A wave of new graduates and those affected by COVID layoffs, combined with companies in hiring freezes or slow playing their hiring cycles, equals a flooded talent market. Great news for companies who are still hiring, right? Maybe not. Although counterintuitive, the flooded market can actually make finding A players and unicorns harder, a slew of less-attractive applicants obscuring the candidate pool recruiters and hiring managers need to sift through. We’ve compiled a few tips for dealing with an overabundance of qualified, and not-so-qualified, candidates, whether you’re actively hiring or not.
1. Leverage reference checks
Reference checks are so valuable, if used properly. Too many recruiters and hiring managers approach reference checks as one more step to cross off their to-do list. If the person is agreeing to be a reference, they’re only going to say nice things, right? Maybe not.
Good recruiters and hiring managers know how to ask great questions, listening to the way feedback is being given and noticing what’s not being said. I may think someone is a phenomenal candidate, but that doesn’t mean they’re phenomenal for that particular role. Check your network for shared connections too. Get a sense of what people who aren’t on a candidate’s official reference list say about them.
2. Check your biases
We all have biases, many of them subconscious. When filtering through candidates, it’s helpful to challenge your usual approach. Are you passing on the lengthy resume because you’re interpreting it to mean they’re an older candidate? Are you skipping the creative resume because you’re assuming they’re less straightforward and analytical?
The best teams are based on 2D diversity. Right now is the perfect time to take a close look at candidates who aren’t usually available and who may not fit your usual hiring profile.
3. Make an investment
Post-pandemic success is going to rely on having team-members that up-level your company, who are thinking about new ways to get things done and are excited to give it a try. Those unicorn employees are hard to come by and aren’t cheap, but their ROI can be incalculable.
Whether you’re in market or not, look for chances to make people investments that will help the company succeed. If you are making an offer to a great candidate, don’t try to “get a deal”. The job market will eventually swing the other way and those unicorns will remember how you treated them during the hiring process.
Hidden in these challenging times are opportunities to start new adventures, to build out teams that will help position your organization for success in a post-pandemic world.