Why your talent pipeline is more important than ever before

Despite the concerns of a recession, successful organizations continue to recruit. That’s not only because good people are hard to find, but also because, regardless of micro trends such as the Great Resignation, there will still be too few people to fill open jobs.

“The birth rate in the U.S. has declined by half between 1952 and 2022,” says Dave Fechter, Vice President of Business Development and Operations at Action Management Services. “At the same time, Baby Boomers are retiring and companies haven’t been able to backfill enough to replace them. Short-term economic factors might slow hiring, but there will be a constant need for people.”

Savvy employers have a strategy to keep their talent pipeline continually filled. Companies that aren’t positioning themselves to replenish their ranks and build their bench strength will face potentially critical talent shortages that will put them at a competitive disadvantage.

Smart Business spoke with Fechter about how companies should think about their talent recruitment strategy in light of concerning demographic changes.

What is the state of recruitment?

Many privately owned middle-market companies are not slowing down their hiring, despite potentially recessionary conditions; they’re hiring, replacing people, and not laying anyone off. Some big companies that over-hired to keep up with the unique conditions of the past couple years are laying off, but savvy middle-market companies have a talent plan that they continue to execute moving forward.

Companies are in a battle for talent. That’s in part because essentially half of all open jobs could be taken off the market and there still wouldn’t be enough people fill the jobs that remain — there are more than two open jobs for every unemployed person in the U.S., and that’s not expected to change anytime soon. Companies need to be proactive and build their bench strength by continuing to recruit. Job candidates are increasingly fickle. New strategies are required to get one in the door. Slowing the recruitment process down because of shorter-term factors puts a company’s long-term future in jeopardy.

What adjustments should be considered?

Companies should look at both their recruitment processes as well as their personnel and determine if their strategy is producing the needed results. For example, a middle-market company may need someone on staff who is dedicated to human capital while also giving HR responsibilities for career development in addition to their role of administering broader policies. Many companies have made such a strategic hire as they’ve made recruitment a bigger priority. And those that made such changes in response to the demands of the past two years should keep those in place despite the changing economic conditions.

It’s also prudent to evaluate the hiring process and identify where candidates are lost. One common fix is to shorten the process — candidates will check out if there are too many steps or if the touchpoints are not frequent enough.

How can companies compete for more fickle talent?

Make sure the process isn’t just qualifying candidates. Not long ago, the interview process was more about candidates proving their experiences and skillsets were best for the job. While that’s still important, companies should also use this process to sell themselves as an employer of choice, pitching quality of life, unique work arrangements, etc.
Candidates have many more opportunities now because there are more available jobs. And the broad adoption and normalization of remote work means candidates don’t need to be close to an employer to work for them, something that’s opened up more even more opportunities for candidates.

The COVID experience has people prioritizing their time and fulfillment more than before. Employers need to adjust their processes to appeal to the best candidates, and that means constant recruitment, even when there are no open positions, to keep the talent pipeline full.

There may be uncertainty, but there’s no question about hiring needs. Companies need to be better, different and proactive, or they’ll lose choice candidates to those that are. ●

INSIGHTS Recruiting is brought to you by Action Management Services

Dave Fechter

Vice President of Business Development and Operations


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