Recruiting Creative Talent in a Talent Shortage

June 27, 2021

Jessica Ozrek, CEO, Elysian Staffing

There is quite a commotion in the current talent market. And this makes us ask ourselves, what is going on?

The sharp decline in applications to open roles is a common theme in almost every conversation I've had with companies over the past few months. If you've looked at news headlines, you might attribute it to a handful of issues: unemployment benefits, desires for remote work, and ongoing concerns about the virus.

As a staffing professional, I'm aware of these issues. Let’s dive into these as well as a few other things you’ll want to consider to attract creative talent in this market.


Believe it or not, some talent acquisition teams are juggling as many as 100 - 400 open roles. That's certainly not every company, but it is common. Still, internal talent acquisition professionals have written about the exhaustion of working, in some cases, 60-to-80-hour weeks, trying to identify the best candidates they can find. Or any candidates they can find in some cases.

As a result, the urge to enlist two or more staffing agencies is virtually impossible to ignore. I empathize and find this knee-jerk reaction easy to understand. Though it’s intuitive, it's not delivering results for many companies right now. I believe it's the wrong approach.

I've spoken with a good number of businesses this year who share the experience of tapping multiple agencies only to receive no candidates.

Here’s why this happens: When recruiters at different agencies receive multiple roles, they scramble to quickly identify candidates in a race against other agencies and the clock.

How recruiters prioritize roles can depend on fees, the salary of the position, and how quickly the company has responded to talent submissions previously. Sometimes, requisitions can be deprioritized depending on their scope and scale. If it’s too difficult of a search, for example, a recruiter will work on an easier-to-fill role for a quick placement.

Working with Elysian Staffing through our proven process can be a game-changer. Our process allows for keeping your role a top priority, improves your ability to monitor the search and decreases the time to an accepted hire.

We take the time to understand your company and culture, only take on roles that match with our core specialization and offer transparent and prompt communication.

If what you are doing now to find talent in today’s market isn’t working, try something different. What’s the definition of insanity? Trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Let's check out some other talent shortage issues.


A recent survey showed that as many as 50%, if not more, of respondents, would consider leaving a job or not applying to a role if hybrid work was not an option. More than half of respondents agreed they would take a 5% pay reduction if they could continue working from home.

Creatives have generally been more amenable to remote and flexible workspaces than professionals in other industries. In the last year, productivity has remained consistent or improved. Some are more reticent, citing concerns about team cohesion and building.

What is clear is that hybrid work is the minimum talent are expecting. