In today’s job market, the phrase "the new normal" has become a universal catch-all, we can add the post-Covid talent crisis to the list. Unlike anything recruiters and HR practitioners have seen, this talent crisis has progressed to the point where we refer to it as the “war on talent”. This implies that companies are in a desperate battle to outwit their competition, while simultaneously trying to attract and retain their talent. To be successful, companies need to outplay, outwit, and outlast their competition in the battle to attract and retain talent. This scenario may sound like the TV show Survivor, but it's the reality that companies deal with every day.

To first understand what's driving this talent crisis, it’s important to know how we got here. Employees began leaving their jobs in record numbers in early 2021, over 47 million employees quit, in what is now being called the Great Resignation. Harvard Business Review cites that the reasons varied from early retirement, relocation to less expensive areas during the pandemic, reluctance to catch the virus, and reshuffling to other jobs for more money. The problem employers face is simply not enough workers to fill the estimated 10.7 million open jobs, which is almost 2 jobs for every unemployed worker looking for work. Just like real estate has turned into a seller's market, hiring has evolved into a candidate's market, job seekers hold the power. Finding talent in today's candidate-driven market forces businesses looking to thrive must outplay yesterday’s talent acquisition strategy, outwit their competition with technology for sourcing, and outlast with a concentrated focus on their employee value proposition.

Companies first need to outplay the competition by revamping their talent acquisition strategy, which may not be working for the new demands in this candidate-driven market. Businesses need to understand the changing needs to be competitive. Gone are the days of the interview process taking weeks, recruiting time should be streamlined to minimal interviews with short wait times in between. Consider making job offers on the spot to lock in your candidates quickly vs leaving them available to the competition. Evaluate current background checks and drug test policies to determine if they're working for or against the hiring goals. For example, if you're testing for THC in a state where marijuana is legal, are you depleting your pool of qualified applicants?  Instead, consider dropping it in the application process, and put in a new policy to test when suspicion or incident occurs. Do you require a college degree when a high school diploma or passing a competency test will suffice? Take a hard look at all current practices to see if they still make sense in today’s market and if are they allowing you as an employer to be as competitive as possible in this job market.

"Employers must outwit the competition by embracing and utilizing geotargeting technology for sourcing potential candidates"

Next, employers must outwit the competition by embracing and utilizing geotargeting technology for sourcing potential candidates. This technology is a type of advertising that uses location data from cell phones to reach candidates with messaging appropriate to their location and behavior. The prevalence of cell phone usage and location tracking services make it possible to pinpoint a pool of candidates for open positions. The post and pray method in attracting candidates isn’t enough to compete in this tough labor market. Geofencing takes geotargeting one step farther by establishing a virtual “fence” around a given geographic area to determine what ads and content candidates see. Using this technology with social media platforms, you can be proactive by searching for populations in areas that have recently had layoffs or work closures for remote or relocation-provided positions, or in areas near your location for on-site workers. Furthermore, social media reaches both the passive and the actively searching candidates.

Finally, companies need to outlast the competition by retaining your talent and protecting yourself from talent poachers. Employee Value Proposition should be a focus for employers who need to speak to candidates WiiFM’s (what’s in it for me). These hooks that attract candidates to work for you, should ultimately be the reasons that keep employees with you. Research indicates that today’s worker is no longer looking just for monetary compensation. Instead, they are looking for a strong total rewards package that is market competitive that is accompanied by a higher purpose. Recruits and employees want to work for a company that gives back to the community or aligns with their values. These trends for higher purpose and alignment are not changing any time soon. Therefore, employers need to learn how to address it head-on and make the needed changes to prevent them from falling farther behind. If employers are going to survive, the focus must be to adjust the talent acquisition strategy to be responsive to current market conditions and retain the strong talent already on the payroll.

The outwit, outplay and outlast strategy is constantly evolving to the market trends and the needs of candidates and employees. We live in an ever-changing world; therefore, we must be adaptable in our approach, processes, and program designs if we want to survive.