Loosen Up—You’ll Find More Candidates that Way!

We get it, finding great workers these days is a struggle for many talent acquisition professionals—which is why some employers are now loosening their requirements to appeal to a wider talent pool. Don’t believe me? Then consider these findings from a new Adecco USA report.


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Adecco USA, a workforce solutions company, found that 37% of employers have loosened job requirements in order to recruit talent, and 72% of these companies have done so within the last year. The data, taken from a recent Adecco survey, also reveal some of the ways these employers have loosened up, which include:

  • Lowering the required years of experience (62%),
  • Reducing education requirements (50%),
  • Speeding up the hiring process (52%),
  • Stopping drug testing candidates (21%), and
  • Stopping background checks (16%).

According to the survey, all decision-makers state it is hardest to find workers with the desired experience (59%); the right hard skills, such as specific tech certifications (57%); and the desired level of education (30%).

Nearly half (49%) of companies that loosened or plan to loosen their requirements did so or will do so because they are unable to find enough qualified candidates. Of those that are planning to loosen requirements, 47% hope to see a larger pool of qualified candidates for each position by loosening hiring requirements.

Many workers now see on-the-job training as a benefit to working at a company, so it should come as no surprise that employers are becoming lax on the “education” and “years of experience” requirements. Not to mention, today’s skills are generally only good for about 5 years, so you’ll have to eventually retrain these workers anyway.

Temporary Work Leads to New Skill Sets

Employers are beginning to understand this, which is why 78% of companies have started to consider applicants with transferable skill sets. The Adecco study also found that one in three decision-makers (35%) would be likely to hire a temporary worker with a criminal conviction in his or her past if the individual’s skill set applies to the job.

Additional research, released by Accountemps, also shows that more employers are willing to hire temporary workers in order to help fill the void. While the Accountemps research doesn’t go into the criminal conviction aspect of hiring temp workers, it does address the fact that hiring temp workers has gained popularity.

According to Accountemps, 53% of employers surveyed also said they are more open to hiring interim workers to bridge gaps while looking for a full-time employee than they were 2 years ago. Additionally, 71% of senior managers from across a variety of industries say they consider a long period of consistent temporary work comparable to a full-time job when evaluating candidates.

Other Strategies to Get Talent in the Door

More than a third of employers have experienced candidates taking job offers from one of their competitors, forcing companies to think outside the box when offering positions. While some employers are loosening up their hiring requirements, others are turning to flexible benefits in order to attract talent. Going back to the Adecco survey, 70% of companies are offering flexible schedules to candidates in order to attract them.

The majority (62%) are offering more shift options to attract and retain workers. Other popular approaches include giving employees the option to select their own shift schedule (39%), increasing the number of personal days given to employees (38%), and offering the option to work remotely (33%).

Additionally, Adecco found that a speedy hiring process also yields favorable results. One-third (33%) of respondents reported they decided to loosen requirements because they noticed they were losing job candidates to competitors, and nearly half said they weren’t able to fill open positions quickly enough.

“The shelf life of a candidate can shrink from days to 24 hours,” says Amy Glaser, Senior Vice President of Adecco USA. “If a company requires background checks, drug screening and three interviews, the candidate is going to walk down the street and get a job somewhere else. It is imperative companies get candidates in the door—and through interview processes—quickly.”

Common issues respondents of the survey noted during the hiring process include candidates leaving the hiring process in favor of “gig” or freelance work (32%), candidates who stop returning calls/e-mails during the hiring process (44%), and candidates who realize the role is not a great fit during the interview process (41%).

Since loosening requirements, half of companies that were interviewed said hiring candidates became a faster process; most said it became moderately to much faster (90%). Additionally, 35% of these companies said they conduct fewer steps to hire candidates. This includes requiring fewer interviews and removing background checks, among other methods.

If you’ve become desperate to fill the void, try loosening up! You may be surprised at the number of high-quality candidates who end up applying to your company.

Want to learn more about how you can overcome the talent shortage in your company? Join Elaine Orler for the RecruitCon session, Overcoming Talent Shortages: 5 Places to Invest Resources for Optimal Results, on November 14-15, 2019. RecruitCon will be held in conjunction with the larger HR World event in Nashville, Tennesee. Click here to learn more or to register today!

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