When Recruiting Takes Longer and Costs More, Leaders Must Alter Their Approach

“Permacrisis,” Collins Dictionary’s 2022 word of the year, is defined as “an extended period of instability and insecurity” and captures what many business leaders are feeling given the still-high inflation rate, rising interest rates to combat inflation, and forecasts of a recession in 2023. And it definitely describes the current state of recruitment.

So how are you going to prevent failing at arguably the most important thing you do: attract and retain the talent you need to grow?

Finding strategic recruitment solutions is one of the top concerns of the 2,500 participants in TalenTrust’s ongoing survey of midmarket business leaders about their challenges and struggles. After 3 years of surveys in some of the worst of times, TalenTrust compiled the results of the data to date. Although we weren’t surprised to see recruitment as an issue, we were startled by the actual numbers.

Hiring and retaining people with the right skills and fit for your workplace community is the most critical factor in reaching your company’s full potential. Yet only 16% of our survey participants said they can attract and retain the right talent to grow their business in a timely manner. And if they do find the right people, they said it takes longer and costs more than it should. A shocking 84% reported that their recruitment initiatives are either unsatisfactory or failing.

Why the Rising Costs?

Surging costs and extended time frames are interrelated when it comes to recruitment. COVID and recovery from it have resulted in a perfect storm of factors contributing to increasing recruiting costs. The major factors are:

  • Virtually every industry is struggling to find skilled talent at the same time, increasing competition and the cost of competing.
  • Candidates, rather than employers, now own the catbird seat, empowering jobseekers to increase their demands, including higher pay.
  • Rampant inflation is directly increasing costs across the board and particularly the price of advertising.

As hard costs rise with inflation and other factors, “soft” costs on the people side lengthen the time it takes to win qualified candidates. This could mean hiring managers have to spend more time interviewing candidates, recruiters have to put more time and resources into selling your employer brand, or time and productivity will be lost from ghosting and positions will go unfilled. All these factors significantly add to overall recruitment delays and added costs.

Keys to Competing for, Winning, and Keeping the Talent You Need

While it’s true the costs of recruitment are skyrocketing, that’s not why most organizations are failing in their efforts to win top talent. Employers can reduce their costs by freeing themselves from outdated thinking and practices to become jobseekers’ first choice.

If you still “post and pray” with ads to attract candidates, develop a marketing and sales mindset, and build a pipeline of candidates. If you don’t have an employee referral program, make developing a generous one a priority. If your culture isn’t based on purpose, values, and work/life balance, ask what your employees want, listen, and hear what they say, and redesign your employee experience to fit today’s needs and desires.

Strategic recruitment means you must continuously innovate your recruiting best practices. When you do what it takes to create a workplace where people want to be, you develop a recruiting strategy that makes you more competitive, reduce the need to advertise, and help eliminate ghosting and quiet quitting while saving significant time and cost.

Everything about work has changed over the past few years, including employee expectations, but too many employers haven’t accepted that they need to change along with the times. Recruitment will remain a challenge, but it need not be a permacrisis.

Kathleen Quinn Votaw ( is the CEO of TalenTrust, a strategic recruiting and human capital consulting firm. She is the author of two books, DARE to CARE IN THE WORKPLACE: A Guide to the New Way We Work and Solve The People Puzzle: How High-Growth Companies Attract & Retain Top Talent. Her company’s 2023 solutions e-book details research and solutions based on TalenTrust’s survey of over 2,500 executives of middle-market companies on their talent and culture strategies. Regarded as a key disruptor in her industry, Quinn Votaw has helped thousands of companies across multiple industries develop purpose-based, inclusive communities that inspire employees to come to work. Her company has been recognized in the Inc. 5000, and she also speaks nationally on retention, recruitment, culture, and leading with empathy in the workplace.

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