One Foot Out the Door: Try This, Not That To Retain Your Recruiting Talent

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HR talent isn't immune to the lure of the Great Resignation. Here's how to keep them happy.

The Great Resignation is making work more challenging for recruiters—and recruiters are also feeling the allure of quitting their jobs. According to research on LinkedIn, there are more open positions for recruiters on LinkedIn than for the usual hardest-to-find talent: software engineers. Other research shows that recruiters are 115% more likely than average employees to change careers.

During this time of turmoil in the talent market, it’s crucial to hold on to your top recruiters. Here’s how your organization can understand the risks and challenges and take action to retain your best HR talent. 

Recruiters Are on the Pulse of the Talent Market

Why are so many recruiters looking for new jobs? Because they can. There is strong demand for experienced, effective HR talent, and recruiters know this better than anyone because they are constantly seeing the latest seismic shifts in the market.

Especially when high-growth startups are trying to scale up hiring, and when companies of all sizes in almost all industries are showing strong demand for talent, recruiters are more mission-critical than ever before. It’s no surprise that recruiters are looking to capitalize on this unprecedented level of demand for their skill sets.

Recruiters Are Reaching a Breaking Point

Recruiters are dynamic professionals who love to tackle a big challenge. But they’re starting to experience burnout. Recruiters are facing higher-stakes situations in the current environment, with more pressure from C-level executives, more complex recruitment processes, and intensifying competition to seal the deal with candidates who are juggling multiple offers. 

As a result, recruiters are quitting in droves. They might leave their companies to work independently or start their own firm, they might choose a different career field that has less pressure or saner hours, or they might take time off from the workforce to spend time with family or recuperate from the stress of the past two years.  

Recruiters Are Leaving In-house for Independent Work  

During the pandemic, there has been a massive expansion of new business formations and interest in entrepreneurship. Recruiters are part of this larger trend, as high-earning, in-demand professionals who have exceptionally strong career networks.

Going solo (or starting a firm with a favorite colleague) can empower recruiters to do business at their own pace and make a great living, without the pressure and bureaucracy of working within a big organization. 

Why are recruiters going independent and starting their own businesses? Here are a few key drivers: 

  • Recruiting is perfect for project-based work. Recruiters can often make a better living (and have a more balanced life) as independent contractors and consultants.  
  • Zoom, Slack and Email make entrepreneurship more possible. Working from home during the pandemic showed millions of professionals that they didn’t need the traditional office experience. Digital savvy recruiters can go independent and keep doing the same work that they were doing as employees, but working for themselves.
  • People love to work from home. Recruiters tend to be energetic, independent, highly motivated self-starters who can be productive from anywhere; if you’re trying to force them to come back to the office, they’ll quit.  

Want to Retain Your Recruiters? Try This…

To keep your recruiters happy and on the job, use a thoughtful, multifaceted approach: 

  • Create an employee-centric, supportive culture. People are dealing with a lot of stress, anxiety and grief after two years of the pandemic. Recruiters often face the brunt of these feelings, because they’re navigating lots of pressure and uncertainty. Is your company doing enough to support your people, in ways that are proactive and kind? Can you offer “meeting-free” days each week, special “disconnect” days or “email-free hours?” If you’re genuinely supporting your people, recruiters will notice.
  • Provide true flexible work arrangements. People are dealing with lots of issues in their personal lives—caring for children, supporting elderly loved ones and other challenges at home. Don’t expect people to be reachable and “on” all the time. Give them space and time to manage life outside of work. 
  • Create an entrepreneurial organization. If your best recruiters are tempted to go start their own businesses, you might keep them on the job by re-aligning your compensation model and re-energizing your culture to be more entrepreneurial. Give people support, challenges and freedom to thrive.  

HR leaders are reimagining work and rethinking their team cultures to help people work better and feel more energized about their careers. Recruiters themselves are at the center of a new War for Talent—but with the right approach, your organization doesn’t have to fall behind. Take care of the people who take care of your talent, and they’ll keep delivering great results for years to come. 

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