Overcoming talent acquisition challenges in 2023

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5 mins, 22 secs read time

In talent acquisition, it often feels like moving as fast as possible is the ultimate goal. After all, we use metrics like time to hire to capture the velocity at which hiring happens. But when we prioritize speed above all else, it means we’re not being as thoughtful as we could about our decision-making. We might be taking shortcuts that could put candidates from certain groups at a disadvantage. And we’re not necessarily taking actions that are best for our business.

This is not to say that speed is always a bad thing. There are times when acting fast means closing a critical candidate or avoiding paying a penalty for slowness. Today’s TA leaders are engaged in a balancing act between finding the right moments to put the proverbial pedal to the metal – and when it makes more sense to slow down and fully take in the surroundings.

BrightHire’s Co-founder Teddy Chestnut recently moderated a panel discussion, Overcoming TA challenges in 2023, between Checkr’s VP of Talent Justin Ayers, Greenhouse’s Head of Talent Planning & Acquisition Ariana Moon and Salesloft’s Director of Talent Amber Schwartz. The conversation focused on friction in the hiring process – when is it a problem, when is it an opportunity and how might it impact your approach to TA? Explore some of the highlights below or access the recording, available on demand here.

What does friction in hiring mean to you?

Since speed is often held up as the ideal and friction is a way of reducing speed, Teddy asked the panelists to share what friction means to them in the context of hiring. Justin said he thinks of it in terms of the market right now, which is full of great candidates who are ready to move at lightning speed. He recently opened a role and had 300 applicants in a single day. While having large numbers of candidates who are ready to move quickly can be a good thing, Justin said he also feels friction in the sense of providing an excellent candidate experience: “Many TA teams are down in the number of people they have, so that creates friction because it’s hard to digest all that volume.”

For Amber, friction often shows up in the relationships between recruiters and hiring managers.
These relationships can be fraught with miscommunication, disappointment and frustration. But it doesn’t have to be that way, Amber said, “In my career, I’ve focused on being an advisor and partner to our leaders, but I’m also mindful that you can’t always remove that friction if you don’t build that relationship on the front-end before you have a role that’s kicking off.”

“Friction isn’t always a bad thing,” Ariana said. It can be a positive because it can prevent us from making snap judgments about people when we first meet them or review their resume. Ariana said the TA team at Greenhouse is often asking important questions such as “How can we interrupt ourselves from going on autopilot and make more inclusive decisions?”

Where do you want to introduce friction and where do you want to remove it?

There’s this tension between moving as quickly as possible – especially in a market where a candidate may have multiple offers. You have to make sure you get your offer out as quickly as possible and not lose the candidate, but you want to make sure you’re making the right decisions.Justin Ayers, VP of Talent at Checkr

Continuing on the theme of balancing speed and friction, Teddy asked the panelists if there are times when they intentionally introduce or remove friction from the candidate experience. Justin said that the majority of Checkr candidates participate in working sessions. This additional stage in the interview process allows the hiring team to see how candidates respond to feedback and explain their thought process. “That does slow things down, but it helps us make the right decision and ensure we’re finding the right candidate,” Justin shared.

Greenhouse is very deliberate about representation and who ends up in the pipeline for each role, Ariana explained, and the TA team takes an intentional and proactive approach to sourcing candidates. “One tactic to take is to not post right away to the most traditional channels,” Ariana said. “Where do you initially source from? Do you prioritize inbound vs. outbound? That might slow you down, but technically it could also speed you up when it comes to achieving representation goals.”

How do you manage friction between recruiters and hiring managers?

There’s one situation where the panelists agreed friction should be avoided, and that’s in the relationships between recruiters and hiring managers. Justin said the TA team at Checkr works to set clear expectations for hiring managers, such as having the job description and interview plan ready before they open a position. Their recruiters appreciate being able to review everything and make adjustments early in the hiring process.

Ariana agreed that structured interviewing offers great opportunities for co-building – the hiring managers bring their expectations and knowledge of the role while recruiters bring their understanding of the market and a holistic view of how your company is approaching hiring.

One of the things that’s really important is co-building the interview process with your hiring team. There’s a part to play for the hiring manager and the recruiter – it’s not just a recruiter thing, it’s a joint effort.Ariana Moon, Head of Talent Planning & Acquisition at Greenhouse

Amber said the hiring managers and recruiters at Salesloft have created a clear workflow to ensure there’s representation on interview teams and that compensation data gets collected and hiring managers are very clear on the attributes that each interviewer needs to be assessing. She also recommended scheduling post-interview debriefs with the whole hiring team to coincide with scheduled interviews to ensure that there are no conflicts when it’s time for those critical team conversations.

One thing was clear in this conversation: Speed and friction in the hiring process aren’t inherently good or bad. Thoughtful TA leaders understand that being intentional about when to accelerate and when to pump the brakes is a strategy that ultimately leads to success.

Did this quick overview leave you wanting to slow down and hear more of the practical tips and tactics from the panelists, including how to measure and assess friction in your talent pipeline? Watch the full conversation here.

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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