Debra Cruce
Debra Cruce is a seasoned academic executive search and human resources professional with more than ten years of experience in non and for-profit industries, including Higher Education, Healthcare/Life Sciences, Engineering, Education, Academic Publishing, and commercial organizations. Most recently, Debra served as Principal and Senior Consultant for Harris Search Associates, a leading search execution, candidate development, and client engagement firm. She’s held similar positions with Greenwood/Asher and Associates and 360HR as both a Senior Executive Consultant and Director of Client Services Delivery. Debra holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Corporate Communications and General Psychology from Florida State University.


    December 7, 2021

    November makes 10 full years that I’ve been an Executive Recruiter. Reflecting back, the business is ever changing, but more so now than ever. The “COVID era” continues to play a huge part in the general mix, as we’ve had to be resilient and flexible in how we conduct our business, how we communicate, where we report to work, how we maintain and develop relationships, what we value most in our professions, and how we juggle our personal lives.

    The world is fast becoming more and more virtual, something I don’t see changing as time goes on. Think about it, how often do we revert back to the old way of doing things once a new standard is set? As we settle into our new virtual reality, there are several ways that companies can be successful in attracting top talent, hiring that talent, and ultimately, the long-term goal, retaining that talent.

    If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve likely heard or read about the “Great Resignation” that’s unfolding in the job market. According to CBS News, 4.4 million people quit their jobs in September, leaving the number of unfilled jobs at 10.4 million for the month of October. This data suggests that Americans are changing jobs for a number of reasons…better pay, better opportunities, vaccine mandates, new business ventures, etc. etc.

    If nothing else, the pandemic has made people reevaluate their lives including their work-life-balance. Many of us now better appreciate the fleeting nature of life, as it goes by too fast. Existential questions are being asked: What am I doing with my life? Where am I going? Am I happy? Is my family happy? Do I want to do the same work for 5, 10, or 20 more years? The data suggests that people are, on a large scale, leaving their jobs in pursuit of answers! So, how can employers retain people in the face of this tidal wave of resignations and great awakenings? We’ll get to that.

    While the numbers look different in every organization, studies have shown individuals 30–45 years of age represent the largest margin of those leaving employers for greener pastures. Yikes! These are the people most companies need the most.

    From my experience and research, I’ve identified the following 4 tips that can help any employer be more effective at hiring great employees and keeping them:

      1. Start Thinking Like a Candidate

    When employers begin the hiring process, many often become too fixated in a sea of trivial details. This can really slow the hiring process down to a crawl. As a recruiter, I think employers should focus more on the basics and filling positions quickly. Can this candidate do the job? Does the candidate have the right attributes be successful in the role and is there potential for future growth, mentorship, and development? Finally, does the candidate fit well within the company’s culture?

    Candidates, on the other hand, tend be less focused on the small details and more focused on the bigger picture…pay, benefits, parental leave, when and where they work, flexibility with regard to work-life-balance, and job satisfaction. To be successful in today’s fast moving, highly competitive job market, employers must be thoughtful to the candidate’s perspective and expeditious in their hiring process, lest they run the risk of losing great candidates to companies that will.

      1. Get Back to the Basics

    Now more than ever, candidates are looking for opportunities that provide stability and fair compensation while preserving a healthy work-life-balance. If stability, pay, and work-life-balance are the focal points, then what happens when you give candidates that information up front?

    “PandoLogic’s data showed that, when employers added compensation to job titles and descriptions, candidates apply to a job as much as 12% more frequently than they apply for openings that do not display that information. When ‘bonus’ language is included, employers saw a 40% increase in application rate.” The Harvard Business Review

    When employers advertise compensation, benefits, PTO, etc., it’s important to be fair and competitive with the market rate and the geographical area for which the job is being performed, especially for traditional office positions. Personally, I lean on throwing the latter bit of my last suggestion completely out of the window, but for good measure, we’ll leave it for now. If you totally miss the mark here, your opportunity likely won’t resonate with the candidates you’re really trying to attract. This approach is not only smart, transparent, and reassuring; it prevents candidates from applying for opportunities that are under their compensation range.

      1. Hire at Warp-Speed

    It’s never been more important for hiring managers to make interviewing candidates a No. 1 priority. The need must be clear that interviewing isn’t a necessary evil; it’s a strategic priority! To be successful, you have to hold everyone accountable to being faster and more effective than your competition…lest you may come up empty handed. If you’ve participated in the pandemic real estate market, you know it’s on fire. The same is true of the hiring climate, and the climate generally for that matter. Sticking to the tactics you used in 2019 will leave you with dozens of open positions and a loss of organizational agility and revenue.

    Try to reduce your hiring process down to 7-10 days. Don’t over obsess about the little stuff such as education over experience. It’s nice to have a fancy degree, but on-the-job experience is what really deciphers who’s ready to take on a role and who’s not. Resumé presentation over virtual or face-to-face interviews is a sticking point too. Remember, anyone can pay a resumé writer to make them look great…that’s why resumés alone are a poor indication of how well a potential employee will perform on the job.

    For the love of your company, call some references (preferably people who’ve recently worked with the candidate before including previous managers). But don’t call without prior consent, and only if an offer is forthcoming.

      1. Finally, Treat your Employees like Valued Human Beings

    You’re managing real, live human beings with feelings and emotions. They’re not robots, computers, or office equipment. Let them know you care and that they’re part of the bigger picture. With hybrid/remote office work, people can feel isolated, siloed, and forgotten. As a manager, it’s your job to bring your team together.

    As a recruiter, I can say with full confidence and experience that it’s super hard to steal a person when they have a close-knit work network where they feel valued, appreciated, and cared for. More times than not, my experience tells me that the number one reason employees move on isn’t the result of the company they work for, rather it’s the manager they report to. With this in mind, all managers should be invested in building caring and healthy relationships with staff. It’s one of the best retention tools available.

    We all want to feel valued. A “thank you” from the boss or a public shout-out in front of peers makes everyone feel good. This kind of show of attention and care goes a long way toward making people want to stay. So, get excited about celebrating your team and their victories!

    Lastly, have trust and faith in your people. Provide your team with tasks that they can succeed in. Offer challenges so they can learn and grow, but don’t nitpick every single contribution they offer. Instead, save nitpicking for the really important stuff. Overdoing it will only ensure your employees contribute the minimum. Stretch, take chances, and learn new things without fear of being blamed if it goes awry. Help staffers climb the corporate ladder and always, always promote from within any chance you can.

    What changes in recruitment and hiring are you seeing in the current job climate? Do you need support in any of your current recruiting efforts? We want to hear from you! Email our team to learn more about how Lumina’s team of experts can help support you, or visit our website to learn more about Lumina Datamatics.

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