How talent leaders are adapting to today’s hiring market – and what this means for you

Portrait of confident happy leader

4 mins, 51 secs read time

What does hiring look like at your company today? Ask any two recruiters and you’re likely to get wildly different answers. Some companies are maintaining modest hiring goals in response to economic uncertainty while others are powering full-steam ahead. And in the fast-paced world of talent acquisition, what’s true for your team today may no longer be the case tomorrow.

To help you make sense of these confusing times and take a proactive approach to your talent strategy, Greenhouse recently hosted the “Take control of your hiring” webinar. Ariana Moon, Senior Director of Talent Planning & Acquisition at Greenhouse moderated a discussion between Chuck Hutsell, Director of Global Talent Acquisition at Syndigo, Deanna DeVivo, Director of Talent Acquisition at Luminate and Lauren McNamee, Director of People, Talent and DEIB at Zola. Discover the highlights from their conversation below, or watch the recording, which is now available on demand here.

Recent pivots and priority shifts

Acknowledging the roller coaster of talent acquisition over the past few years, Ariana asked the panelists to share a pivot or priority shift they’ve experienced recently and how they took it on.

During times when hiring wasn’t as fast-paced at Zola, Lauren said she has shifted her focus to other areas of HR: “We’re thinking about how we can inspire, engage and grow the teams we do have since we don’t have a lot of control over bringing new people in.” For example, Zola has focused on revamping the performance review process to ensure that the attributes they’re looking for when hiring align with their expectations for performance. “We’re creating more clarity and consistency,” said Lauren.

Another common response to hiring slowdowns is to build out internal mobility programs. Deanna said that this is a new priority at Luminate, which complements the work they’ve been doing on building out career ladders. “We invested a lot in our employees, building out job laddering to help them understand the journey they’re on. We helped folks understand what transferable skills they can take to another team if they’re not passionate about the role they’re in today.” They’ve also built out a process for facilitating conversations between the candidate, their current manager and their potential future manager so everyone feels comfortable and informed of what’s happening.
“It’s all about avoiding the temptation to get distracted and stay focused on the key things we need to do to maintain that pace,” said Chuck.

Responding to hiring slowdowns

When hiring slows down, there are a number of ways for talent teams to respond. Ariana asked the panelists for their advice on adjusting to a reduced number of open roles or slower pace of hiring.

Deanna recommends using any extra time to streamline your interview process by building out question databases and instilling good hiring habits and accountability on your team. She emphasized the importance of having hiring teams fill out scorecards in a timely fashion so you always have clean and accurate data to work from, sharing her often-repeated catchphrase: “If it’s not in Greenhouse, it didn’t happen.”

Lauren says that any slowdown you experience can be the ideal time to turn to those “dream projects” you might have put on the backburner during busier times. This might include revisiting your career page, expanding your DEIB strategy or revamping your employer branding. But she also says it’s important to plan for a future when hiring is on the upswing again. “One thing to be mindful of when you pivot is how to set these programs up for success so that when things pick up again, you have an execution plan in place to keep those other programs moving. What you don’t want to happen is you’re in a lull and you’re pounding the pavement getting these things off the ground and then you have ten open roles the next day. You don’t want to create an environment where you’ve overpromised all these initiatives and now you’re underdelivering.”

Lessons learned during times of adversity

Adversity is never easy – whether it’s in the form of layoffs, restructuring, economic or political hardship or low company performance. But talent leaders can’t ignore these factors, and adversity often leads to learning and growth, no matter how challenging it can be in the moment. Ariana asked the panelists if they had any specific lessons they’d learned from adversity. Here’s the advice they shared:

  • Check in with your people regularly. “If you don’t poll your people, you can do the wrong thing for your organization,” said Deanna. She recommends regular check-ins to ensure you’re making decisions that are aligned with your employees’ preferences.

  • Don’t panic. “Adverse situations often create fear and the emotion of fear creates panic,” said Chuck. He also said it’s critical to maintain perspective because history shows us that adverse economic conditions are followed by periods of growth: “Even if you’re not hiring a lot, you still need to build relationships with candidates because you will hire again.”

  • Celebrate the wins. “We hear a lot from people when things are going wrong, but we don’t hear a lot when things are going right,” said Lauren. This is why she stresses the importance of looking for the wins and celebrating when things go right to help foster psychological safety on your team. “This is just as important as navigating when things do go the wrong way.”

Curious to hear more from the panelists, including how they’re ensuring work is fun and staying focused on their top priorities despite an ever-growing number of distractions? Watch the webinar, available on demand here.

Watch the webinar
Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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