Why Are Hiring Managers Struggling to Recruit Hourly Talent? They Don’t Have the Right Tools.

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The reopening of society means nothing if businesses don’t have staff. The US reported a record 9.3 million job openings in April, but industries like hospitality, manufacturing, logistics, and retail may not have enough employees to keep the lights on.

Last year, 55.5 percent of the workforce was paid an hourly rate. But 2020 also saw mass layoffs and furloughs of hourly workers who have yet to return to their former positions, leaving many businesses short-staffed.

Most companies leave it to managers at individual locations to recruit and hire hourly workers. However, these managers are typically not HR or recruiting experts. Many lack the time, training, and support to hire effectively — yet they are critical to hiring outcomes.

If organizations want to rebuild their workforces for the return to normal, our managers will need more support, guidance, and insight as they undertake large-scale, high-volume hiring efforts.

The Challenges Hiring Managers Face

One of the biggest challenges plaguing managers right now is simply filling roles. With countless workers switching careers or holding out for better offers, businesses are in a tough spot. They’re losing sales, limiting hours, or closing down altogether. The pressure is on hiring managers to find candidates, period.

When recruiting hourly workers, managers often use processes made for other workforces, like salaried positions or low-volume talent pools. As a result, managers end up creating inefficient candidate experiences that frustrate both hiring teams and their potential employees. According to one estimate, as many as 63 percent of job seekers would reject an offer because of a bad candidate experience. On the flip side, if you provide a positive candidate experience, 80 percent of applicants would apply again if they don’t receive a job offer. We can’t give people the wrong tools and expect quality outcomes.

Healthy candidate flow is also an issue. Not having enough applicants is an obvious problem — but so is having too many. Suppose a hiring manager is stuck manually reviewing hundreds of applicants. That gives competitors plenty of time to swoop in and hire the best candidates before you’ve even finished reviewing applications.

How to Help Hiring Managers Recruit Hourly Workers

As hourly jobs begin to return and businesses look to hire, modernizing hourly hiring practices will help a company stand out from the competition. Recruiting and talent acquisition professionals can assist hiring managers by implementing these changes.

1. Strip Away Inefficiencies

Hiring managers are often saddled with over-engineered hiring processes that ignore what matters most: people. If your hiring process is too long or complicated, you’re going to lose out on candidates — something no business can afford in this climate. Sixty percent of applicants will drop out of the application process if it’s too long, according to one estimate. 

Identify the inefficiencies within your hiring process to speed it up. Consider axing these common components of the hiring process that don’t make sense for recruiting hourly workers:

• Asking for a resume for a low-barrier-to-entry job
• Requiring a login to view job openings
• Requesting Social Security numbers from applicants

2. Hire for the Long Term

Hourly hiring practices are often short-sighted, with hiring managers being tempted to settle for “good enough” candidates to fill roles faster.

A few things can happen when you settle for “good enough.” First, you put your brand at risk. You could end up with an employee who isn’t a great fit, and their performance will reflect that. Keep in mind, frontline employees represent your brand.

Second, while you may need to staff tomorrow’s shift, you should also be thinking about the future whenever you make a new hire. What happens when you need a new manager next month and none of your current employees fit the bill? Finding the right people for frontline jobs can fill your management pipeline.

Finally, simply settling increases the likelihood of turnover. While high turnover rates are a norm in hourly-dependent industries, departing employees are still costly. It can cost upwards of $3,500 to replace an employee making $8 an hour.

Instead of approaching hourly hiring as a short-term endeavor, hiring managers should be looking for candidates with long-term performance potential. Personality assessments offer one way for hiring managers to dig deeper to identify candidate fit.

3. Equip Hiring Managers With the Right Tools

The technology you give your hiring managers can either simplify their jobs or be too complex to manage. Unfortunately, the latter is true for many hiring managers: According to Aptitude Research, 51 percent of companies use three or more applicant tracking systems.

Hourly-intensive industries need more streamlined tools to reflect the fast-paced nature of hourly recruiting. For example, automation can be particularly powerful in hourly hiring. With artificial intelligence, hiring tools can even help identify qualified candidates while managers are out on the floor, allowing hiring teams to make more informed hiring decisions with less effort.

Organizations conducting high-volume hourly recruiting need to set hiring managers up for success by stripping away inefficiencies and making the hiring process as seamless as possible. The right technology can alleviate hiring managers’ workloads while helping them find more best-fit candidates. That’s what it takes to win today’s war for hourly talent.

Quincy Valencia is vice president of product innovation at Hourly by AMS.

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By Quincy Valencia