By the end of 2022, the labor market was at odds with signs of a slowing economy. As inflation rose, hiring managers enjoyed a promising pool of newly available talent.
Although the stability of the labor market remains uncertain this year, some recruitment teams are preparing for a tightening market. Large corporations continue to lay off workers and implement hiring freezes, very familiar from the recession of 2008. As a result, companies are slowing down talent acquisitions to conserve funds.
On the other hand, unemployment rates are about as low as pre-pandemic rates, which means it’s a good time for recruiting teams to develop recruiting strategies. How can recruiters and recruiting teams prepare for a tighter job market and still be set up for success this year?
Reevaluate your company’s salary structure
Because the job market is currently stable, professionals seeking new employment are in a position to have higher starting salary expectations. In addition, people already employed are looking for higher wages—with average U.S. wage increases projected to reach 4.6% this year, according to SHRM.
Firms need to keep pace with or exceed market averages to better compete with other employers. According to the same SHRM study, insufficient pay is the biggest reason for high turnover rates.
Recruiting teams can compare their salary structures and compensation packages during this time. Salary benchmarking can start by sitting down with your team and reviewing the metrics on which salary increases are being offered. Do incentives and packages still align the company’s core goals with stakeholder needs?
After considering your firm’s goals, leaders can begin to define their competitors in the market. Be as precise as possible in naming and evaluating competing companies to best strategize around reforming your salary structure.
Don’t forget your recent hires
Once recruiters and hiring managers find the right position and onboard new hires, it’s easy to move on to the next hiring objective. Recruiters and hiring managers too often rely on other employees to help new hires fit into the company culture.
But most new hires know within the first six months if they want to stay with the organization. Since retention is as much a concern for recruiters as talent acquisition, managers should focus on recent hires with equal enthusiasm.
Check-in with recent hires will go a long way in retaining talent. Ask new hires what their daily work experience is like. what are they working on? What projects do they hope to work on? Is there anything unexpected the new hires have encountered?
These applications will help recruiters understand what potential candidates are looking for in new employers. And asking these questions will also foster trust in your new and existing employees.
Emphasize DE&I in recruitment practices and recruitment tools
DE&I hiring processes can be complicated for recruiting teams eager, if not desperate, to fill positions when turnover is high. Leaders may be sincere in their plans to promote diversity and inclusion, but face burnout and frustration from employees who have to make amends when someone leaves.
That’s where a tight job market has an advantage: recruiting teams will have the perfect opportunity to focus their DE&I recruiting strategies. Remember that diversity, equality and inclusion are not just about employing diverse groups of people. The real work in a DE&I practice lies in the hiring process. Many firms have already implemented unconscious bias training for their teams.
For example, review all the languages of your interview questions. Are there other questions that might be more effective indicators of qualification? You want to ensure that your existing recruitment processes do not inadvertently exclude qualified candidates who can be employed by DE&I. Recruiters and hiring managers should review job descriptions and postings to ensure inclusivity is at the heart of the mission.
Recruiters should also conduct full audits of employment data, especially when AI tools are churning out hundreds of qualified candidates. Assess when and where underrepresented candidates drop out of the pack and see where you can keep those candidates strong against the competition.
Promote staff training and development
Most leaders know the value of retraining and upskilling, especially for high-potential candidates who are hungry for self-development. Prospective employees want companies that care about career path and growth. The new generation of employees values training opportunities when deciding whether employers match their ambitions.
When talking to potential candidates, recruiting teams should emphasize the training opportunities at their firms. Let new employees know that your company invests in career advancement for all of its employees. Above all, the most desirable candidates want to know that there is room for upward mobility within the company.
And if this is the message you offer to potential talent, the same should be true for your current staff. So how can you help your current teams upskill? Conduct appraisals, not performance reviews, to determine where skill gaps may exist and how your team can fill them.
Talent acquisition teams also need to coordinate learning plans, specifically for themselves. Regardless of limited hiring downtime, it should be spent obtaining certifications and professional development courses so managers can keep up with hiring trends and retention best practices.