Hiring in a tough talent market

People are looking for more than just a title and salary — they’re looking to develop their careers. Here are some top tips from talent pros to attract the type of employees you need.

Hiring in a tough talent market

4 min read
  • The strength of your workforce will determine whether your organization will continue to thrive or not. Acquiring and retaining top talent is critical.
  • Today, people require more than a job and a salary — they’re looking to make a difference and build a meaningful career.
  • Skills-based hiring can find you better hires, expand your talent pool, promote diversity, and increase retention.

The right people with the right skills are essential to your talent acquisition strategy — and your overall organization’s success. You get them in the door by offering smart, high-quality career opportunities.

If you can do this well, you have a better chance to outshine your competition and show potential employees that you care about their career development.

But you need a clear view of skills to successfully do this what skills you have, the skills you need, and the ones you’ll need in the future. Argyle’s recent panel discussion explores just that finding, hiring, and developing the best talent.

We talked about how offering career-development opportunities is a differentiator for top talent, areas where reskilling and upskilling could attract and keep talent, and how to show candidates how they can grow with your organization.

Related content: Want to attract and keep top talent? Show them how they can grow with your organization based on a skills-focused approach. 

Look at patterns

No one is interested in working for an organization that’s cutting staff every year. If this is your talent management pattern when things get tough, top employees are not going to want to join you or stay.

This means you have to look at other ways to be budget-smart without losing investments in talent.

I’ve seen this firsthand with a customer, a large semiconductor company. During the pandemic, they were faced with laying off 20% of their workforce. The problem was they didn’t understand their workforce’s skills and they needed employees with data-science skills.

They decided to map the skills of those at risk of being let go and discovered that employees in roles of digital-signal processing had the skills needed for data science. Instead of letting them go, they offered those employees a few courses to get a data-science degree. Many employees rose to the challenge.

By looking at skills, instead of a 20% workforce reduction, they moved 9% to other roles, saving nearly $11 million.

“Showcase your investment and your workforce,” said fellow panelist, Vandi Theriot, Career Coach at RiseSmart. “We’re in a time now where the workforce and candidates are not confident in terms of long term or stability in general. Employers can communicate to candidates that instead of an easy reduction in workforce, they’ve invested proactively in how they can upskill and grow the capabilities of their talent.”

Skills-based hiring done right

There’s no doubt that skills-based hiring can improve the quality of new hires, expand the talent pool, promote diversity, and increase employee retention. 

But to get there, every step of the hiring process must be aligned to this skills-based approach. This can be a tough mountain to climb.

“HR professionals need to use data-driven insights to build their business case for a skills-based hiring approach,” said fellow panelist Nicolle Barricella, Career Development Manager at Weill Cornell Medicine. “If your organization has talent management software or other AI tools that can help, start by identifying what skills and tasks are declining, which skills and tasks are on the rise, and where the gaps are between the two.

“You need to ask yourself, how are you going to bridge those gaps?” she continued. “Then, outline the cost to invest in programs that would close those gaps. It’s about showing the C-suite how HR can enrich the organization with the right skill sets and how those skill sets align with organizational goals to make that connection.”

Convincing hiring managers to shift focus from hard skills, which are easier to teach, to people skills, like empathy, creativity, and adaptability, can be a tough sell. 

“Those human skills are especially important in a world where partnerships are incredibly important, understanding how you engage with [other organizations] and work with them,” Theriot said. “As a career coach, I tell candidates that on paper, hard skills are really important. But when they get that first interview, they’ve got to convey those stories where those soft skills really come through.”

How to outshine the competition

When we talk about altering your hiring landscape, it’s critical to move away from a stagnant role-based architecture to a talent-centered one, in which you match work to the talent you have on hand. This comprehensive view of your employees makes it easier to see what a person can do and what they can do in the future.

You need to demonstrate this mindset and how that makes your organization stand out.

“A lot of employers just think: here’s a job, a salary, and benefits, but candidates are looking for more than that,” said fellow panelist, Candace R. Griffith, Senior VP Human Resources at Health Prime. “Be transparent in job postings about what it is you offer, what your culture is like, what your values are, the type of flexibility that you offer, and especially career growth opportunities. Communicate that in the job posting, but also have that be visible on your website and on social media. Being transparent about that [will make] your employer brand stand out.”

Watch the full panel discussion, Hiring for skill sets and qualities, for more insights on how to successfully navigate the changing hiring landscape. 

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