5 Must-Have Recruiting Habits for the Great Resignation

Mervyn Dinnen

two people handshaking while one person smiles

Recruitment is in the spotlight. I may have been a bit skeptical about the impact of the Great Resignation in my last blog, but I’m ready to admit that I was wrong!

In fact, I recently polled around 150 recruiters and HR professionals on LinkedIn; 76% are seeing an increase in resignations, with the majority of those saying the increase was a lot. Whatever the reasons behind this increase, recruitment professionals will have increasing numbers of vacancies to fill in the coming months, and competition for the best talent will be fierce.

Traditional approaches to attracting and hiring need to be overhauled. Today’s candidates are much more aware of their options and which opportunities for growth they want in their next role. Recruitment professionals who think they can place advertisements and watch the applications roll in should prepare themselves for a shock. Jobseekers today do more background research on the type of business you are to work for, check out your track record for developing people, and expect a seamless and intuitive hiring process.

At the most basic level, all recruiters must make sure their application and interview processes are designed to help attract the people they want, not deter them. It’s time to ditch those bad recruiting habits and start adopting some good ones. Here are the five habits I believe all recruiters should start learning:

1. Keep in touch.

After filling out a digital application, it’s a natural human concern to want to know where we stand. Are we still in the process? How long will it be before we hear more? Have we given all the necessary information? Research regularly shows that one of the biggest candidate complaints is lack of information. And yet the conversational AI that underpins most of our recruiting tech makes it so easy to keep in touch!

My research shows that 86% of jobseekers say that the way they are treated during the application and interview process impacts on whether they accept an offer. So always let them know how they are doing, how long until the next communication, and where they may need to provide more information or clarity. And if you are not proceeding with their application then tell them as soon as possible. It’s common courtesy after all.

2. Give actionable feedback.

If lack of information is the biggest bugbear for candidates, then lack of feedback comes in a close second. No one likes to be rejected, especially if they don’t get a reason for the rejection, or if they are given a reason they find hard to understand. The best way to address this is to give actionable feedback. Help candidates understand the areas in which their application did not meet the criteria. Or if they interviewed, help them understand where they underperformed to give them something they can use in their future applications and interviews.

Leave unsuccessful candidates with a positive impression of your business. They are more likely to recommend you to others, and they’ll be more likely to apply again when they earn the extra experience and knowledge they initially lacked.

3. Look for future potential.

Too many rejections are based on what candidates have done in the past. Hiring managers and recruiters alike will scan applications for keywords and previous achievements that align with the role they are trying to fill. This is the wrong approach though. We shouldn’t be hiring someone to do what they have done before, but instead look for someone who can build on what they have done and achieve more in the future. This includes looking at people already working for the business who have the potential to grow and take on new challenges.

Past achievements can be an unreliable predictor of future success, especially if someone is joining a new business where systems, colleagues, expectations, and culture are different. Recruiters need to focus on assessing for strengths, capabilities, and future potential through the application and interview stages.

4. Understand the role.

Recruiters need to fully understand the vacancies they are hiring for. A role isn’t just a job specification, but a combination of skills, knowledge, capabilities, scope for development, and deliverables. It is up to the recruiter to know how to find and assess these, and to also understand how achievements and knowledge from a previous role can be transferable into a new one.

The starting point should be to get fully briefed by the hiring manager, and to also speak with other team members the new hire will be working closely with in order to achieve successful outcomes. By expanding their knowledge of the skills, attributes, and outcomes associated with the role, recruiters will be in a stronger position to successfully identify the best candidates.

5. Partner with hiring managers.

When I researched hiring manager relationships last year, there was one finding from my interviews that stood out; namely, that hiring is not a constant behavior for managers. It’s something they only do during times of growth or distress. They do not share, or understand, the recruitment team’s focus on candidate attraction, candidate experience, or general recruitment trends. Working on a vacancy-by-vacancy approach means that hiring managers usually expect a ready-made candidate shortlist.

Recruiters need to work closely with hiring managers to help them understand the candidate market, their expectations, and preferences. One way to achieve this is by involving hiring managers in recruitment process design, which helps improve their understanding of the work that goes into ongoing candidate attraction. This also allows hiring managers to gain insight into what candidates expect from the interview process and from their next role. Recruiters should also sit in on hiring manager interviews to see how well they represent the employer brand and communicate the employee value proposition.

The next few months look like they will be hectic for most recruiters. I believe that by learning and adopting these new habits they will stand the best chance of hiring the talent their businesses need.


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About the Author

Mervyn Dinnen

Mervyn is an HR and talent analyst, researching the emerging trends that impact hiring, development, and retention. He is author of the books "Exceptional Talent" and "Digital Talent."

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