10 Tactics for Weathering the Talent Shortage Storm

  By Jason Hayes  |    Tuesday October 26, 2021

Category: Expert Advice, Productivity, Recruiting


Between rising turnover rates and ongoing talent shortages, recruiters are experiencing a perfect storm. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million Americans left their jobs in August 2021, which is the highest monthly number of voluntary “quits” recorded in nearly 21 years. At the same time, iHire’s 2021 State of Online Recruiting Report showed that 73.9% of employers are struggling to attract qualified candidates, while 77.0% anticipate this challenge continuing throughout the coming year. 

The market is full of potential job seekers (unemployment sits at 4.8%), so how can recruiting pros convince these candidates to join their teams and stick around long-term? With a new year on the horizon, it’s an opportune time to test out new recruitment strategies, adjust your hiring practices, and revisit your benefits and incentives. To appeal to the modern candidate and compete for top talent heading into 2022, start with these 10 tactics: 

  1. Think beyond “traditional” full-time roles. With more job seekers desiring workplace flexibility, consider offering part-time, consulting, freelance, or “gig” positions to draw in great applicants who may be turned off by the 9 to 5, 5-day workweek grind. Plus, employees will be more likely to stay aboard if they can strike a healthy work/life balance with a role that fits their scheduling needs. 
  2. Call out remote or hybrid work options. 47.8% of job seekers surveyed in iHire’s 2021 What Candidates Want Report said it’s “very important” or “important” to find jobs that allow them to work from home. If your business offers remote or hybrid work (time split in and out of the office), highlight those options in your job postings to capture today’s candidates’ attention.  
  3. Look to your pipeline. Remember that really impressive “runner-up” who narrowly missed out to your eventual hire? That candidate may still be interested in joining your team (and even actively searching for a job). Reach out to previous applicants in your talent pipeline – your new hire could be right under your nose. 
  4. Promote or hire from within. Especially for senior-level and hard-to-fill roles, determine if you can promote a current employee or move someone laterally from a related position. Then, backfill lower-level jobs left behind (which are often easier to fill anyway).   
  5. Ask for referrals. The odds are that your employees know someone who could be an excellent fit for your job. Ask around to see who your team can recommend. This not only saves you the time of sifting through applications, but also improves retention rates – studies show that referrals stay 70% longer than candidates sourced through resumes. 
  6. Ensure competitive pay. Let’s face it: Money talks. And, if a candidate has been out of work for a while or is departing a low-paying job, they will look closely at compensation before accepting a new role. Prior to advertising a salary range or making an offer, research average wages in your location for specific career titles, and align your offerings with the market’s rate. If you can’t meet the industry standard, consider how your benefits and total compensation package can make up for monetary shortcomings. That leads us to the next tactic…
  7. Revisit your benefits and incentives. Today’s job seekers want more than simply medical and dental insurance in their benefits package. Entice candidates by offering something unique that’s hard to find elsewhere. For example, reimbursement for home office equipment, gym memberships, generous PTO, and sign-on cash bonuses might lure (and retain) the right new hire.
  8. Communicate with applicants. Want to set yourself apart from your competition? Give applicants timely and adequate feedback – don’t leave them hanging in the hiring process or “ghost” them. Let candidates know when they are out of the running for a position and set expectations by providing them with a glimpse of your hiring timeline. 
  9. Don’t drag your feet. In this labor market, candidates are applying to multiple jobs and enjoying having a say in which opportunities they choose to pursue. When a qualified applicant enters your talent pool, move fast. Include prescreening questions in your application to cut down on time needed for phone screens, and use video or virtual interviews for easier (and faster) scheduling. 
  10. Try industry-focused job boards. General, all-encompassing job boards cast a wide net, but industry-specific platforms target highly qualified talent with deep roots in a particular sector. Not only does this approach cut out the noise of irrelevant resumes, but it also leads you to candidates who don’t use some of the more generic boards. As a result, you’ll tap into new talent streams and spend less time reviewing unqualified applications.

With a job market as unpredictable as the weather, recruitment and retention practices that worked years or even months ago may not fare as well today. Reaching the right talent – before your competition – requires exploring tactics outside your typical hiring toolbox. Whether you implement one or all 10 of these tips, you'll head into the new year with a little less turbulence. 


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