How to Stop the Musical Chairs Hiring Madness

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When talent is leaving faster than you can hire, what should eCommerce Executives do next?

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“Well, there goes another one.” In recent months, more eCommerce Executives and their HR Partners are finding themselves saying those same words. We’re in a crazy competitive hiring market right now. Employees are fleeing companies left and right. And just when you think you’ve got a great candidate about to come on board, they ask for 100% remote work, pet insurance, and a chance to work from Italy six months out of every year. When they sign and the team is ready to start the onboarding, they call you puzzled after renegotiating with their current employer and rescinding the offer they were excited about a week earlier!

As a fast-growing digital recruiting company, we’ve seen the struggle firsthand. We’ve met countless candidates who have multiple offers on their tables.

Candidates accept your offer, then change their mind (they’re victims of this crazy market, too!). The carrots that companies are dangling in front of prospects are getting longer, shinier, and more expensive by the day. Even your “safe” employees who are snug and cozy in their role with your company are getting contacted by recruiters all day long (how dare they!).

As a VP of Marketing or an eCommerce VP, where do you go from here? How do you manage such a ruthless and quick-changing hiring landscape when you’re trying to build an eCommerce and performance marketing team?

There’s no crystal ball or magic wand to answer this one, but we do have a few strategies that we’ve put to the test ourselves and found successful in digital executive recruiting.

Sell the Company, Not Just the Job  

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You have a lot to offer the right candidate, and it’s not just salary and benefits. After all, the future is bright for eCommerce growth as the pandemic has given a great boost to Digital transformation in retail. Being part of an industry that’s the present and future of work and daily life means job security. It means opportunities to learn and grow. It means developing and using skills that are currently in demand and will continue to be in demand for decades to come.

These things can be so much more valuable to candidates than a dollar figure. Sure, money matters, but long-term advantages like a secure future can speak much louder. 

Know Your Purpose as a Company and eCommerce Industry Leader

Who you are as a company and an industry leader matters. Your company doesn’t just have a mission but also a purpose behind its existence. Share that purpose and what makes you special to work for with your candidates. This helps your company stand out when candidates have multiple offers on the table and can become a competitive advantage of sorts.

This isn’t just beneficial to the candidate, either. Companies can use purpose to be more selective about the candidates they hire. Yes, we know it sounds counterintuitive to be selective in the midst of a hiring shortage, but we’ll argue that choosiness is even more important now. That’s because hiring the wrong candidates today won’t really help you long-term. They can actually do more harm because they’ll either churn themselves out or stay with your company and continue to be a poor fit and limit your progress.

Using purpose as part of the hiring process can help you find candidates that fit your purpose. When they’re excited about what you stand for and understand what you mean to the industry, they’ll be more likely to strengthen that purpose.

Build a Solid Benefits Package

eCommerce recruiting leaders are taking on more of a marketing role when interviewing candidates. It’s no longer enough to conduct a basic Q&A and offer up a letter. Nowadays, companies have to be strategic in how they pitch a job to candidates to ensure not only a good fit but also an interest in working for you.

One powerful tool in marketing a job is the benefits package. Top-tier candidates expect attractive benefits and are less inclined to consider companies that don’t offer one (or do a poor job of describing it in the interview). 

Your recruiter needs to be the resident expert when it comes to benefits. Too often, they don’t know enough about the entire package to be able to articulate it well during the interview. That’s a problem, especially when candidates are interviewing with other companies who will do a much better job selling the benefits angle to their candidates. 

Recruiters should take a crash course on the company’s benefits package and be able to answer candidates’ questions. Give benefits a large chunk of the interview time instead of treating it like an afterthought. Share why your benefits package is more than just industry standard so candidates will get excited about it.

Create More Value with Perks that Matter

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Aside from benefits, companies should take equal care to create workplace perks that employees actually want. The tropes of free pizza Fridays and fully stocked kitchens are played out. People want more from the places where they work. It’s your job to figure out what matters enough to your employees that they just can’t get anywhere else. 

Here are some ideas we’ve seen trending recently that actually work:

Doggie Daycare

Dogs got the best end of the stick when companies shifted to work from home. But if you’re calling employees back to the office, the dogs end up with a raw deal. Fill in the gaps by offering a dog sitting service. Or better yet, let employees bring their dogs to the office one day a week.

Mental Health Weeks or Retreats

The pandemic made millions of workers more conscious about their mental health. Continue the trend by offering mental health days or even full weeks or retreats so they can recharge and steer clear of burnout.

Volunteering Opportunities

If you have a mission or a cause, let employees chip in and support it. Allow volunteer opportunities during work hours to boost morale (and improve your company image!). This will also strengthen your company culture and create ways to socialize outside of work, which will help team bonding at work and will impact culture significantly.

Work/Life Balance Options

Work/life balance matters to employees now more than ever. Get on board by offering flexible working hours and/or more paid time off.

Offer Incentives for Internal Referrals

Money talks. Your employees know people, so offer to pay them to recruit their friends. After all, they’re the experts on your company culture and know who might fit well within your organization. 

Now is not the time to let your foot off the gas. Preparedness and creativity will be your best defense against this weird game of musical chairs hiring.


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Elise de Saint Didier

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Elise supports DTC and b2b organizations in growing and scaling through hiring the right talent. She spent 15 years as an eCommerce leader building successful organizations.

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