3 Current Recruitment Challenges and Ways to Counteract Them

by Tim Plamondon

recruiting trends

After a full year of COVID-19, people are beginning to get vaccinated and businesses in various states are beginning to reopen. With 10 million people still unemployed, one would think that the labor market is an employer market. But despite COVID-19 upending the lives of millions of people, it also has provided many different job and career options for job seekers. Therefore, COVID-19 has created a candidate-driven labor market. 

Before the pandemic, a war for talent raged while the unemployment rates hit a historical low. Particular trends impacting the recruitment of talent happened. And now with this new environment, new challenges are affecting the recruitment of talent. 

In the RPO Leadership Forum webinar, Top 3 Recruiting-Related Trends in 2021, three thought leaders in the Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) space discuss three trends challenging recruitment right now.  Michele Krier, Senior Vice President at ClearEdge Marketing; Cory Kruse, President at Orion Talent; and Eric Gregg, CEO at ClearlyRated talked about the current trends taxing recruitment and addressed ways to counteract their effect. 

The three current recruitment challenges now are the great talent swap(1), the lack of focus on basic recruiting metrics(2), and the age of service transparency(3).

These challenges in recruitment have reached HR and Talent Acquisition(TA) departments and RPO providers. 

Get Ahead of the Recruiting Trends in 2021

Challenge #1: The Great Talent Swap

Michele Krier started the webinar by discussing what the renowned HR Consultant, Laurie Ruettimann calls the great talent swap. The great talent swap describes where people have been content to just have a job during COVID, but as different jobs open up, they will start to leave their current jobs for new ones. 

Why is the great talent swap happening?

From Krier's perspective, the great talent swap is happening because COVID-19 has given candidates increased job options, and changed the way work and recruiting gets done. Krier observed, "Companies who never entertained the idea of employees working remotely prior to March 2020 were in essence forced into that option."  COVID-19 ushered in companies relying on remote work. This reliance on remote work has allowed companies to recruit talent from anywhere in the world.  "And conversely, job seekers will have many more options. If job location is no longer a factor," Krier added.  

On the one hand, COVID-19 has disrupted the employment market, but on the other hand; job seekers are seeing increased job options. And those new options "has caused people to reevaluate what they want do with their lives, and with their careers," Krier said. According to Krier, the great talent swap doesn't necessarily mean leaving one job for another job. With the advent of the ability to work from anywhere in the world, people "could be leaving their job and joining the Peace Corps or moving to a small island somewhere," Krier noted. COVID certainly has been unsettling, but it has also opened the eyes of many workers to new possibilities of work and career. 

How HR and Talent Acquisition Professionals Can Counteract the Great Talent Swap?

What can HR and TA professionals do to counteract the great talent swap? Krier recommends analyzing your employer brand and your employee value proposition (EVP). There are some questions she said that you should ask of your employer brand and EVP. Those questions are: 

  •   Does it demonstrate an emotional connection to your employees?
  •   Is diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) woven into your EVP?

Krier noted that many employees, especially millennials are looking for employers who make progress, not just pledges on initiatives such as DEI. In fact, she said that one Deloitte study found that almost 80% of young millennials say they'd be more motivated and committed at work, if they felt their employer made a positive impact on society. That's going to have a big impact on recruiting and on talent acquisition and retaining talent this year

Empathy will matter in your recruiting. Krier said "EVPs that hinge on empathy and actions will be the ones that candidates flocked to." She went on to say that your employer brand messaging will need to: 

  •   Connect on an emotional level with your employees and candidates.
  •   Be tailored to those different audiences as well.  

Krier concluded her remarks emphasizing that clearly communicating what your brand stands for through the lens of your employees, and the values and beliefs that define how the brand behaves is really, really critical. This year more than ever before. "Because it's the emotional connection to a brand, and the regular communication of that brand message through things such as social media posts for example, that will encourage current employees to stay will attract new talent," she added. 

