When it comes to hiring, the ramifications are obvious: if it takes you a significant amount of time to find a pivotal member of staff, it may take you double or triple that time to recognize any value from that hire. When you’re working at a startup, time is your most expensive commodity. So what can startups do to find that right hire faster?
Over at Talent Works, where I’m the SVP North America, we surveyed 200 senior HR leaders in the US on their experiences in recruiting and employment in 2022 to find out.
In short, the numbers add up to send a clear message to businesses: 2019 thinking isn't going to work in the 2022 employment market, which is the most competitive we've ever seen. I’m excited to dive into our findings and share what you, the entrepreneur or People Ops leader, can do to find the right hire faster.
Speed is everything
As we highlighted, time is your hottest and most valuable commodity in the startup world. However, according to the research, 60% of HR leaders say it takes longer to hire people than the pre-pandemic hiring landscape. Around 50% say it's taking double the time to hire talent compared to 2019, and a further 21% say it's taking triple the time. The leading reason for it taking time to hire (28%) was due to it 'being harder to find quality candidates'. In addition, most HR leaders surveyed believe that delays in hiring are negatively impacting business performance.
In the current recruitment market, it's clear there's a war for top talent. Everything is moving at a mile a minute, and hiring managers want – and need – instant results. There is no room for a blasé approach to recruiting right now. In March, new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a record number of Americans - some 4.5 million - quit their jobs. Job openings are up 7.1%, with 1.9 job openings for every unemployed worker in March.
In 2022, the key to agility lies in getting realistic and strategic about what your internal team is capable of, how fast you can move, and how candidates' and employees' expectations have changed.
The delays companies are seeing in hiring aren't just down to candidates weighing up multiple offers or expecting sky-high salaries. The absence of strong talent acquisition, thought leadership and experience are often an issue, as are gaps that may exist in current hiring processes.
With this in mind, it's time to get realistic; your talent team can't do it all, and one way to support your needs is to consider outsourcing. This means being able to flex quickly. If the question is how do you hire 30 engineers in six months in an impossible market, be realistic - does your team have the resources to do it, or do they need some dedicated outsourced help?
Hire Faster: Employer branding must be a key focus for 2022
Regarding 2022 priorities, the research found that Employer Branding is rated even higher than hiring at speed in terms of HR leaders' priorities. Getting an Employer Brand developed or updated and out to market was identified by respondents as the top priority, with 31% indicating that they would be relaunching or developing their employer brand in 2022, and a further 20% having already done it. Only 12% of HR leaders said they didn't have the time to focus on it.
When it came to brand awareness, just under a third (29%) believed it impacted their ability to hire. However, 42% indicated they don't think they have a strong awareness as an employer or don't measure their brand awareness.
To me, this is reflective of the fact that there's still work to be done when it comes to companies truly understanding the value of Employer Branding. It's 2022, and it's time to understand who you are as a company and own it, particularly if you are hyper-focused on attracting specific talents or skills. However, it's also equally important to go beyond skills and consider the cultural fit and candidate expectations of hires: a good Employer Brand needs to be a combination of the two.
Do you understand your company's cultural brand and corporate identity? According to a 2021 study done by research platform Finances Online, businesses with excellent employer brands receive 50% more qualified applicants. On the flip side, if your Employer Brand isn't reflective of the changing needs of your candidate base, it may hamper your company's efforts to be seen above and beyond the competition.
There are a few essential elements behind every successful Employer Brand. Firstly, employers need to be authentic about the experience they offer to ensure candidates understand the culture and expectations of the company. Secondly, employers must be transparent right from the beginning about their desire to have an in-person or hybrid working model. And thirdly, startups need to make sure they differentiate from competitors when it comes to their Employer Brand: it must be clear what makes your startup special so that candidates can make an informed career choice that aligns with their values - and you’re able to build a rocketship
Entrepreneurs and people ops startup leaders need to get strategic about how they can speed up hiring to accelerate business performance, and as the research indicates, effective Employer Branding is the most widely recognized way of doing this. It's great to see that companies are beginning to think differently in such an oversubscribed market.
If you'd like an open conversation about speeding up hiring or differentiating with your Employer Brand, feel free to get in touch today. I’m excited to chat with you!
About the author: Jody Robie is the SVP of North America at Talent Works, a talent attraction firm focusing specifically on recruiting and employer branding. If you have questions about your current talent strategy feel free to reach out directly to her on LinkedIn.