HR professionals take note: the ‘talent wars’ are heating up. The pool of talent is growing, but companies are getting more aggressive with their recruitment efforts. If your hiring process and policy aren’t up to speed, there will only be chaff from the wheat to go around.

While economic uncertainty forced a decline in temporary and permanent hiring, it’s nowhere near the massive drop in mid-2020 or enough to negate the spikes in 2021. More importantly, with the worst of the inflation crisis over for now, businesses can look forward to diversifying and enhancing their workforces once more.

Now’s a good time to review your workplace’s recruitment system and see if there are areas for optimization. Spoiler alert: there’s always room for improvement because the world doesn’t stay constant. Below are some methods to maintain a competent workforce amid a highly competitive business environment.

Streamlining Recruitment
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Identify capability gaps

Any effort to improve a workplace’s proficiency, let alone introduce new products and services, requires the right hires. Many business leaders believe capability building is more crucial than ever, owing to uncertainties that lie ahead. Despite this consensus, just as many have yet to come up with a comprehensive capability-building plan, whether through hiring or upskilling.

For example, New Zealand’s egregious shortage of healthcare professionals has people making 100km trips to see one. A recent report even stated that the West Coast region—home to about 33,000 people—only has one pediatrician. Unsurprisingly, the country has to depend on foreign talent to fill local doctor jobs.

Identifying capability gaps is non-negotiable, especially when businesses are integrating more technologies into their operations. For this, HR departments can perform a skills gap analysis, which consists of the following steps:

  • Getting feedback through a meeting with team leaders
  • Determining the skills to be prioritized in development
  • Assessing current competency through surveys and performance reviews
  • Analyzing and acting on the data through recruitment or in-house training

With a clear idea of what the workforce lacks, you can know the most suitable kind of hire to add to it. The next step is to ensure the recruitment process is up to par. As the next several items will explain, skilled labor shortages are only scratching the surface of the hiring struggle. 

Be realistic about job descriptions

Job descriptions should be concrete and concise. Yet across social media and job posting sites, recruiting companies too often make the mistake of (but not limited to):

  • Making the list of responsibilities too long
  • Demanding too much from a specific job
  • Stating requirements irrelevant to the position or hiring process

Arguably, nowhere is this trend more prominent than in IT, where recruiters often demand years of experience for junior or entry-level positions. One deep analysis using natural language and regular expression (regex) found some vacancies for such positions requiring between 12 and 14 years of relevant experience. In contrast, most senior-level ones don’t ask for more than five.

Many job descriptions can also be notorious for stuffing an entire department’s worth of tasks for one position as if asking for a one-person army. While you can argue that a full-stack developer should be adept at multiple programming languages, it’s unrealistic to ask a potential candidate to be a master in all of them. There may be an I in ‘IT’ but not in ‘team’ or ‘department.’

Here are some ways you can make your job descriptions more reasonable.

  • Water down lengthy requirements to priority ones.
  • Avoid clichés and get to the meat of the matter.
  • Describe the workplace culture and its tech stack.

Such descriptions benefit both the applicant and the recruiter. The former become more aware of what they’re signing up for and be more motivated to do so. On the other hand, the latter can fill their capability gap more quickly. 

Address unconscious bias

Bias is inevitable in any recruitment process, regardless of the business or market it caters to. A recruiter may assure candidates that they don’t discriminate on the grounds of race, age, or sex, but experts say the more dangerous form of bias occurs unknowingly. 

This is known as unconscious bias, in which the recruiter may act contrary to their thinking that such actions would be socially unacceptable. According to Iris Bohnet, a behavioral economist at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, examples are rife in modern society, starting with an association of certain jobs with genders (e.g., females as kindergarten teachers).

One way companies are mitigating unconscious bias in recruitment involves blind hiring. This process involves redacting applicants’ personal information from their profiles, leaving only their work experience, skills, and credentials for the recruiter to peruse. Although promising enough to see some use, it might backfire if it:

  • Only diversifies the pool of candidates and not that of actual hires
  • Doesn’t consider the unequal access to resources and opportunities
  • Isn’t used with other de-biasing methods during the screening phase

Another approach is through artificial intelligence (AI), the argument being that it takes away the human factor from the hiring process. However, experts stress that AI can still show bias because humans can program them to do so. 

Both methods have yet to see widespread use, so minding your choice of words in creating job postings remains the most viable method. Inclusive language employs gender-neutral terms and avoids those that can appear outwardly biased (e.g., youth, English speaker). 


The past several years have been hard for businesses and institutions, and especially harder on their personnel. All the while, available talent remains limited, prompting them to take a more aggressive approach to recruitment. Nevertheless, streamlining their processes goes a long way in attracting the right person for the right job.