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Challenge #2: The Lack of Basic Recruitment Metrics

Cory Kruse described the next trend, the need to focus on basic recruitment metrics, from an RPO provider perspective. Kruse sees that most companies are forward-thinking when they need to be text-enabled, align their employee value proposition with their social strategy, and implement new recruiting technologies. However, he has noticed that when HR and TA leaders are asked questions about basic recruitment metrics such as throughput ratios, sourcing rate quality, internal satisfactory ratings, and net promoter scores, they don't have a ready answer. 

As Kruse sees things, RPO providers are in a position to help companies focus on recruiting basics. Kruse said that recruiting basics start with employee engagement. To him, employee engagement means a company's EVP in their message is very consistent with the experience that potential employees would go through when they're looking at the client company. Recruiting basics also include determining the company's internal influencers who are a help or a hindrance. Kruse also pointed out that companies should understand whether their environment is collaborative, cooperative, or competitive. 

What Does This Mean for RPO Providers?

Kruse is happy that companies are forwarding thinking, but that forward-thinking can hinder their success in recruiting and retaining talent. He outlined a number of things RPOs need to do to keep companies focused on recruitment basics. Kruse pointed out that RPOs need to:

  •   Make sure they're helping clients move forward, and they're moving forward with their clients.
  •   Listen to the signals so they're not stepping ahead.
  •   Adapt with their clients.
  •   Be the experts culminating the data and the information across all of our client base, across the industry base.
  •   Put the best team on the field to deliver for their client.
  •   Reverse engineer a solution into their desired outcome, and that RPOs execute on that in.

How RPOs Can Help HR and TA Leaders Focus on Recruitment Metrics

Kruse said that RPOs need a plan that governs the engagement with their clients and focuses on things that drive high yield to the outcome. To Kruse, employee engagement and prepping "a candidate from the day you've talked to them to 120 days after they start to be successful" should be the targeted outcome.  Kruse emphasized, "Any good RPO provider should have a solid methodology that allows scoping with target outcomes." This kind of plan Kruse says, "Allows for the companies to work together to put together KPI measurements, KPI performances, or risk mitigation plans, or a spend plan." 

When the RPO provider--and its client--are working together like that, the results are full transparency, and the companies both drive value to engagement and compliance. As a result, the client gains strategic value. 

Challenge #3 The Age of Service Transparency

Eric Gregg talked about the ascent of the age of service transparency. The age of service transparency means that "it's no longer enough to say things that we do," Gregg said. "We have to show people through our actions and also through amplifying the voices of the people that are there already, to be able to take action on that and the same thing goes for the RPOs."

Gregg pointed out that 2020 showed all of us that there are many things that are out of our control. And in 2021 people trying to de-risk the chaotic environment are spurring on the age of service transparency.  This de-risking approach is taking place in decisions about taking on outsourcing partners. Gregg noted that the research group Corporate Executive Board did research on how people buy business services. The research showed that the group size for people that are deciding on an outsourcing partner is bigger than it was 10 years ago. Gregg said that the group size of decision-makers matters because as the size of the group influencing those decisions gets larger, the willingness to take risks in the decision-making decreases.

How Can Recruiting Professionals and RPOs De-Risk Outsourcing Decisions?

Whether a company is recruiting talent or whether an RPO is trying to add new clients, recruiting professionals and RPO providers need to de-risk that decision. Service transparency helps reduce the amount of risk brought into the decision of a potential candidate and a potential client. Gregg points out that service transparency gives voice to a company that wants to tell its story of engaging either a new client or potential talent. 

One last thing that Gregg pointed out was that online reviews of employees on job boards or customer testimonials on websites do a better job at eliminating risk in a candidate's and potential client's decision making than awards such as "Best Work Place 2019," or "Best in Class RPO 2019." He concluded by saying, "it's really actually more about the input that goes into that work and your ability to actually see that transparently within the marketplace." 

We are still navigating through challenging times in the recruitment space. Whether your company is looking for talent or you're an RPO provider looking to add to your client base, the burden doesn't need to be that heavy.

We invite you to join this discussion and others like it. Our hope is that this webinar will help you understand all the strategies that will help your organization counteract the challenges impacting your recruitment efforts. 


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