How to Boost Staffing Your Brand Home (Part 1)


In the last few years alone, the time required to hire a new employee has increased by almost 77%. As if that wasn’t enough, COVID-19 significantly impacted staffing, especially for positions requiring in-person attendance. 


To get a better perspective on this trend, we talked with AnyRoad’s Head of Talent, Nicole Khazanedar. Nicole has over a decade of recruiting experience, matching exceptional talent with seed-stage to unicorn startups. Before AnyRoad, Nicole spent several years at Connery Consulting, where she built technical teams in-house for leading technology companies like Blend, Instacart, and Uber.

In part one of this interview, Nicole will answer four questions to help brands gain a deeper understanding of the new recruiting landscape, how COVID-19 has impacted hiring, and offer some strategies for brands trying to stay competitive and adapt to this new reality. 

Q: It seems many employers are facing challenges hiring right now. What’s your perspective on what might be driving this?

The talent market is unlike anything we have seen in the last ten years. Obviously, with COVID, 2020 was a challenging year that left brands striving to fill positions that were left vacant during the lockdown and also trying to reevaluate their forecasted headcount planning as regulations change.

But what we’re starting to see now is that we’re coming out of it really strong. We’re seeing huge investments on the VC side, and brands are making equally significant investments technologically and operationally, choosing to use the “quiet” time before a more concerted return to normal to improve technology and operations. Leadership teams are looking to hire more talent, and there are more funds being allocated to recruitment. So, I think we are seeing a huge push to hire across all sectors, and there is a very competitive market for talent across the board.

Q: So COVID has changed today’s recruiting landscape. What’s the biggest impact you’ve noticed in hiring, especially when it comes to in-person positions? 

I think COVID has shown us that the majority of jobs could be done from anywhere. With everything shutting down, there was a massive shift to remote work. We saw a lot of migration out of large cities, like San Francisco, New York, and LA. People wanted more space. And so, we’ve seen a considerable shift toward flexible working arrangements, flexible hours, and remote work. 

Outside of COVID, there are several factors that have influenced this change in the hiring landscape. Another piece of it is the influx of Gen-Z, a new generation of people entering the workforce. We’re starting to see more people moving away from that hustling, work-hard-play-hard culture of Millennials, where the idea of a work-life balance was undervalued.

We are seeing a shift to both employees and companies prioritizing their mental health, prioritizing boundaries, and I think that’s definitely a shift that’s influencing the workforce in a way we haven’t seen before. 

Q: With that in mind, how can brands stand out to candidates? 

Well, the talent branding piece is super important because recruitment starts even before a candidate walks through your door. It starts well before when they first become familiar with your brand.

A strong brand starts with word of mouth from current employees who really love and embody the company culture and naturally share it with their friends. Companies that index on a strong culture and a strong talent brand ultimately become more successful in recruitment over time. Whatever companies can do to truly embody their mission, their values, and their culture can only help recruitment down the line.

I know that sometimes when a brand is moving really quickly, trying to launch a big initiative, or hit a target, some of these intangible pieces might get thrown to the wayside. Employers looking to remain relevant and competitive in this market are going to need to embrace these new changes, whether their team is remote or not. 

Strategies that could help a brand move toward this direction include implementing employee wellness programs and adding different perks and benefits to their typical work structure so that their staff can feel supported through their company culture. So I would encourage all companies and brands not to lose sight of these essential people-centric pieces because, at the end of the day, people are your most valuable asset.

Q: And what would be your number one tip for brands seeking to ramp up hiring?

It’s crucial to establish a true partnership between recruiting and the business, ensuring the two are aligned and calibrated as early as you can in terms of what roles you are looking to fill, which will help your recruiting teams come up with an ideal employee profile.

It is vital to make sure that business and hiring managers have a solid understanding and a good relationship with their recruiting and talent teams. That is a true partnership. The more aligned your talent and business teams are, the better and the more efficient your processes will become from a hiring perspective. 

And also, don’t be afraid to experiment with different strategies and ideas. Once the world adjusts to a new state of normal, it might be worth it for a brand to experiment with things like hosting an open day to attract people and raise awareness around the type of company you are and your team culture. I think that can be especially helpful.

To summarize part one of our discussion with Nicole, we collected 5 key takeaways to help you boost staffing your brand home and getting the most out of your hiring process: 

  1. We’re seeing a shift toward flexible working arrangements, flexible hours, and remote work, which is even more expedited with COVID.
  2. With Gen-Z entering the workforce, we’re starting to see more people prioritizing their mental health and well-being.
  3. Companies that index on a strong culture and talent brand ultimately become more successful in recruitment over time.
  4. Recruitment starts even before a candidate walks through your door. It starts from their familiarity with your brand.
  5. Making sure that business and hiring managers have a true partnership with their recruiting and talent teams is vital.

If you’re interested in learning more tips, tricks, and strategies to boost staffing your brand home, read part 2 of our interview with Nicole focused on key technologies brands can leverage to achieve their hiring goals. 

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