Top 5 must-reads for applicant-first hiring

Over the past 12 months, employers have been forced to navigate an unrelenting storm of hiring issues. From attracting and hiring quality employees during a paradoxical worker shortage (thank you, “great resignation”) to offering new workplace options like part-time or permanent telecommuting and much more.

Ultimately, today’s evolved workplace can be summarized by one big mind shift: applicants and employees are now in charge—not employers. The sooner employers acknowledge this transition of power and adapt their hiring and background check processes to reflect an applicant-first approach, the better they can compete for and hire the top talent to help grow their businesses during this unique time.

Knowing this, we compiled a list of the top five blog articles from 2021 that cover some of the most pressing or, in some cases, most practical applicant issues facing employers in the year ahead.

The Great Resignation is impacting employers everywhere. Call it “historic churn” or a “record-breaking quitting streak,” but workers across all industries throughout the country have been quitting their jobs in record numbers in what has become known as the “great resignation.” Though the latest numbers for October 2021 are down slightly to 4.2 million “quits” from a high of 4.4 million in September, employers today are grappling with how to attract and retain top talent amid the current “quit-happy” environment.

The Society for Human Resource Management article, “Will workers continue to leave their jobs in record numbers?” provides employers with salient insights about the industries and regions most affected and possible rationales behind the mass exodus. Taken together, the information can be used to pre-emptively adjust hiring and background screening practices in the hardest-hit areas and create more applicant-friendly recruitment processes and employer brands.

Employers must adapt to evolving drug testing trends. Last year, many employers skipped or postponed employee drug testing due to the prohibitive logistics of the pandemic. While many applicants were under a mandatory quarantine, others who weren’t did not want to visit, much less enter a collection site.

A year later, First Advantage analyzed the impact of decreased drug testing, and the impact it had on workplace risk is not good. The First Advantage blog article, “When Employers Stopped Drug Testing During Covid-19 Post Accident Drug Positivity Soared,” explains this and other trends. What’s more, you’ll see why employers are embracing innovative, new candidate-friendly instant testing methods that offer big benefits to businesses and workers.

Empathy is essential in hiring today. As we plow through our second straight winter in a pandemic, many applicants and employees continue to juggle untold responsibilities—kids, schoolwork, aging parents, and more—often all at the same time from the dining room table, while on a video call. First Advantage Chief Human Resource Manager Michael Pilnick acknowledged the added stress in an article he wrote at the close of 2020 and encouraged HR leaders to integrate empathy into their daily discussions.

With this in mind, the LinkedIn blog article, “5 Reasons Why Empathy Is an Essential Recruiting Skill, According to Talent Leaders,” supports Michael’s position by explaining how empathy in hiring can help employers reduce the likelihood of screening out great candidates for bad reasons, fuel a less stressful background screening and interview process and much more. By taking the time to empathize with candidates and employees so you can understand what keeps them up at night, hiring managers and recruiters can help employers build a candidate-friendly brand that attracts top talent.

Integrate diversity and inclusion (D&I) at every level of hiring. “Mention diversity in the workplace and more than likely you will get a positive response. But how do you know that your [hiring] practices support unbiased decisions?” That’s the big question posed by First Advantage Chief Product Officer Ranjeev Teelock in a recent thought leadership article in which he offers 5 real-world practices for eliminating bias in hiring decisions.

However, a must-read LinkedIn article, “5 Ways to Reduce Bias When Screening Candidates — and Find More Talent (,” offers hands-on advice and super practical steps you can take today to mitigate bias in the screening process. Smart ideas like anonymizing applications prior to reviewing them and delaying the background check until after a candidate accepts an offer can help HR leaders practice the D&I principles they preach.

Small Businesses are ground zero for hiring in 2022. It’s no secret that small businesses are the backbone of American business. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small companies—defined as having 500 or less employees—created 12.7 million net new jobs from 1995 to 2020, compared to 7.9 million net new jobs created by large businesses during that same time.1

Today, as small businesses continue to focus on staffing challenges, many are well-positioned to lead the American workforce in the coming months and years ahead. The First Advantage blog article, “Small Business Priority #1 for 2020: Hiring Quality Employees,” shares how these companies can regain their hiring momentum with the latest tips, trends, and technologies for attracting, hiring, and retaining the “right” employees to support their growing small business.

As you get ready to launch your 2022 hiring initiatives, take a moment to consider how these important issues might impact your ability to recruit a quality workforce in the months and years ahead. At First Advantage, we’re here to help. Please contact us anytime to learn more.



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