Recruiters Are Jumping Ship: How to Get the Best of Your Recruiting Talent Without Burning Them Out

The Great Resignation that has been roiling the talent market and making work more challenging for recruiters is now starting to affect the recruiters themselves. Right now, there are more open recruiter roles listed on LinkedIn than there are for software engineers. Additionally, reports show that recruiters are 115% more likely than the average worker to explore a new job opportunity.  

What is driving this trend? Let’s take a closer look at the root causes and see how organizations can compete for top talent. 

retain top recruiters

Recruiters Are In-Demand … And They Know It! 

One factor in the rising number of open positions is that recruiters are more in-demand than ever before. With a land grab to hire top talent in the era of the Great Resignation, recruiters are hailed as the superheroes of their companies. Recruiters have their finger on the pulse of the talent market, and just like any other group of sought-after professionals, recruiters are seizing the opportunity to look for new jobs with better compensation and better working conditions. 

‘Too Much’ Work Can Be a Bad Thing

However, one unfortunate side effect of being in demand is that recruiters are experiencing higher levels of burnout. They’re also facing higher expectations at work, intense pressure, longer recruitment processes, and stiffer competition to close new hires. As the Great Resignation has made it harder to retain talent, it’s also made life more challenging for recruiters. 

In an atmosphere with this much churn and uncertainty, something’s got to give; some recruiters are leaving for more independent roles, while others are quitting the workforce altogether to prioritize caring for loved ones or even to protect their mental health.  

More Recruiters Are Going Independent 

Another trend we’ve seen during the pandemic and Great Resignation has been a significant increase in entrepreneurship and new business formation. Just like other high-earning professionals whose skills and expertise are in high demand, more recruiters than ever are quitting their corporate jobs to join the independent workforce. 

With their skills in high demand; the widespread ability to work from anywhere; and low-cost, easy-to-use online tools for productivity and collaboration, recruiters are at the perfect spot to launch their own businesses as independent consultants.  

There are a few big reasons recruiters are pivoting toward career independence in this current environment: 

  • Recruiting is an ideal fit for project-based contract work. Much of the nature and rhythm of in-house recruitment roles can also be done in an independent contractor or consultant role. If people feel like their day job has become too hectic or the pay too low, they might be tempted to try independent consultant work and make more money while working fewer hours. 
  • Online tools and software platforms make entrepreneurship easy. The rise in entrepreneurship that we’ve seen during the pandemic has coincided with ever-wider adoption of free (or cheap!) online business software and collaboration tools. If you’re already spending most of your time on Zoom calls at your day job, why not replicate those efforts in a business of your own? 
  • Working from home is never going away. Millions of office workers love the freedom and flexibility of working from home. If you’re trying to drag your employees back to the office, don’t be shocked when top talent decides to jump ship to keep working remotely.  

But with the right approach, you can stay ahead of the growing trend toward recruiters becoming independent consultants. 

3 Ways to Retain Top Recruiters 

Companies can gain a competitive edge when hiring and retaining top recruiters and HR talent but need to keep a few key principles in mind: 

  • Give people support. People are dealing with mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and burnout, and this is especially true for HR and recruitment professionals, who have had to navigate 2-plus years of overwhelming uncertainty. Make sure your company culture really walks the walk on supporting people’s well-being. Are you having mandatory “unplug” days or “meeting-free Fridays”? Are you checking in with your team not just to assess productivity but also to see how they’re doing as people? Recruiters notice and care; they know which organizations have a culture focused on well-being and which ones just talk about it. 
  • Give people flexibility. People are dealing with childcare challenges, aging loved ones who need care, and all kinds of personal challenges that might require a few midweek appointments or early afternoons when they can’t be reached by e-mail or Slack. Make sure people truly have a flexible schedule. 
  • Let people be entrepreneurial within your organization. Are you really rewarding your recruiters for delivering exceptional results, or is your compensation model lagging what they could earn as independent consultants? Keep in mind that your best recruiters might be tempted to start their own firm (or join a colleague) for more freedom and the possibility of more income, so make sure your organization can compete.   

The Great Resignation is providing an opportunity to reimagine how our organizations work and how we can help everyone feel better, more rewarded, and more fulfilled in their jobs. Recruiters have had a challenging, action-packed few years, and competing for HR and recruiter talent will require an adaptation of talent management strategies. Keeping recruiters feeling engaged, energized, well paid, and well cared for by your company culture is the key. 

Khaled Hussein is the CEO and Co-Founder of Betterleap. Khaled Hussein’s impressive entrepreneurial journey started when he launched Tilt, a social network for money backed by innovators from Y Combinator to Andreesen Horowitz to Alex Ohanian. After selling Tilt to Airbnb, Hussein went on to found Stipple, a venture studio for incubating and investing in early-stage start-ups. Next, after ongoing firsthand experiences with the shortcomings of traditional recruiting, Hussein founded Betterleap to connect companies with more talent in less time. Hussein is an active investor in over 40 start-ups and a trusted resource, mentor, and advisor to many. Follow him on Twitter.

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