“I’ve Got 99 Problems”: Prioritizing Recruiting Efforts to Hire Efficiently in a Competitive Labor Market

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Sep 13, 2021
This article is part of a series called ERE Digital: Fall 2021.

There are many things you can do right now to manage today’s tough hiring challenges. And that’s the problem — with so much that you can do, it’s often difficult to determine what you should do to ensure efficacy and efficiency. 

At ERE Digital (Sept. 23-24), I’ll be delivering a presentation called “‘I’ve Got 99 Problems’: Prioritizing Recruiting Efforts to Hire Efficiently in a Competitive Labor Market,” during which I’ll be talking about how to:

  • Identify, prioritize, and launch process improvements in partnership with your TA team to enhance hiring 
  • Use crowdsourcing in meaningful ways to rank your most important needs
  • Achieve buy-in for your initiatives and ensure successful change management

A Multitude of Tasks

These challenges have always been important to address in talent acquisition, but they are especially important these days because many companies are juggling increased pressures and often decreased resources. That’s why it’s so vital to prioritize efforts right now. 

At the core, such prioritization centers around change management — that is, how do you determine which changes to make now, to make first, and then, of course, to make sure they those changes stick. 

The Changing Nature of Tasks

On one hand, what makes this hard to do is not just that there are a lot of tasks that could get done. It’s also that the tasks themselves are different than they have been in the past. For instance, remote and hybrid work has created all sorts of tasks and actions in the hiring process. And with continued uncertainty related to the pandemic and the economy, you’re constantly being forced to deal with changing processes, pulling back on some projects, building up others.

Determining which loud noises to pay most attention to and which to silence is not easy. But you have to remain nimble and flexible in a climate that seems to change on an hourly basis. 

For us at Guild, last quarter our priority was speed, butts in seats. We really needed to fill roles quickly. As a result, my role was very reactive as we were ramping up our recruiting team to address very pressing staffing needs. Unfortunately, at the time, this meant that I couldn’t focus as much on long-term efficiency.

However, now that the team is staffed, I can shift to a more proactive focus on a more long-term timeline. We are not so reactive anymore. We’re now really focused on improving our hiring process, doing things to optimize req approval and using the systems we have in the best possible ways. 

This tug between being reactive and proactive happens all the time for most TA professions. I know that many would prefer to focus on the latter, but for me, satisfaction comes from both. When working on fixing immediate problems, I get instant gratification by checking items off a list and getting stuff done quickly. More than that, I feel good seeing my team feel good as they achieve instant wins. 

Ultimately, though, I do feel more satisfied when I can focus on longer-term flow by continually building and improving processes. But again, the tension between short- and long-term goals can be challenging, which brings me back to the importance of prioritization.

Making Prioritization a Priority

To help determine where to focus time and effort, and then execute on changes, I use the following steps:

  • Talk to people
  • Make a list
  • Crowdsource and gather feedback
  • Determine lift, need, impact, and pace
  • Identify the team to support the change
  • Identify and develop a change management plan
  • Launch the plan
  • Check in and retrain as needed

If all this seems like a standard to change management, it is. And it works. The problem is that people can sometimes be too eager to take action without pausing to determine whether that’s the best action right now. Additionally, just because none of this is rocket science doesn’t mean it isn’t fraught with all sorts of challenges. For example, if people are resistant to change, the launch stage can be tough.

I’ll be diving into this topic more during my presentation at ERE Digital, Sept. 23-24. Use EREEMAIL50 to receive 50% off registration at I hope to see you there!

(This article, as told to ERE editor Vadim Liberman, has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

This article is part of a series called ERE Digital: Fall 2021.
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