Why Recruiters are the Heroes of The Great Resignation

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The Great Resignation, The Great Reshuffle, The Great Job Change - this trend goes by a number of names. Either way, the results are the same. Many people are changing careers or moving companies, and job seekers are now finding themselves with an abundance of various options they can choose from. Let’s take a quick look at current figures.

In the United States, as of May 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently around 11.5 million open positions. There are around 6.7 million new hires and 6.3 million resignations per month, signifying a high amount of mobility within the labor market.

Other statistics confirm the fact that The Great Resignation is not slowing down yet, and that employees are still leaving jobs at high rates, confident they’ll find a better position elsewhere. The rate of unemployed individuals per job vacancy is hovering around 0.5, which is one of the lowest figures ever recorded.

To many, this market spells opportunity, and The Great Resignation has morphed into The Great Job Swap. Companies are forced to adapt in order to retain valuable talent, and not lose it to their competitors. In plain English, this tells us that the job market is still competitive.. However, recruiters have been dealing with this new reality for a while now, and have adapted exceedingly well. Taking into account all they’ve had to handle, recruiters could be considered to be the true heroes of The Great Resignation.

We talked to a couple of our recruiter friends who could shed some light on their experience in these times, and they gave us some interesting insight into recent months. Let's take a look at some recurring themes…

Rising Candidate Expectations and Salary Woes

One technical recruiter at a global B2B SaaS company described their experience of The Great Resignation as one being marked by increasing candidate expectations and a red-hot war on talent. “Candidate expectations have increased significantly since the third Covid wave last April”, they said. “Salary expectations for niche talent in the IT market grew by 20-30%, basically overnight”.

The difficulties imposed on the market by the current situation means that many candidates find themselves with multiple offers on hand, and leverage them for financial gain, creating “a bidding war on talent”.

Retention Issues and Domino Effects

Higher salaries for those switching jobs come with their own set of drawbacks. Paying new hires near the top of their ranges results in existing staff losing morale, as they come to realize that their pay rate is lower than that of new hires. This “[creates] headaches for managers who can’t match the inflated external salaries with internal pay raises”. Even worse, demoralized employees “are likely to see very attractive offers from competitors, making them likely to leave for commercial reasons”.

New hires who are paid at the top of their ranges “have nowhere to go” in terms of salary, and, if they are passed up for a promotion, “they may well look to the external [market], and then the cycle repeats again”.

Overhauling Practices

Overcoming The Great Resignation required recruiters to reflect on how they did their jobs. Silvia Cerri, Senior Recruiter at Hopin, and her colleagues believed that “challenges can be conquered with an increased effort”, and they “just had to get creative and methodical. [...] We improved processes, and relied on each other to build resilience. We also started to look at talent with a more strategic approach – looking for markets we had left unexplored and trying different ways of reaching out to candidates”.

Silvia explained that “The market was truly red hot, [...] competition for talent was really high, and it forced us to be really fast in making hiring decisions. We needed to make our processes as fast as possible, without sacrificing the quality of information collected or the experience of our candidates”. She optimistically concluded that “it was a struggle, [but] it forced us to improve our processes”.

Focusing on tapping new markets, and continuously innovating on their operations allowed the Hopin team to make up for the shortage in talent and maintain a quality talent pipeline.

Adapt, Improvise, Overcome

So, how do they solve this? It’s complicated. Part of being a hero in difficult times is adapting to difficult circumstances. It isn’t easy, but recruiters managed to get through it by changing the way they worked. Tenacity, diligence, determination, and an innovative mindset helped them keep hiring, even in the most precarious periods. 

Some of the issues surrounding The Great Resignation are financial in nature. These are specifically overcome by a mix of financial and cultural incentives, like “stock options, signing bonuses, or by having a strong employer brand”.

However, it’s important to note that the use of financial leverage in recruitment is more prevalent within specific industries and for certain positions, and doesn’t singlehandedly reflect global trends.

According to our proprietary analysis of 379,224 candidate responses, Compensation and Benefits doesn't strongly impact candidates’ view of your company, or noticeably affect their withdrawal rates. Instead, focusing on improving your processes, and focusing on areas like D&I policy, EVP, assessment quality, or candidates’ understanding of the role is bound to produce noticeable results and improve Candidate Experience, aiding you in winning the War on Talent.

Silvia’s experiences at Hopin tell us that, given some creativity and ingenuity, the challenges associated with The Great Resignation can also be overcome, and the drawbacks can be mitigated. This approach reveals another possible avenue to fighting the War on Talent, without relying primarily on financial incentives and employer branding.

Contrastingly, our other technical recruiter’s testimony shows that the war is still red hot, and that competition among companies in highly competitive fields has been turned up to, and has remained, at 11. This has supercharged the bidding war on talent, which, as the name suggests, is focused on numbers and bonuses.

A New Hope

To some, these circumstances have been a cause for concern, but others have taken these developments in stride. 

Silvia found The Great Resignation to be an exciting opportunity for recruiters and candidates alike. Having switched jobs herself, she understood the motivations that many candidates had in changing jobs, and believed The Great Resignation to be a force for change:

I think that the Great Resignation will help shape a different kind of job market, where more and more companies need to rethink their offer to align with what people are increasingly demanding – remote opportunities, work/life balance, and strong compensation packages

- Silvia Cerri, Senior Recruiter at Hopin

Looking Forward

Disruptive times in recruitment are a great opportunity for TA teams to re-evaluate their methodologies and ensure that best practices are being followed. Naturally, one of the best ways to understand what works for attracting and retaining talent, and what your candidates’ pain points are, can be found out by directly asking your candidates.

Understanding your candidates allows you to iterate on your own process to align with their ever-changing expectations, and to stay one step ahead of your competitors.

Measuring Candidate Experience with a solution like Starred, which automates the collection, analysis, and processing of data through a no-code integration with your ATS of choice, makes this process a breeze. You can easily uncover a range of insights into how your candidates feel about your company, helping to steer you in your future recruiting endeavors.

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