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It’s a great time to be a job applicant—and the worst time to be a hiring manager

May 5, 2022, 3:17 PM UTC

Anyone trying to hire right now won’t be surprised by the Greenhouse Hiring Manager Sentiment Report, released Thursday, which surveyed over 1,500 hiring managers and C-suite executives, about the job market. The results: They’re underwater. 

In March, the country added 431,000 jobs, bringing the unemployment rate to 3.6%, the lowest since the pandemic began. Applications for unemployment benefits have dropped to near their lowest point since 1969, Fortune reported. This is despite inflation surge, supply chain bottlenecks, the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a war raging in Eastern Europe. 

A staggering 75% of respondents expect hiring to become an even bigger challenge for the rest of the year, and more than four in five (84%) say they’re burned out. Three-quarters of hiring managers believe candidates are only becoming more demanding when it comes to perks and benefits, which leaves their companies scrambling to level up. 

Hiring managers’ top concerns, according to the survey, are their ability to source the right talent, losing candidates to better offers at competing companies, and a generally unstructured and ineffective hiring process. 

When it comes to recruiting, they said their companies are struggling to create a standout brand, recruit for niche roles and markets, and compete with other companies offering lavish sign-on bonuses and salary packages.

“When 88% of managers are experiencing pressure in achieving their goals because of hiring, you can be sure this represents business risk,” Daniel Chait, Greenhouse’s CEO said in the report. “Hiring is a business-critical function [that] needs to be structured, measured, and continuously improved on.” 

Bad hiring practices can hurt hiring managers

One of the biggest lessons of the current job market is that sloppy hiring practices can leave a lasting impression on everyone involved in the process. 

This has become an even bigger issue, as more and more candidates discuss their interview experiences online on platforms like Blind, Glassdoor, and TikTok. Companies with a reputation for biased hiring or poor communication will struggle to find qualified candidates. And often that burden falls squarely on the hiring manager.

Chait cites a troubling inverse proportion: As it gets easier and easier for individuals to find a new job, the pressure on hiring managers only increases. 

“Companies have realized their potentially unfair hiring practices—or even just simple sloppiness like ineffective interviewing or a habit of ghosting candidates—is coming back to bite them.” Over 75% of job seekers say they’ve been ghosted following an interview, according to Greenhouse’s Candidate Experience Report, released in February.  

Candidates are also expecting the process to move more quickly than it has in the past, especially when they’re juggling multiple job offers.

“What’s most challenging for hiring managers is that everything has to go a lot faster,” says Sarah White, CEO of Aspect43, a research and advisory firm focused on HR and future of work technology. “If a company isn’t set up to support the quicker timeline that candidates expect, everyone has to double up on efforts.”

Many of the organizations Aspect43 has done research on aren’t prepared to support the current pace of hiring. 

“Recruiters describe losing top candidates to other offers before they can even make it to a second or third interview,” she says. “That can make them feel really defeated.”

It’s not just about wading through the sea of applicants for new job postings. Another struggle for hiring managers is keeping their existing workers from jumping ship. 

“On top of new applicants, hiring managers have to hire way more replacements, and there’s often not as much focus on internal mobility as there once was,” White says.

In a recent survey Aspect43 conducted, 55% of hiring managers cited retention and turnover as the number-one issue impacting their ability to hire—and their company’s ability to thrive. Hiring new talent came in second place, at 50%. 

But Greenhouse’s survey found that managers have found their internal candidates to be one of the best sources of talent, and that can help companies achieve two goals at one time, retaining talent while filling new roles.

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