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Despite claims that once unemployment benefits were discontinued that the hiring situation would improve, we are heading into the new year with continued challenges with hiring qualified candidates. In my thirty years of human resources experience, I have never seen a hiring market like the one we have now. Where once candidates vied for the attention of employers, employers are trying to attract the attention of the very few interested qualified candidates and many positions are going unfilled.

A combination of factors have converged to create an applicant’s market. A large portion of employees who are close to retirement, have decided to retire earlier rather than wait to ride out the tide of the pandemic and have permanently exited the market. Some parents have elected to spend more time with family than they did prior to the pandemic and some parents, many female, initially exited the workforce in order to home school children during the pandemic. The existing vacancies have then provided choices for employees who may not have ordinarily considered leaving their positions. Employees are leaving existing positions to look for better salaries, more flexible hours, the ability to telecommute, or are simply choosing new careers.

So how does an organization in this market attract and retain staff? It will mean differentiating yourself from others in the market. Employers will need to clearly articulate why candidates want to consider their organization above any other organization. Employers will need to have a speedy hiring process so that other employers don’t scoop up their candidates prior to making an offer. Employers will also want to ensure their budgeted salary is competitive prior to posting their position. The organization should rethink how the work is done and provide more flexibility in hours and location of work, when possible and note this information on the posting.

What happens if no qualified candidates have been found despite your best efforts to advertise the position? You might have to consider posting a lower-level position and growing someone into the position. You may need to re-think how the work gets done. Are there processes that can be changed or roles that contractors or temporary employees can fill? Is a shared services model where one position supports several departments be possible? If you are an organization without an internal Human Resources department, are having difficulty hiring, and would like to talk to professionals in the field, contact Southwestern HR Consulting today.

Magdalena Vigil-Tullar

Written by | Magdalena Vigil-Tullar


Phone: 505-270-7494 | Email:

PO Box 14274 | Albuquerque, NM 87191

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