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As We Heard It: Lessons Learned From Today’s Talent Shortage

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24 Seven and PerfectCorp recently sponsored the Global Beauty Tech  Forum; the event drew hundreds of professionals in Beauty to explore technology's impact on beauty brands, the retail experience,  and the future of work.  In a panel discussion on talent management, Karen Moon of Trendalytics and Erin Russell of Spotlyte/Allergan discussed hiring tactics for securing well-matched professionals to advance strategic goals, despite today’s talent scarce economy:

Rising role of freelancers:

To keep critical initiatives moving forward whilst searching for full-time additions to the team, companies rely heavily on freelancers to fill the talent gap – whether truly temporarily or as a freelance to full-time hiring strategy. This has been an effective tactic for both panelists, and one they foresee pursuing. Erin: “We found that freelancers were a really great approach especially on the creative, design, and digital side. It was a great way to get things done, while we were able to all try each other out, and to see if it’s a fit all around.”

Aim for the best hire, no matter the worker classification:

Expanding on the freelance tip, the panelists discussed the notion that due to talent scarcity, their companies are taking a hybrid approach to recruiting. The aim is to find the best hire for the role, regardless whether the person across the hiring desk is a freelancer or someone looking for full-time work. Their advice: companies need to be flexible with their attitude and remember the most important thing is to find the most talented or most skilled individual to move the ball forward.Erin: “Taking a hybrid approach started out of necessity because we were trying to build a team from scratch so quickly. Twenty percent of our current team started out as freelancers. It’s been a really successful, great approach. If I have an open position, I will consider candidates who are full-time candidates, but also will look at freelancers. To us, it’s about finding the right person, and it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s full-time or freelance.”

Rewire hiring techniques:

To keep the hiring process moving most efficiently and effectively, the panelists spoke about rethinking their company’s conventional hiring process. What parts of it are slowing down the process or not adequately identifying talent? What parts should be handled by HR, and what parts are better managed by the direct hiring manager? Karen: “If you have a huge HR team, you may miss some good people during screening. Sometimes it’s about giving an opportunity to someone who might not meet a specific screening profile. We try to open up our approach to find people that we might not have realized would be a good match. We also try to change the hiring conversations to include open ended questions to get a sense of how the person thinks or how passionate they are. We are trying to get at the things that don’t come through screening a resume.”Erin: “We directly conducted the phone screening process instead of HR. Those conversations and setting them up is super telling about the candidates. Inspired by the edit test from publishing, we also applied practical testing techniques to functional roles: if you were being hired for development, we asked you to white board something, if you were being hired to write, we asked you to edit something. It was really about finding the best talent for the role.”

Sell the opportunity:

With competition for talent so cut-throat today, the panelists agreed that it’s critically important to prepare a well-honed pitch about the complete employment opportunity – not just the job at hand, but the overall employment experience. It’s never been more important to make sure there’s a meaningful match between the candidate’s values and the company’s mission and vision. Career development and continued learning are highly sought after by job seekers today. Listening to what the candidate is saying about their values and aspirations, and ensuring that those desires are woven into the career plan for that individual will help with their retention once an employee.Karen: “I personally think a lot about career development for the people we hire, and how we move someone within our organization as they grow. It’s about understanding why this person is coming into the role, and staying active in figuring out how to develop this person and how they expect to grow. In order to get and retain great talent, I don’t have the resources of a large company, so I need to be sure we are able to move them where they want to go in their professional development.”

Admit Recruiting isn’t a core competency:

Talent fuels the organization and is thus too valuable to risk losing out on the best candidates. Recruiting and securing the right individuals takes strategy, enormous effort, and specialized expertise that does not always exist in most organizations. The panelists admitted that most often it’s best to rely on experts like 24 Seven to take the reins so that company leaders can focus on the business, while the recruiting partner fills the talent funnel. Karen: “You realize to do recruiting right it takes so much time and care. We wasted a lot of time not having a process or a partner. For one open role, we could have 250 applicants.”

Hire future leaders not skill sets:

While functional skill sets are important, most can be taught or filled with freelance talent to propel an initiative forward. If you find yourself with a candidate that shows signs of exceptional promise, don’t miss out on the opportunity to bring on a potential major contributor to the team because of a few job requirement shortcomings. Karen: “We are always hiring future leaders. We look at candidates and envision what it will be like to bring them along for our growth ride and make it positive. So as an executive team, we actively think about what does the future of this organization look like now, and what will it be in 12 months, and how do we bring in people that we can develop as we scale.”For more Beauty talent insights and job market trends, download the 2019 Beauty Job Market Study.