The labor market is tight — as every businessperson in the United States knows. A recent Reuters report showed that, even though some sectors have cut positions, there are still two openings for every unemployed person. Another recent article reported that, in a study of talent acquisition leaders, 83% said hiring has risen from a HR-level priority to a business-level one.
Getting the right people in the right positions has never been more important, and it’s maybe never been more difficult.
I’m not saying I have all the solutions. I am a numbers person, though, and I happen to work in the staffing industry. I’ve looked at the costs from a lot of different angles, and I can confirm what most hiring managers already know: Hiring is expensive. Recruitment is costly with the rising cost of job boards and the time it takes a recruiter to identify a quality candidate. Getting a new employee up and running isn’t cheap, not just because of the time a company devotes to training, but because of the start-up costs associated with bringing a new employee on board with pay, payroll taxes and benefits.
Pre-pandemic, the kind of talent that fills call centers or handles customer service was largely seen as a commodity. Companies might use vendors to source candidates and then identify the cheapest possible candidate with the necessary skills or experience. But we don’t live in a pre-pandemic world, and businesses need to change the way they approach this business-critical need.
Hiring needs to be strategic, thoughtful and interactive. And even though I’m biased because my work is all about numbers, I think there’s no more cost-effective way to do that than to partner — like, really partner — with a trusted company that has the expertise and systems in place to identify the right candidates for the right jobs. Some companies, mine included, assume some or all of the costs in getting a new employee on board, from covering all hiring expenses to managing or providing the benefits and payroll that cover a new hire’s compensation package.
This approach can be risky for companies such as mine because we invest a lot up front, and if we don’t match the right candidate to the right opening, we lose that investment. We think of it as a funnel. The funnel starts with a job posting, which we pay to amplify and which reaches a wide range of job seekers. We train and employ professional recruiters who evaluate candidates’ skillsets on paper and then narrow that pool to those we want to screen by phone. Our recruiters then complete a behavioral interview with the most promising candidates. The most qualified candidates are passed on to our clients, working in partnership to conduct strong interviews, background checks, reference calls and credit checks before presenting an offer to a candidate. It’s a partnership, and it’s one that we value and spend a lot of time building.
Picking the right staffing partner company can be a challenge, but here are some tips: Find a partner organization that shares your company’s values. Look for a partner company that works to build trust. A good partner will seek to understand your company’s openings, timing of hires, pain points and the behavioral characteristics you want in an associate. A hiring manager and a good vendor won’t look at labor as a commodity, but rather as a chance to give a great candidate a great opportunity with a great enterprise — ideally with the goal of providing that associate a long-term position that brings growth for both the employee and the company.
Hiring has changed, and that could be a good thing. It isn’t a company’s best interest to think of its people as a commodity anymore. Treating employees like the important business-level priority they are will certainly aid in retention. But on a granular, process-based level, thinking intentionally about the mechanisms of how your company identifies and sources talent could not only bring you a better candidate pool, it will save you money.