To get an idea of what the hiring market will look like in the year ahead, we spoke with three executive search professionals who all specialize in the hardware and home improvement sector.
Wolf Gugler of Wolf Gugler Executive Search says the year has started off well for him, with new searches being generated in the roles of sales, operations, and sales leadership. He notes that the first two months of the year are typically active as many employees wait until they are paid their annual bonus before quitting for another position.
While the market is indeed active, says Stephen Borer, partner at DMC Recruitment Group, it’s “challenging,” and “the most difficult recruitment market for an employer that I’ve ever seen in 25 years.”
For this industry, issues like succession are being felt, especially at the dealer level, with a lack of candidates from a new generation to fill the gap in stores. For salespeople, supply chain disruptions mean they often don’t have anything to sell, so they’ll seek a company that does have the inventory and vitality to meet their needs.
Add to that the fact that other sectors are actively hiring now. “For the most part the market’s good and people are sucking up candidates,” Borer notes.
Matt Frost, recruitment consultant at Lock Search Group, expects 2022 will largely be about recalibrating client expectations. “Gone are the days where you could expect three to four candidates to be a part of the final interviews.” This approach may not work so well in such a fast-moving market as exists today, he warns. “If you have a candidate that meets all of your requirements, the recommended approach is to not waste time getting to the offer stage.
“We have seen a number of clients wanting to look at similar candidates to compare. This has led to companies losing out on great candidates, because the process was simply too drawn out.”
Gugler agrees. “There truly is a war for good talent, which requires employers to get creative.” In fact, in 2021, for the first time in years he saw a client offer a substantial hiring bonus to land a coveted candidate.
As we continue through the pandemic, Frost says employers are looking more than ever for hires who display resiliency and digital fluency. “Candidates are often looking for a hybrid work model. Some companies have adapted, while others have not. This will no doubt have a direct impact on retaining top talent throughout 2022 and beyond.”