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Companies Must Be Flexible, Attractive, and Decisive For Today's Hiring

Posted By: John Sweney on August 2, 2022

Brookwoods Group CEO John Sweney wrote an Opinion/BizVoice article for the Houston Business Journal which appeared in the print edition July 29, 2022.  (Click on the HBJ image to read the article as published.)

Job seekers are finding themselves in the driver’s seat when it comes to today’s job market, and companies are learning that hiring top professionals is a series of fleeting opportunities. Even with generous financial packages, organizations are seeing dramatically fewer applications for open professional positions because candidates simply aren’t interested in changing.

This means that organizations are in the unfamiliar position of hunting for the people they need. And when companies are not accustomed to the hunt, they can make easy mistakes. But there are at least four things you can do in this market to land the professionals you need to move your business forward.

Don’t let perfect get in the way of great. Many job descriptions are needlessly restrictive. Companies seek “purple squirrels” -- candidates with such specific qualifications there are maybe only one or two of them in the entire universe!

Don’t try to duplicate the person you’re trying to replace. Be flexible and search for candidates who have three to five important qualifications but can learn and grow into the position quickly.

Don’t put candidates through a long, tedious process.  Most candidates have jobs that they’re not looking to leave, so when your process drags on, they simply run out of time to accommodate you. In the end, they withdraw from the process or, worse, just stop showing up. 

Make faster decisions with fewer people. Let your recruiter thoroughly screen them to see whether they have the right skills, experience, and cultural fit. In the end, depending upon the position, it should require no more than three interviews with your most key people as part of your vetting process.

Don’t forget to “sell” the company. Great professionals want to be part of something bigger than themselves. When you fail to explain what your overall mission, vision and values are, you omit how they fit into the big picture.

Sell the company’s overall goals and how the candidate will complete the puzzle. They also want to know even more about benefits, office amenities and the people they’ll be working for and with.

Don’t dismiss remote office and hybrid working.  This is turning out to be a deal-breaker for most professionals because they’re just not interested in long commutes. When you don’t offer at least a hybrid office and remote work arrangement, it’s impossible to lure anyone away from a company that does.

Hybrid working models combine the collaboration and relationships of in-person offices with the convenience and flexibility of working from home. To make office presence more attractive, talk up its benefits: spontaneous interactions, building personal relationships, community environment, plus any amenities like free food, games and lounge areas. Consider some cost offset for commuting (parking coupons, gas cards, or transit passes).

Candidates know they have leverage—at least for now. And when companies are looking to fill professional positions, they need to be more flexible, make their company culture and environment more attractive and be more decisive.

John Sweney is co-founder, president and CEO of Brookwoods Group, a veteran- and LGBT-owned staffing and recruiting firm based in Houston, Texas.

(Thanks to Mark Hayden of Oak Interactive agency for coordinating the article.  Copyright Houston Business Journal.)