3 Ways to Recruit Top Talent in a Challenging Hiring Market

Talent teams are facing myriad challenges: Roles need to be filled, but depending on the industry, budgets and other hiring resources have been cut. Couple this with the fact that it’s still a competitive market, and hiring and recruiters and hiring managers really have their work cut out for them. Here are three key strategies companies can use to successfully recruit top talent amid hiring challenges:

1. Prioritize skills needed for the job, not education and experience requirements alone.

A lack of quality candidates has forced many employers to rethink not just how they’re hiring but also who. Faced with a new set of constraints, many employers are exploring alternatives to their traditional hiring habits. Nearly half (48%) of the leaders surveyed in our 2023 hiring trends report said they’re adopting a skills-first approach to talent acquisition, forgoing educational and past work experience unless it’s actually relevant to the job. In doing so, they’re widening their overall talent pool, increasing the number of qualified candidates they attract, and charting advancement paths for employees based on less biased or fairer, objective data.

Not only have these methods widened the talent pool, but they’ve also raised the quality of that pool by attracting a more diverse workforce. With persistent talent shortages, our survey respondents said they’re now targeting historically overlooked workers by paying more attention to neurodiverse candidates (61%), diverse employees (45%), internal candidates (44%), mature-aged workers (41%), and interns and undergrad workers (32%). In a time when employers are struggling to find quality candidates, fostering a diverse workforce will only benefit them, especially because 50% of candidates want to work for companies with a proven diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) track record and strong DEI initiatives.

2. Turn to technology to automate tedious tasks.

Another way employers are responding to either smaller candidate pools or smaller hiring budgets is by outsourcing tedious hiring tasks to technology. Over 30% of the HR professionals we interviewed said they chose to increase technology budgets in 2022 to improve productivity and allow recruiters to focus on the human side of hiring. This includes virtual interviews (70%), standardized assessments (58%), job-matching technologies (53%), automation (46%), chatbots or text (40%), artificial intelligence (AI) (38%), and game-based assessments (32%).

The #1 reason HR professionals gave for why they’re turning to technology to improve hiring was that it provides a quicker time to hire.

There’s a misconception that technology is replacing human roles. Instead, it’s fulfilling mindless work, boosting employee productivity, and allowing talent teams to focus on the most impactful parts of their job.

From AI to automation to robotic assistance, technology is transforming the modern workplace. It streamlines the most complex workflows and processes and takes on repetitive and time-consuming tasks. And it allows people to communicate no matter where they are in the world.

3. Increase focus on retention of existing employees.

If a lack of qualified candidates is your primary problem, then part of the solution is to stop great employees from leaving. Over the past year, employees have still been voluntarily leaving their jobs at higher-than-usual rates, just as they had in 2021. In fact, 50% of the companies we talked with said resignations were even higher at their company than they had been the year before.

Hiring new employees can be costly—roughly $4,700 per employee, according to Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) data. At a time when budgets are limited and employees are leaving, switching gears to a more comprehensive employee retention strategy is key. To address these issues, many employers refocused their energy on the employees they already had. And instead of looking outward to fill job roles, they started looking inward—48% of the employers we talked to said they have prioritized internal mobility and are implementing strategies to retain employees, like increasing employee compensation (58%), adding employee recognition programs (45%), investing in learning and development (41%), and investing in tuition reimbursement (27%).

Lindsey Zuloaga, PhD, is the Chief Data Scientist at HireVue, managing a team that builds and validates machine learning algorithms to predict job-related outcomes. As an academic researcher with a PhD in applied physics, she’s performed novel experiments and data analysis, resulting in scientific publications with applications in medicine, sensing, and signal processing. Zuloaga started her data science career in the healthcare space, striving to improve the lives of people with chronic health conditions. At HireVue, she works to completely transform traditional interviewing with a platform that focuses on understanding more of the candidate as a whole person, including interview responses, coding abilities, and cognitive skills, as opposed to just the facts shown on a résumé.

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