HR leaders have always been masters at navigating uncertainty, but the challenges of the last several years have kept even seasoned HR veterans on their toes. The rapidly changing workplace landscape and advances in AI technology have ushered in a wave of innovation—but also further complexity—for hiring managers. Operating in today’s business environment will continue to require HR leaders to be nimble and adaptable.
Here are my top five tips for smarter, more effective hiring in 2024 and beyond:
1. Know your hiring goals.
Are you looking to bring on more diverse candidates? Do you need to scale up a team or department rapidly? Companies of all sizes benefit immensely by outlining hiring goals at the onset of the year. Aligning these goals with the broader leadership team to ensure you’re properly resourced will set you up for success. Hiring needs will change with staff turnover throughout the year, but having a plan in place will empower you to pull levers on the factors within your control.
A recruitment marketing plan to support your hiring goals is vital. If you already had one in place for the prior year, now’s the time to see what worked and adapt accordingly for 2024. If you don’t already have a recruitment marketing plan, put that at the top of your to-do list for 2024. By proactively informing your talent audience about the value of your company and teams, you’ll cultivate a pipeline of invested, prime candidates that align with your hiring goals.
2. Combine job search and branding.
Today, top candidates expect to learn about your organization’s story before applying. By introducing your company values and what it’s like to work with you, you’ll improve your chances of attracting the best-fit applicants. Ensure your employer brand story is coming through clearly, consistently, and compellingly across the key touchpoints candidates encounter when exploring a career at your company.
Is it time for a refresh of your own company career page? Career pages are a doorway to your employer brand. Yet, these are often an afterthought on a company’s website, filled with stock photos, boilerplate company information and text-heavy job descriptions. Career pages that clearly outline the company’s vision and impact, including authentic team photos, video testimonials and details about the company culture, will empower a more informed and engaged talent pipeline that will convert in less time.
3. Fish in a small pond where the most suitable candidates will be.
It’s tempting to simply post your job descriptions to the broadest audience and sift through applicants to cherry-pick those you’ll advance to the next stage, but that can be time-consuming and inefficient. If you’ve outlined your hiring goals at the onset, you can be more surgical and strategic about your recruitment efforts to attract high-quality, not just high quantity. Niche job boards, which provide job postings for specific professions or fields or that cater to specific demographics, are great options.
It’s also essential to consider the changing dynamics of the workforce and how that’s impacting job search. Gen Z, who will overtake Boomers in the US workplace in 2024, is increasingly looking to social media platforms like TikTok for job opportunities and career advice. Hiring managers will need to meet and engage with the next generation of talent where they are, so consider making social media engagement part of your hiring playbook.
4. Refine your candidate experience.
The average time-to-hire hit an all-time high in 2023 at 44 days. With remote and hybrid workforces here to stay, the traditional in-person candidate interview round-robins are long gone. It’s time to re-evaluate your candidate experience for a distributed tech-enabled world. Think like a U/X (user experience) researcher and walk through the various steps in your process—Is your job description clear and not overly cumbersome? Is the application process as concise as possible? How many virtual interviews will take place? Will there be an in-office visit? Will there be an assessment? When are you looking to have the role filled? Depending on whether the role is remote, hybrid or in-office, you may have vastly different candidate experiences.
It’s vital to communicate with candidates upfront about the steps involved to avoid surprises during the interview process. This will help set expectations and keep top talent engaged during all the recruitment activities.
5. Adopt a data-driven approach, but be careful with AI.
The widespread adoption of analytics and data-driven decision-making in HR is extending to hiring managers. And while quality-of-hire is always the ultimate goal of recruiting teams, the demand for speed and cost-effectiveness has put pressure on recruiting managers to embed AI tools in their hiring practices. This should be done with great care. While AI can create efficiencies in the search and application process, human connections are still required to attract and evaluate the best candidates for organizational teams. Making quick hires at a low cost is easily negated when the wrong candidate is hired. Entire teams can be impacted, compounding the poor result. By tracking all key performance metrics for your team, you can reduce talent acquisition costs and speed up time-to-hire while making the right decisions for your organization.
Heather Tenuto is the CEO of The Muse and Fairygodboss. With a successful track record of over 18 years in sales, marketing, HR and education leadership at tech-focused companies, she strongly believes in the power of connecting people with the right careers.