shift happens UN001

Transforming Talent Acquisition in the New Reality

From retail to restaurant—new realities are transforming talent acquisition trends in various industries. What can you do to strengthen your talent strategy?

The economy is in an unprecedented place in the middle of an incredibly tight labor market and a mass exodus of employees from their current roles. A recent study conducted among over 700 adults by the American Staffing Association found that “80% expect to seek new jobs in the new year”. Crain’s cited that some organizations are preparing to increase entry level hiring by up to 50%. Additionally, 52% of US workers are expected to be seeking career changes with households in the $50k-75k income range mostly likely to explore a switch. This massive turnover event has been dubbed it “the Great Resignation”.

The factors that have led to this environment are complex including pandemic-related career changes, fear of getting sick when returning to work, desire for more life flexibility, lack of childcare and family support options, and temporary federal benefits to name a few. Further, competition in the market is stiff. With big players like Amazon paying up to $17/hr for warehouse roles and other retailers and restaurants like Costco, Target, Walmart, and Chipotle paying their hourly new hires $15/hr, many are reconsidering their career paths. Simply put, over the next 12-24 months a big volume of job seekers looking for a fresh start and higher pay will be seeking new opportunities in the job market, transforming talent acquisition strategy again. 

This means HR teams must prepare for a surge of applicants in the coming months, one where candidates will have a renewed sense of purpose and expectations about where and why they work. At the same time, many of the traditional challenges of the pre-COVID era will be revived: identify, hire, and retain the best available talent quickly while delivering an even more positive and engaging candidate experience. Combined, this makes for a perfect storm to drive talent acquisition costs up. 

To take on these challenges and be ready to compete for the best talent in 2021 and beyond, now is the time to reactivate and upgrade your talent acquisition strategy—even if you are not in a position to hire right away. Some questions you should be asking as you begin to prepare include:

  • Can the current processes sustain a high volume of applicants and give us the data to make good and fair hiring decisions?
  • Will ALL candidates (both selected and unselected) be left with a positive impression of the organization?
  • Are we assessing for the right set of skills, capabilities, and experience to support the new reality of our business?

HR teams must prepare for a surge of applicants in the coming months, one where candidates will have a renewed sense of purpose and expectations about where and why they work.

The questions above may have you asking yourself: how can I transform my talent acquisition strategy to attract and impress candidates and improve my ability to select those that are most likely to perform, stay, and thrive? These 5 strategies can help you stand out in the market to attract and hire the best talent: 

  • Audit and streamline your selection process: Identify any current lags in candidate communication or internal inefficiencies and work to tighten those to minimize time to hire.
  • Put your best foot forward: Partner with your marketing team to make your selection process impactful. Consider incorporating social media, making your application process more interactive and engaging, incorporating video, framing your process to align with the current social and economic context, and personalization through automated, dynamic communication and feedback.
  • Improve your job postings: Job descriptions are often generic and outdated. This makes it hard for candidates to picture what it is like to work for you, decreases your ability to attract the most qualified talent, and increases the likelihood that the wrong people will apply. Again, take the lead from marketing: use keywords to make your roles easy for the best talent to find, and use posting as an opportunity to show candidates why they should want to work for your company.
  • Allow candidates to put their best foot forward with job-focused, predictive measures: Selection processes that allow applicants to highlight their qualifications by performing job relevant tasks and assessments are perceived more fairly by candidates and help recruiters make better hiring decisions. As you revamp talent acquisition processes, minimize less predictive components like screenings and unstructured interviews and tighten other inefficiencies as described above. Include only the most relevant predictors of job performance like job-focused assessments—short, targeted measures that include engaging and job-relevant content—and behavioral interviews to maximize predictiveness and reduce time to hire.
  • Appreciate their time by providing value: A great candidate experience will leave a candidate feeling positive about your organization whether you hire them or not. Too often candidates spend a significant amount of time applying for a job and never hear anything back. This creates feelings of resentment toward the organization which can impact brand loyalty, likelihood to apply for another role, and likelihood that others in that candidate’s network will apply. Providing feedback to candidates decreases resentment by 30%. Consider ways to automatically incorporate feedback to candidates about next steps, timelines, and highlights from what they have shared with you.

As the world copes with post-COVID realities and millions of Americans quit their jobs, the world of work will never be the same. HR teams who revamp their selection process to take a marketing approach and maximize speed, efficiency, predictiveness, and candidate experience will stand out to the new breed of job seeker and enable organizations to succeed in the new post-COVID business environment.

To learn more about transforming your talent acquisition process to be prepared to attract and impress candidates and select those that are most likely to perform, please get in touch with us.

headshot erin crask


Erin Lazarus

Erin Lazarus is a people science enthusiast and Industrial-Organizational Psychology leader focused on building teams that provide the opportunity for every person to work at their highest point of contribution. She leads teams to design powerful candidate and employee experiences that allow organizations to harness the power of their people. Her teams partner with business leaders using science and data to enhance people strategy in areas including employee selection, workplace assessment, organizational culture, employee engagement, performance management, succession planning, and leadership development. At SHL, Erin consults with clients to transform productivity through deeper people insight.

Explore SHL’s Wide Range of Solutions

With our platform of pre-configured talent acquisition and talent management solutions, maximize the potential of your company’s greatest asset—your people.

See Our Solutions