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Why is it so damn tough to hire?

By Simon on

Why is it so dam tough to hire?

First off, you’re not alone. We can’t think of any firm that isn’t struggling to hire, even the brightest brands are finding it tough. Do not feel hard done by if you can’t find the most apt people – the hirer and candidate, are at loggerheads. 

On the one side, companies lament the lack of qualified candidates and see potential hires going to the highest bidder, and some disappearing into thin air. On the other side, candidates complain about jobs being too narrow or specific, and processes taking way too long. Some want hybrid, some want remote, and others are happy to be office based. It’s very hard to please everyone.   

Some candidates are also looking for over-inflated salaries, and to be blunt, are out of sync with market rates and the budgets of some firms.

The list is endless and put the unstable economy on top, no wonder there’s a boatload of issues.

What the devil can we do?

There’s a lot but these are the most important to avoid hiring headaches.  

Firstly, get the basics right. Your job is an ad and needs to work as an ad, not an endless list of what you want. The power is in the hand of the candidate so give them the concise information they need. Don’t be vague, highlight the career path on offer and keep it concise. It needs to make a candidate feel your opportunity is way better than where they presently reside. You can turn it upside down and start with what you can offer.   

At all costs, the job description should not be boring (most are) and needs to highlight the company values, culture, or beliefs, as well as the key elements of the role. It can make a huge difference. Companies that get a bit more creative with a JD, win way more many battles.    We’ve found job descriptions that excite people keep them free of jargon and unnecessary info and focus more on recognition, autonomy, culture, and prospects.

Long and complex job descriptions can put people off and in a tight market – you want it to win people over. Firms expect the best CVs and most apt applications, so it must work both ways. Make it sound interesting and diverse and show how they can best perform their role and display their skills and expertise. 

Keeping the application process as simple as possible is our biggest tip. Do not ask potential candidates to jump through lots of hoops before they even apply. When there’s a skills shortage and job seekers have endless options, your application process must be much more streamlined.

No matter how you dress it up, salary is always going to be a key factor. Be upfront about it, although we understand, everyone can’t. It’s hard to compete if a similar business is open and offering a substantially better wage. If you want commitment from day one – don’t scrimp on salary. Pay what the job is worth and not based on someone’s previous/current salary. Savvy people know their worth and so should you. Buy cheap, buy twice, as the adage goes.  

Don’t take forever – every single ‘credible’ person you meet will have other options and they will not wait for you to make up your mind. Therefore, put a decisive person in the hiring seat and keep the process fluid. We have not seen a market move this quickly in over 10 years, as quickly as candidates start to look for a new role they are snapped up within a matter of weeks.  You need to match the pace of the market and the needs of candidates. We advise our clients to be flexible, offering video or telephone calls as 1st stage interviews (so people don’t need to book an annual leave) and not waiting for comparisons. If all goes well, move to a face-to-face, quickly. It is a candidate-driven market and if you like the candidate and know they can do the job – hire them. 

If your company is a big advocate of employee work-life balance, consider whether you can facilitate benefits like hybrid/remote work, job-sharing or 4-day working weeks. This puts your company in good standing to compete for a shrinking workforce. It’s amazing how much softer benefits can swing people your way.

The salary issues.

To put it bluntly, the more you want from your new employee, the more you will have to pay. Candidates that bring broad knowledge will not come cheap. You won’t get free internet, electricity, and gas on your next house purchase and the same applies to your next hire.

In our previous insights, we had seen market salaries remain sensible and people were being swayed by softer benefits. Unfortunately, this is currently not the case.

The upturn in demand for skilled marketers gathered further momentum in 2022 and in the early part of this year, with overall vacancies rising and rising. The growth of demand for people has hit new heights and it does not show any signs of abating. A sharp rebound in demand for people and a notable fall in the supply of skilled marketers has led to increases in starting salaries. Starting salaries have risen due to increased competition for scarce workers. Sensible candidates are mindful of the market but are evaluating all elements of a role, and those companies offering salaries commensurate with their skillsets and sticking to the upper limit of their salary bands do attract people.

People aren’t cold, unfeeling machines so if you want to hire the best, keep it the least hassle as possible, and get them emotionally immersed in your work and brand.