Ask the Recruiter: How to attract and retain talent in a hot job market

by Gaby Gramont

With more and more jobs to fill and less talent available, hiring the right candidate is becoming a more challenging task than normal. Hiring managers, don’t fret! We have brought another segment of Ask the Recruiter. This time we sat with our VP of Business Development & Account Management Stephanie Ranno who has an extensive background in the staffing and recruiting space. Find out the number one thing job seekers are looking for, how to attract AND retain talent, resources and recommendations for upskilling employees and more!

As we know, it’s a hot job market out there which makes it difficult to find and hire top talent. What is your number one recommendation for employers looking to hire a new team member right now?

You always have to be competitive with salary but now more than ever you have to know market rates and be sure the salaries that you offer are on part with them.

The next thing is flexibility. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a fully remote job but you have to offer some flexibility like hybrid work. Seventy percent of job seekers who are on the market (and part of the Great Resignation) or those who are just waiting and open to new jobs want flexibility. They’ve been working for over 18 months from their home offices.

Many people are also making decisions related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Do you have actions to support your DEI statements? Those things matter when job seekers are making the decision to put their application in or considering an offer from your company. If you can tie your work and that particular job to the values and mission of your organization, that’s even better – like going from the gold standard to platinum.

If you can actually give competitive pay, offer flexibility and then tie the work to something that matters – like DEI – you are sitting in a much more competitive spot.

Any other recommendations for things employers need to consider to attract talented job seekers?

The other thing that employers really need to do is take time to understand what you need in a role before posting a job. So many times you get multiple departments trying to weigh in on a given job especially when you’re trying to replace somebody who’s maybe grown up in the organization and has a lot of disparate skills. So, before you go to market with your job, you need to be crystal clear about what that role truly encompasses. What is that role precisely going to contribute to your organization?

Establish who is the decision-maker BEFORE you go to market. If you have four people weighing in, it’s going to extend your hiring process and you’re going to lose out every time to competition who’s coming in and making a decision faster. If you’re going back and forth, you’re not going to get those candidates.

Given that so many people – including those currently employed – are looking for jobs, what advice do you have for employers looking to retain talented team members?

I just heard about a large global Fortune 100 company that did a full review of all of their salaries and then upped salaries to market rate. Here’s the reality: Most people know that if they want to get a measurable adjustment to their salaries, they often have to leave to achieve that. So before you pay the cost of losing someone that has knowledge of and relationship with your organization, take the time and invest in doing a salary audit and bring compensation up to a competitive level. That will help you retain your valuable team member.

Back to another important factor: Flexibility. If you’ve traditionally been hardline about coming into the office, you might lose your top performers who want that flexibility.

What are some of the most popular jobs employers are hiring for now? What about some of the most challenging?

The most popular and most challenging are the same because they are the most competitive. An area that we always see a big uptick in is search marketing and paid search. Brands are bringing it inside from agencies and running it in-house. Social media strategy and design, content marketing, community management, email marketing and marketing automation are all hot areas too.

What do you think about upskilling or training existing employees for some of these hard-to-fill jobs?

Upskilling does two things. First, it allows you to retain organizational and brand knowledge within your company. Second, it makes the candidate feel like you care about their development. You are giving them an opportunity to develop in their careers. If they don’t have to leave your organization or spend their own money to get a certification or learn a new marketing automation tool, then they can grow in their careers with your company.

From my own experience, the ability to get training in diversity recruiting made me feel so grateful given my professional passion around DEI. Great for the company, great for me, and hopefully great for our clients and candidates too.

What resources do you recommend to help employers upskill employees?

Use LinkedIn Learning. They have free resources and we’ve done some training based on their modules. No matter the size of your firm, you can do that. There are also different programs through universities that you can do.

You can also seek out experts in a variety of areas. We worked with Jennifer Tardy, a diversity training consultant that does organizational training based on your values and goals. Think about and ask what your employees need as opposed to you telling them what you think they need. What could make their jobs smoother? What is an area they want to grow in?

What’s the best way for employers to work with a staffing and recruiting firm like TorchLight?

The best way to work with our recruiters is to be very collaborative and give feedback from the outset about how you like to work and the cadence of the communication you would like. We want to know sooner rather than later if we’re hitting the mark or not. We might need you to come back and give constructive feedback so don’t shy away from telling us when we’ve missed the mark. We struggle when there isn’t communication.

And then just be open. We can work in a variety of ways with our clients. We are a firm that is nimble enough to try different things and try new ways of working together.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Be honest with yourself about where you are as a manager when it comes to remote and hybrid work. We really have an opportunity to adjust and change the way that we manage and to make work more human again–and make it based more on trust. This means looking at the work itself and not time in a seat. It means looking at the contributions and value that the teammates bring forward.

I think there is an opportunity to modernize our management structures, the way that we do work and the way that we consider work. If we don’t take advantage of this unique once-in-a-century opportunity, we’ll miss out on an opportunity to be innovative as we move into the future.


Thank you to Stephanie for joining us for another Ask the Recruiter segment! For more insight into the current job market, check out our previous Ask the Recruiter blog.

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