’s impact and communicating that success story to company leaders. And going back to the data point above, data-driven storytelling is one powerful way to show how talent acquisition contributes to business success. Provide company leaders with true stories that bring the data to life…stories that highlight the substantial differences talent acquisition has made to the business. For example, you could highlight that by lessening the number of interviews by 30% while hiring Account Executives, you gave back "X" number of hours for the team to be in front of customers.

3.) Adaptability
Talent acquisition leaders have been tested over the past few years…and we didn’t get much warning on how quickly we’d need to adapt. Being adaptable means thinking differently and changing with the times. It also means that we have to unlearn some of our old ways because if we keep taking our old practices forward, we’ll never progress.

4.) Technology-Minded
A strong command of technology is essential for virtually all of today’s professionals, and talent acquisition is no exception. While talent acquisition doesn’t need to be an IT expert, being open to learning about the new array of tools and systems available will help you do your work more effectively and achieve your goals faster. Ignoring the advancements in technology will make it harder to compete for the best talent. When it feels like there is too much to handle, map out your ideal tech stack based on everything you know, prioritize, and then add and subtract as you learn more.

Coming back to the original point…hiring is hard. However, it doesn’t have to be. The transitions talent acquisition teams are going through now have been seen before in other areas of the organization. Please feel free to DM me with your thoughts and if I can be of help in your journey.

Mark Simpson

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