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a different perspective on human capital

A Note From Our CEO: The Treehouse Perspective on Today’s Job Market

Kate Pletcher

Friends & Partners,

I’ll cut right to the chase: this job market is nutty! I’m asked for my thoughts on the hiring landscape on a near-daily basis, but it’s been several years since I’ve felt compelled to send out a more formal communication. We are in unprecedented times, so I’d like to share some thoughts and insights that may help us navigate the current job market… and will hopefully allow us to be better partners to each other!

I’ll start by highlighting some very real Treehouse data: In 2021 we had 14 candidates decline new job offers. This is a 17% increase over last year, and a 180% increase from 2019. Ugh. In the history of Treehouse, we’ve never seen a market where candidates have so many options… and we know we’re not alone in seeing these trends. The “Great Resignation” had nearly four million Americans quitting their jobs every month in 2021. Whether we like it or not, it is decidedly a candidate’s market.

That said, folks, it’s critical we take a good, hard look at our hiring practices and flesh out any issues that might cause rockstar candidates to pursue a different path. Here are several critical considerations for your recruiting and hiring processes​.

This is no time for ego: Gone are the days when a household name, an exciting growth story, or a promising new product is enough to attract top talent. Not every candidate will need to be wined and dined, of course, but organizations need to take a more proactive “selling” approach earlier in the process… particularly for “A” candidates. We have numerous examples of candidates becoming disengaged in an interview process because they felt it was one-sided – with the burden of proof falling solely on their shoulders. Give more time for questions, provide more employee stories, talk about the importance of the role, share thoughts about the culture, and engage candidates in an authentic conversation.

Keep things movin’ and shakin’: A slow-moving interview process is hands-down one of the key reasons we’ve seen our clients lose out on top candidates. Try to ensure a 24-hour turnaround on scheduling, interviewing, feedback, and next steps. To keep high-potential candidates excited, engaged, and connected, offer a cadenced, structured, and intuitive interview experience… which brings us to our third point:

Design a process and stick with it: A less structured interview process can be okay, but don’t lose candidates to sloppiness. Organizations don’t need an overly-sophisticated interview process, but they do need an agreed-upon approach and timeline – Who is on point for scheduling, communicating, and managing the interview process? Who will be conducting interviews? What interview format will each interviewer use? How many stages of interviews? What are the decision-making criteria? Who has decision rights? (Side note – this is SUPER helpful for us to know too, as it eliminates a lot of back-and-forth and confusion around scheduling and other logistics!)

Make sure your offer is competitive: Don’t lose out on a great hire with nickel-and-dime strategies! It’s a safe bet your candidate is considering other options, so when you find the needle in the haystack, act swiftly, clearly, and competitively. We know, compensation isn’t everything, but it is a way to illustrate how much you value a new team member… and make sure to consider the very real cost of losing a great candidate.

Be as flexible as you possibly can with remote/hybrid work: This is a biggie, and the numbers speak for themselves! Response rates to in-person roles are noticeably lower and we consistently lose interviews when candidates learn that roles cannot be remote or hybrid. A recent Gallup study showed that 45% of Americans were still working remotely or partially remotely as recently as September of 2021 and that nine out of ten wished to continue to do so.    We get it, not every role can be remote or hybrid, but take the time to seriously evaluate whether it’s an option.

We know better than anyone that recruiting top talent is challenging, with so many variables outside of our control. In a market like this, there is no room for errors. Candidates have more options than ever, so we have to be at the very top of our game. I hope you’ll take a moment to consider these insights… and as always, I welcome any questions, thoughts, or reactions you may have. We truly value your partnership and look forward to working together to be the best team we can possibly be!

Many thanks,