Overcoming Q3 and Q4 Hiring Challenges

Obstacles in Securing Candidates: Overcoming Q3 and Q4 Hiring Challenges

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but it’s getting harder and harder to secure top talent? I thought we were in a recession—so where are all the candidates? Believe it or not, we are in a very candidate driven market, and to compound the problem, the third and fourth quarters pose a certain set of challenges that we must try to overcome.

Hiring in the first and second quarters are easy…well, easier. New budgets are approved, and we all have our New Year’s Resolutions posted on our refrigerators. In big red writing we have either “Lose 10 lbs” and “Change Jobs”.

Whenever we are hiring in the first quarter, the biggest challenge is waiting for bonuses to be paid out before we bring on a candidate. Once March is behind us, the flood gates really open up and Q2 begins the feeding frenzy. My biggest months historically have always been in the second quarter.

By the time that the third quarter comes around, budgets are beginning to dry up and vacations really slow down the hiring processes. Then as the end of the third quarter comes around, we get to the point where the candidate would miss out on your bonus (even a prorated one) and they of course would be walking away from the bonus at the company they’re leaving.

In the fourth quarter, budgets are really dwindling and Thanksgiving and Winter Holidays really slow down the hiring process. So, you can see that there are many more challenges when hiring in the later two quarters than in the earlier two. I wanted to share with you some creative ideas I’ve seen companies execute to overcome these challenges.

I’ve seen companies:

  • Give more stock at signing to bridge the gap
  • Put them on the payroll before their official start date—no benefits though
  • Significant sign-on bonuses (okay, not so creative, yet most effective)-Increase their bonus the following year. Most target bonuses have dropped from 20% to 15%. Make their bonus for the following year 30% (a one-time deal).
  • Hasten their merit increase schedule. So, if they are scheduled to have a merit increase of 2-4% based on their annual review. Have two reviews in one year where they can earn a merit increase.
  • Increase title or vacation time (you’ll be surprised how many MSLs really care if their title is Sr. MSL vs. MSL). You can increase their vacation with both of you knowing there is no way they could take that much time off, but at least they can get reimbursed for the days, bridging the gap on the lost income.

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