It’s been a time of great volatility in the job market. In the talent acquisition space, we’ve seen a fascinating evolution over the past few years. Due to the pandemic, we initially experienced the Great Resignation: employees resigned or reshuffled their jobs and priorities. More recently, we’ve seen the Great Hesitation: employers are in a hiring freeze, and they hesitate to let go of underperformers and quiet quitters.
Employers spent a great amount of money on recruiting and retention during the Great Resignation. Holding on tightly, employers eventually lost their grip, and massive layoffs resulted, impacting high-performing, engaged employees.
While there have been vast advancements in recruiting technology, we should approach the interview process as compassionate humans. As recruiters, candidates and hiring managers, this is a time for us all to work together for a better future. But how? We can support each other in many ways.
- If a candidate is not a fit for a role to which they’ve applied:
- Proactively share some feedback to help them do better in their next interview. Let them know how they can improve their resume and interviewing skills.
- Make sure you get back to the candidate in a timely manner. Calendar it as a task. It just takes a few minutes, but it can make a world of difference for the candidate.
- If a candidate responds to your outreach, be sure to respond even if you filled the role. Let them know and ask to stay connected in case another role opens.
- Follow up with your hiring manager by setting up regular touch-base points to get feedback.
- If a position closes or has been filled, try to inform all the other applicants. Most applicant tracking systems allow for bulk email notifications. It only takes a few minutes, but candidates will invariably appreciate your efforts.
- There are going to be some disgruntled candidates who have been jaded by previous recruiters. This is your chance to stand out, and to be professional and compassionate. Dispel the negative stereotype of recruiters.
- If you decide not to pursue a great candidate, refer the candidate to your fellow recruiters. Aim to refer more candidates than are referred back to you.
- Focus on interviewing quality candidates, as opposed to meeting your key performance indicator. You may be under pressure to meet a number, but if you make the hire, your manager should be focused on quality, and not looking at the quantity of candidates you interview. Trust in the craft.
- While job searching can be daunting, your options have opened up with more remote opportunities.
- Get a good support system in place with friends, colleagues and family. If you know a good recruiter, they can often be your sounding board through the process. Looking for a job and interviewing can be an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes it can cause imposter syndrome, so you need a caring team that will encourage you.
- Looking for a job can be a full-time job. Give yourself breaks, go for walks or workout, eat well, stay hydrated, and get restful sleep.
- When a recruiter or hiring manager asks you to introduce yourself, be prepared to provide a 30-60 second elevator pitch. Remember the interview is about YOU, so you’ll have time to share your other achievements and experience later in the interview.
- During the interview:
- Know your audience and the role for which you’re applying.
- Highlight your relevant experience.
- Communicate your value.
- Promote an achievement.
- Share why this role and the company are a fit for you.
- Show your passion!
- If, after interviewing, you accept another opportunity, let your recruiters know, especially if you’re further along in the interview process. This helps them find other candidates, and they will remember your courtesy.
- Most recruiters have good intentions, but unfortunately there are those that still treat candidates like a number. Remember that all recruiters are not the same!
- While most interviews are via video or phone, treat the actual meetings as if they are in person. Be on time and present during your interview, dress professionally, and make sure you do not have any distractions.
- Research the company and the person interviewing you. It will help you make a connection with the person.
- Start networking! If you see a role in which you’re interested and qualified, connect with the job poster on LinkedIn, and send a quick note. Even if you don’t get an interview, you’re expanding your network.
- Use a spreadsheet to track the positions for which you apply. Recruiters often hear from candidates that they’ve applied to many positions, and that they don’t recall applying at the company and role for which they’re interviewing.
- Don’t sell yourself short. If there is a role for which you are 75-80% qualified, you should still apply. The opposite can be true as well. If you truly don’t qualify, please don’t apply. It’s not worth your time, and you can focus on a better fit.
- If you’re switching careers, connect with others in that field, and ask if they’re open to mentoring you, or if they have any tips. Most people are flattered, and are happy to help. Again, you are expanding your network.
- As a hiring manager, each prospective candidate could potentially be reporting to you. Be a mentor, and be encouraging during the interview. If they are not a fit, try to connect with them and compliment one of their accomplishments without being misleading. Job interviewing can be emotionally draining, and just a simple compliment may make the candidate feel more confident through their journey.
- Be an active listener. While you may have back-to-back meetings or interviews, focus on the candidate that took the time to apply and has prepared to meet with you. You may be in the same situation at another time. They will remember your kind gesture.
- Provide your recruiter timely and specific feedback so they can navigate the search and provide feedback to the candidate. Provide tips on where the gaps are and suggestions on how the candidate can close the gap, like getting training or certifications.
- If you sense a candidate is nervous, keep in mind they may not have interviewed in years, and they want to make a good impression. Break the ice. And remember that YOU are often their first impression of your company.
These are interesting times in the job market, but things are actually changing for the better. There are more ways than ever to find the perfect role, and the people responsible for filling those roles are constantly improving, with new tools to streamline and refine the process. It’s important that while we need to take advantage of advancements in recruiting/ technology, we also have to remember that there are human beings behind their computers. I’m very excited for the future of the recruiting industry. Leading the talent acquisition team at a company that already cares about their employees (Infracore), I promise to do my part!