The Top Hiring Challenges of 2022 (and How to Solve Them)

If you’re struggling to hire qualified candidates, you’re not alone: 90% of businesses that are hiring are facing recruiting challenges.

The good news is that more people are returning to work. The unemployment rate that peaked at nearly 15% in April of 2020 has declined to under 4%. Yet companies — especially small businesses — are still struggling to fill open positions: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently pointed out there were 1.7-plus job openings for every unemployed person.

A lot of our clients are wondering: What’s going on? Where are the people? How can we get the top talent we need in this superheated job market?

This is an unprecedented job market. In our 40-plus years of combined experience, we’ve learned that you have to be agile. The talent is out there, but you may need to rethink your hiring strategy to get it.

Keep reading to understand why demand for talent is historically high, and what you can do to ensure you attract and retain the best candidates. 

Where are the people?

There have been a lot of changes in the labor market over the past few years. Labor needs have changed, causing a skills gap. A lack of robust childcare infrastructure has prevented many parents/caregivers from returning to work — especially women, which explains why women are down nearly 1.5 million jobs since February 2020. For the first time on record, the working age population isn’t growing. And at the same time, millions of baby boomers have retired in the last couple of years.

Let’s talk about the baby boomers, as this is one of the biggest challenges we’re seeing a lot of our clients face. “The Great Resignation” is in full swing — and has been since 2020. Last year, almost 48 million workers quit their jobs, an annual record. Where this becomes especially problematic is that many of these professionals are/were high-level executives or managers. Replacing someone with 25-plus years of experience and company knowledge is virtually impossible.

If your expectations haven’t changed since 2019, it’s time for a reality check.

In today’s job market, here’s the reality: you’re not going to get a lot of candidates.

If you’re replacing a retiree with decades of experience and in-depth company knowledge, know that you’re not going to get that. You’re probably going to get someone with fewer skills, less experience, and higher salary requirements.

Right now, job seekers have the upper hand. They want higher pay and a flexible work environment (remote/hybrid options). And if they aren’t getting it from you, they’ll get it from someone else.

We’re finding amazing candidates for our clients, but there are fewer of them. Adjust your expectations and be flexible with your replacements. Especially when you’re replacing a retiree, as there will probably be a longer training period to get your new hire up to speed.

How to attract top talent in today’s competitive market

Demand for workers isn’t likely to decrease any time soon. If you’ve been waiting for this hot job market to cool down so you can get back to “business as usual,” you’re going to be left behind. Now is the time to evaluate and streamline your hiring process and operations, making changes that will make you more attractive to job candidates.

Here are five key tips to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success so that you can get the talent you need, when you need it.

1. Move faster

If your hiring process hasn’t changed in two or three years, you’re probably moving too slowly. We evaluate companies’ hiring processes and often find opportunities to streamline that have been holding them back. Often we find there are unnecessary steps that are only in place because it’s how it’s always been done. It can take an outsider’s perspective to see the big picture.

Lengthy applications, tests, and drawn out interview processes can deter candidates from applying or moving forward. By the time you have your ducks in a row, they’re ready to start their first day with your competitor. If you hesitate, they’re gone.

Ensure that your process is efficient. Be decisive, and be upfront about compensation, expectations, and company culture so you don’t waste your time or your candidate’s time if it’s not a good fit.

2. Embrace a hybrid working model

The pandemic has created a shift in values. People want more flexibility and a better work-life balance. They are tired of burning both ends of the stick, and now that many have had a taste of work-from-home life, they aren’t willing to completely part with it.

According to Gallup research, employees who are required to work fully on-site but would prefer a hybrid or remote model, they experience significantly:

  • Lower engagement
  • Lower wellbeing
  • Higher intent to leave
  • Higher levels of burnout

The bottom line: Embracing a hybrid model will attract more candidates, and will help improve your retention, too.

3. Define your culture and values

Oftentimes the hiring process is slowed down simply because hiring managers dive in only to realize they don’t really know what they want. If you clearly define your culture and values upfront, and then incorporate them into a quick interview process, you’ll have a smoother process for both you and your job candidates that results in better hires.

4. Focus on your brand

Candidates have more information at their fingertips than ever before. They want to know what it’s like to work for you, and they can read pages of testimonies from disgruntled former employees on websites like Glassdoor. If you’re not being proactive about managing your employer brand, you may be unknowingly deterring talent.

5. Pay more

If the candidates you want keep slipping through the cracks, that’s a sure sign you’re not offering what they can command. If you’re not willing to up the salary, then consider making the role more entry-level and adjust your expectations accordingly.

For the first time in a generation, job seekers have the advantage. If you want to attract and retain the best talent, you’re going to have to give them what they want — or they’ll find it somewhere else.

Want expert help reviewing your hiring process?

We’ve connected industry-leading businesses with the talent that will impact their organizations in the most positive ways. We know what works, what doesn’t, and what’s changed. Whether your hiring process needs a complete transformation, or just some refinement, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about our consulting services.

Like what you're reading?

Subscribe today for insightful posts delivered via email. We respect your privacy and won't spam your inbox.

If you are ready for a unique search firm that makes you the priority, let’s start building a relationship today.