Future of Work

Getting Hiring Right During ‘The Great Resignation’ – Riding It Though With Creativity

The last few years have seen wild changes in the world that pretty much no one anticipated.  Swings in the stock market, COVID lock downs and openings and then lock downs again and now a war in the Ukraine with a rogue Russian invasion.  Inflation is at a 30 year high, and stability seems to be lacking wherever you look.  Especially in the professional field as tons of people are now resigning their jobs and heading elsewhere for work.

When will it all end?  When will it get back to what we were used to?  Is the world going to hell in a handbasket?

Hardly.  This is one of the best times you will ever have in your career to implement creativity.  Because when everyone else sees bad times and doom, you see an advantage.

We just have to learn how to ride it through.  Like a surfer who never knows what type of wave will come, how big it will be or from what direction it will come in, we have to do our best to anticipate and ride it with creativity.

So here are a few tips that will help us ride out this storm and emerge more successful for it:

  1. The US Military
    Each year, the US Military transitions roughly 200,000 back to civilian life.  Some end their signup agreement, some want to transition to the private sector and some just need a change.  So in the era of the great resignation and tons of new openings across just about every sector of the workforce, these transitions become one of the most underutilized yet amazing source of hires.Often passed up for one reason or another, Military folks come with some turn-key skills that can be used in your job sector, no matter what it is that you do. There are a couple of unique attributes that I find consistent with military hires, and that is a particular attention paid to completing the mission no matter what — and an ability to focus on that mission regardless of whatever else is taking place.  Imagine what that can do for your particular opening now vacated by the great resignation.
  2. Hire Non-Linear
    I have hired over a thousand people in my career and hiring people who have your expected qualifications is a mistake.  The thing is that most people will only hire linear – meaning that if a resume does not have a particular job, or job title or particular order of career history, then the person will be passed over for another who has the exact matching qualifications on their resume.  This is a mistake.  Instead of hiring the expected qualifications, try and branch out to see if there is some non-linear attributes that click for you.If you are in the mortgage business for instance, perhaps a resume that has some volunteer work with a local charity or church makes sense for you – as it shows some fiscal skills.  Or if a person has restaurant experience that may qualify for a sales opening.  Again, you have to get creative to be able to utilize the great recession and turn it into an advantage for you.
  3. Hire on Attitude, Not Experience
    Let’s face it, some applicants that have tons of experience in a particular field can come to the job with some pretty heavy baggage.  That ‘seen it all before, done it all before’ attitude can be useful occasionally, but more often than not it’s a drag on innovation and creativity.  You cannot be innovative and creative if you do not have the right attitude that embraces change and accepts new ideas, so sometimes just hiring on experience can be a fruitless task.Instead, hire on attitude.  If there are gaps in employment history – like a mom rejoining the workforce, take a chance on her attitude not the lack of her experience.  Or a kid coming out of college – here is another opportunity to hire on attitude not experience. When we hire on attitude, we creatively allow for the applicant to ‘learn on the job’ – and sometimes learning on the job is exactly what we need to help spark that new idea, that new approach or that new way of doing business that we never thought of before.
  4. Hire from Outside Your Field
    It never ceases to amaze me who much value you can get from hiring someone who has never been in your field.  I talked about this recently on a podcast I was on for car dealerships.  We talked about how most dealerships hire car salespeople —  from other car dealers!  Like a game of musical chairs, they have consistent issues finding quality applicants because they keep hiring the same people over and over again.Instead, try to hire from other fields.  A person who is a Project Manager may just make a terrific car salesperson – if given a bit of training and encouragement.  The same skills that make someone a good Project manager (getting stuff organized, on time and on or under budget) may be tweaked just a little bit to deliver some spectacular sales results.  Use the great resignation to get creative.

All of the 4 items listed above take some creativity to implement.  But I argue that this type of creative thinking is exactly what you need at a time when the great resignation is happening and there is so much unpredictability in the world.  Because when we are able to think creatively – we are not stuck in the dynamic of what worked yesterday that we hope will work tomorrow.  We are able to make a clean break with the past and ride out all the change creatively – just like a surfer is able to ride the approaching wave of uncertainty.


Written by Nir Bashan.
Have you read?
The three leadership truths that can be hard to learn by Fiona Logan.
The Surprisingly Simple Key to Success: Make Sure Your Business Relationships Serve You Well by Craig Archibald.
Computer Vision: the New Business Imperative for Labor Shortage by Emrah Gultekin.
3 Tactics to Maintain Institutional Knowledge When You Have C-Suite Turnover by Chris Burke.

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Nir Bashan
Nir Bashan, founder and CEO of The Creator Mindset LLC, teaches business leaders how to harness the power of creativity to improve profitability, increase sales, and find more meaning in their work. His clients include AT&T, Microsoft, Ace Hardware, NFL Network, EA Sports, JetBlue, and many others. He has also worked on numerous albums, movies, and advertisements, winning a Clio Award and receiving an Emmy nomination for his creativity, and was one of the youngest professors ever selected to teach graduate courses at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He lives in Orlando, Florida. His new book is The Creator Mindset.: 92 Tools to Unlock the Secrets to Innovation, Growth, and Sustainability (McGraw-Hill; August 2020). Nir Bashan is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.