4 Tips for Winning the Talent Game

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In any job market, talent can come and go in the blink of an eye. This is especially true today.

Six years after the recession began, the economy and the job market continue to inch towards recovery at a glacial pace. However, while the general unemployment rate hovers above 7 percent, the unemployment rate for college graduates with a bachelor’s degree or above is less than 4 percent. The gap between college educated professionals and those without high school degrees is even more profound, as the unemployment rate for the latter segment is 12.7 percent. The competition for well-educated, well-prepared professionals is fierce (a function of supply and demand), and the opportunity to hire them is fleeting.

In fact, in many industries, there is only one active job seeker for every three available positions. This shortage of skilled workers plagues companies across all industries: including healthcare, professional services, manufacturing, and others.

Qualified candidates don’t stay on the market very long

While it is clearly advantageous for businesses to remain nimble and proactive in the pursuit of the best available talent, not all companies do. This is a function of the widely held belief that a lengthy hiring process is beneficial because it provides enough time to compare candidates and to be absolutely certain that the best person is hired.

Though, there is merit to this train of thought, it overlooks the very basic fact that hiring needs to occur in order to fill a business requirement. By delaying a decision, whether out of prudence or policy, companies fail to address their business requirements promptly.

Why is finding top talent so challenging?

Our latest infographic highlighting the challenges of small businesses sheds the light on just a few of the hardships that small business owners face when getting to their hiring needs:

  • 27% of small businesses simply do not have the ability to offer competitive salaries and benefits
  • 18% of small businesses are niche, and have difficulty navigating the widening skills gap
  • 10% of small businesses have little to no time to dedicate to recruiting and managing interviews
  • 5% of small businesses just don’t know where to look or go to for talent

In their haste, to hire, hiring mistakes are costly and end up hurting the company in the long run.

Infographic Source: Adecco Survey – Small Business Challenges

What all of this means is that just as there is a business reason to fill a position, there is a business benefit to filling that position quickly, too.

  • A drawn-out hiring and on-boarding process costs time and money that is, quite simply, too valuable to waste, particularly in today’s tight economy.
  • For every day that a position goes unfilled, a business requirement goes unaddressed and the company loses money.
  • Every minute spent on a drawn-out hiring process costs time and money that could be better spent elsewhere.

But, don’t over do it, making a bad hire can cost you, your company and your bottom-line, time and money.

Speed up your hiring process cautiously and effectively

More often than not, the strength and stability of a workforce is critical in determining the success or failure of a company — and this is especially true during the early stages of the interview process. Given the influence employees can have on a company’s fate, investing in them — literally and figuratively — is one of the smartest moves a business can make.

Be more selective

In our experience, we’ve seen that the most time-consuming part of the interview process is often first-round interviews. Too many companies bring in anywhere from five to 10 people for an interview despite only being impressed by three to five resumes. By trusting your gut during the resume review period, you’ll eliminate hours of wasted time spent interviewing unqualified candidates.

Think ahead

Many companies only ask for references after extending an offer to a candidate. Even if it only takes a day or two for the candidate to provide contact information, and another day or two to get in touch with the references, that still adds up to several days of wasted time, as well as several days in lost productivity and administrative wages. A better approach is to require references from all candidates during the first round of interviews and to conduct reference calls after the second round of interviews. By conducting interviews before extending an offer, you’ll be able to make more informed — and more timely — hiring decisions.

Ask for help

Whether you’re a smaller company with a limited HR staff or a large global organization looking to fill multiple positions, delays in the hiring process are inevitable. But with a little help, they’re also avoidable. By bringing in a staffing company as a consultant, you can significantly streamline your screening, hiring and on-boarding processes. Though a staffing agency, like Adecco, costs money, the time and administrative expenses that you will reduce, not to mention the quality improvements that you will realize, will make it well worth it.

Keep your HR Department on track

Perhaps the biggest benefit to speeding up the hiring process is that doing so allows HR departments to spend more time and attention on retaining valuable current employees than on recruiting new ones. It’s easy to forget that retention and talent management are just as important to HR as recruitment, especially because recruiting takes up so much time. As the economy — and the competition for qualified, skilled workers — intensifies, it is imperative for companies to keep their “eyes on the prize” and ensure top talent is satisfied and engaged, so as not to risk losing those valuable employees.

More for managers:

It’s often said that the most valuable asset any company has is its people, and we couldn’t agree more. Getting high-performing people hired and ready to work as soon as possible is a critical factor in business success — and a key to winning the talent game.

Here are a few links to help you beat the talent game:


Have you been struggling to find the right hires? Explain.

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