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The Great Reshuffle: Evolving Your Application Criteria

If you’re having a tough time hiring for open positions, you’re not alone. Not by a long shot. 

Nationwide there are nearly 11 million open jobs, and roughly 6 million workers ready, willing, and able to fill them. Do the math. The competition is stiff.

As if those numbers alone aren’t daunting, now you also have to factor in the phenomenon known as the Great Reshuffle.

What is the Great Reshuffle?

Essentially, the pandemic has changed how workers view jobs. No longer simply content to “grind it out” day-after-day, millions of workers have quit their jobs in search of more rewarding opportunities. They’re looking for higher pay, better benefits, and above all else, great flexibility.

And because workers now have some new-found financial stability due to pandemic-related issues (government stimulus packages and the fact that many workers moved back home, among other factors), they’re in no hurry to jump back into the job market. Hence, the aforementioned gap between jobs and workers continues to widen.

While every industry is being affected, job sectors that traditionally offer lower pay and less flexibility are the hardest hit. According to a recent US Chamber of Commerce report, among the highest “quit rates” are Hospitality (6.4%), Wholesale (3.8%), and Retail (3.8%).  

How to prosper from the Great Reshuffle

The bottom line, you need to rethink your entire application criteria. Whereas once you focused exclusively on a specific target candidate, and then stuck to your guns, changing times demand that you think outside of the box. Here are some salient points to consider.

1. Put your money where your mouth is

Offering a better package is table stakes these days. With workers now having the upper hand, candidates are considering multiple offers before they sign on the dotted line. 

That’s why many businesses are upping their pay. Target recently announced that in markets with the toughest hiring competition, they’re raising their starting pay to $24 per hour for workers in both stores and distribution centers. Nationwide their minimum wage is $15.

This thinking extends to additional benefits as well. To stand out to applicants (and to keep existing workers from jumping ship), consider sweetening the pot with better health benefits, paid time off, tuition assistance, and other perks.

2. Explore new ways to offer flexibility

As the pandemic changes the job market landscape, flexibility is the top priority workers are looking for these days. A recent Snagajob survey of 1,872 hourly workers found that 45% of respondents are looking for a more flexible work schedule in their next job. Additionally, 69% reported that they want to see flexible scheduling mentioned in job postings.

Keep in mind that flexibility can mean many things. 

Yes, there is the obvious nugget of flexible scheduling. It’s paramount to give people the freedom to choose their hours, especially if they have considerations like school or children. But there is also the possibility of a flexible hybrid work environment. If people can work at home occasionally, for jobs that don’t require them to be on-premise, go for it. Don’t forget a flexible work structure, such as allowing people to rotate among jobs. Someone can work as a waitperson during a morning shift, and as a delivery person on a night shift, depending on their schedule. And last but not least, move towards the flexible treatment of individuals. Borrowed from white-collar hiring, it can apply to any position. Allow people to be themselves and work however they’re most comfortable. Simply put, don’t treat everyone the same.

3. Streamline hiring

Another issue candidates have is the laborious process of finding a job and getting hired. Too often they don’t hear back from employers for weeks (if at all). 

Make sure to build a process that keeps people in the know. First, they’re often going to choose an offer that comes sooner, so you snooze you lose. But also it shows the kind of company you are if you stay in touch. Also try to expedite the hiring process as much as possible, removing unnecessary steps. Home Depot has recently accelerated its hiring process, offering next-day job offers that reduce the frictions candidates are so weary of.

4. Consider skills they can grow into

As mentioned above, it’s old-school to focus only on a specific ideal candidate. Given the dire worker shortage, you’re well-advised to expand your pool of talent. If you’re hiring for a customer service rep, consider people who may not have exact experience, but rather show good people skills. Have they coached youth sports or volunteered at a food bank? If you’re hiring a bus driver, have they been an Uber driver? You can always train the person on your specific equipment and needs. Be open-minded.  

5. Find workers you haven't considered before

Following up on the point above, it’s also wise to expand your talent pool to segments you might not have considered before. This includes teens who have never had a job before. They have to start somewhere, and if they start with you, they’re more likely to stick around for a long time.

Also, consider severely underutilized segments. Like non-violent offenders. An example of a missed opportunity might be someone convicted of a drug offense in a state where that state has now decriminalized the offense. While there’s no rule set in stone, depending on each employer’s situation, it may be valuable to consider non-violent criminals. If you want to learn more about this topic, consider reading the book Untapped Talent by Jeff Korzenik.

Similar untapped markets include “hidden candidates” with physical disabilities, gaps in employment histories, family care responsibilities, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Benefit from the Great Reshuffle

Change can be good, as long as you evolve too. Staying one step ahead of the shifting world of hiring puts you in the driver’s seat for attracting and retaining talent amongst the scarce supply of workers. 

Darrell Jones |
Darrell is Snagajob’s Manager of Content & Copywriting, where he enjoys writing and editing advice that helps workers and businesses align and succeed. His first hourly job was totally chill, bagging ice at an ice cube f-f-f-factory.