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Under Pressure to Fill Jobs? Here’s the Relief Valve You’ve Been Looking For

At this stage of a global talent shortage that has been deeply affected by the pandemic, managing risk is a top priority for any hiring manager. Filling a key talent hole can be a genuinely stressful experience. Interim solutions help alleviate some of that stress and allow hiring managers to make the best decisions.
Jonathan Kone, Vice President, LHH Recruitment Solutions, North America

If you’re responsible for hiring at your organization, you are no doubt under tremendous pressure.

The skilled talent shortage is driving a hiring frenzy. Top talent is more willing than ever to jump to a new job and employers are seizing upon that trend by offering huge bonuses and inflated salaries.

But if you’re the one doing the hiring, you’re also aware of the risk associated with moving too quickly and making a bad decision. Turnover rates are skyrocketing as the Great Resignation percolates through workplaces all over the world. It’s essential to make sure you’re bringing in new talent that is going to make a contribution for the long-haul.

How can you give yourself more time for thoughtful hiring decisions and release some of the pressure created by the Great Resignation? Two words: interim talent.

In the past, the interim or temporary staffing market focused on lower-level administrative positions. Today, however, you can source interim talent for every role at every level of an organization and for every kind of contingency.

Interim solutions have always been an important part of overall talent management. But when you look at the current volatility of the global labor market, interim may be more important than ever before.

The time to hire is shrinking, but the risk of bad hires is increasing

Prior to the pandemic, if there was a concern around the time it took for companies to hire new talent, it was that they were moving too slowly. Unnecessarily long and complicated hiring processes often meant organizations were losing out on top talent.

LinkedIn analysis of more than 400,000 hires between June 2020 and March 2021 showed the median time to hire was nearly 42 days, with the longest delays in engineering (49 days), and the shortest in customer service and administrative roles (34 days). However, with so many skilled workers riding the wave of the Great Resignation, and much of the business world trying to shake off the pandemic doldrums and get back up to full capacity, hiring is running hot and heavy – and the time to hire is shrinking.

A LHH-LinkedIn pulse poll taken in early to mid-May 2022 showed that 70 percent of recent job seekers got a job offer within 30 days.  Roughly 18 percent of respondents waited 30-60 days and just 12 percent were kept waiting longer than 60 days. Even though times to hire vary greatly depending on role and industry, there is strong evidence that employers are moving more quickly to fill open roles and ensure they don’t lose out on the current willingness of top talent to make a jump.

But there is a risk to moving too quickly. Some of the organizations that expedited hiring processes are only now finding out that they may have made some bad hiring decisions.

The Great Resignation is evolving into the Great Regret

Spring of 2022 saw a rash of surveys suggesting many of the workers who voluntarily resigned to take a new job – motivated by the current hiring frenzy and its gaudy wage and bonus offers – may be having second thoughts.

Another LHH-LinkedIn pulse poll conducted in May 2022 revealed that 57 percent of people who voluntarily resigned from a job in the last year to take another job were generally “happy and satisfied” with their decision. However, nearly one-third of respondents were already looking for another job or looking to return to their former job. Another 13 percent were “on the fence,” unsure about whether to stay in their current role or make another jump. 

Typically, the turnover rate from voluntary departures in U.S. companies is about 25 percent. The mere suggestion that more than 40 percent of new hires could be on the move again in the near future is enough to cause HR professionals sleepless nights. There seems little doubt that a significant number of workers who resigned to take new jobs are suddenly discovering their new employers are not meeting expectations for culture, fit and advancement opportunities.

How can interim solutions protect your organization against bad hiring decisions?

At this stage of a global talent shortage that has been deeply affected by the pandemic, managing risk is a top priority for any hiring manager. As we’ve noted above, as the hiring process is shortening, turnover looks like it may be on the rise. That is a scenario rife with risk.

Once again, this is where interim talent solutions come in.

If there is a project deadline looming, or a major business transformation needs to maintain momentum, you might not always have the time or the available talent to staff projects with permanent employees right away. Certainly, we can see many organizations leaping first to hire talent in this fluid market, and only looking later to see if they made a good hire. The stakes are simply too high for that kind of strategy.

What specific benefits do interim talent solutions offer?

 

  • Reliability. Interim talent, particularly those vetted by a trusted partner, are experienced, capable and – this cannot be understated – equipped to thrive in an interim role. You’re not just blindly plucking someone from a pool of available talent; properly managed, interim solutions match established, skilled talent with specific job openings.
  • Financial flexibility. Hiring managers know that one of the biggest risks they face in the mad dash for talent is getting locked into a fixed cost for a full-time hire that turns out to be a bad fit. Interim talent solutions give hiring managers the flexibility of filling an opening quickly without making long-term commitments.
  • A source of missing skills or expertise. Companies often take on new projects – restructuring, digital transformations, new product design and launch – without having all the necessary talent already onboard. Interim solutions can be applied on a project-by-project basis, with hard start and end dates, to give companies the talent they need, exactly when they need it.

The two major streams of departures

To determine whether an interim solution works for your organization, and which solution works best, we need to look at different types of talent shortages.

Unplanned talent shortages

A sudden departure can include unplanned retirements, the sudden onset of illness, a pressing need for personal leave, or finding out that a key member of your team has been poached by another employer. In some larger organizations, there may be adequate bench strength to simply plug-and-play a new person in a suddenly vacated role. In many other companies, however, there will be nobody with the specific expertise to fill a specific role and an external search must be undertaken. 

There is also a whole category of unplanned talent shortages: to support business growth. For startups and other smaller to medium-sized companies, it’s not unusual to struggle to find the specialized talent to support rapid growth. For smaller companies, there may be a need to create an HR or IT department. Medium-sized companies may suddenly realize they are growing so quickly, they suddenly need to build an executive team – HR, finance, IT – to serve the growing needs of a growing workforce.

Planned but temporary talent needs

There are other moments in the evolution of every organization where talent needs come and go. Where, for example, a company needs to bring in an internal team for a specific project like the introduction of a new technology platform. Or, implementing new processes to meet compliance requirements for government or securities regulation. Organizations need very specialized talent to keep up with all these challenges; it is possible to find subject matter experts in the interim talent market that can fill these important gaps.

The key element here is that the talent is needed now, for a specific period, but not forever. The current environment provides many examples where very specialized talent is needed for a very specific time frame.

Perhaps you need experts in M&A integration to get you through an important merger or acquisition. Or you need to perform a detailed compensation review to ensure you are paying competitive market rates to your people to keep them from falling prey to the siren call of higher salary and bonus offerings. Or perhaps you need to do an ESG audit to see if your organization is meeting all regulatory requirements. In all instances, specialized interim talent can be a huge help.

Conclusion

In business, as in life, the faster things go the more likely you’re going to make mistakes. That is a huge concern now for HR professionals and hiring managers as they struggle to find top talent in an overheated labor market. The pressure to find the right people is so intense right now, employers are speeding up their hiring practices and – in the process – increasing the likelihood of bad hiring decisions.

Interim solutions are key to containing these bad hiring decisions. They provide employers with the opportunity to vet candidates thoroughly before making a job offer. It also provides your teams with much needed support by filling unexpected vacancies quickly, which helps to mitigate burnout and improve overall morale and engagement.

Filling a key talent hole can be a genuinely stressful experience. Interim solutions help alleviate some of that stress and allow hiring managers to make the best decisions.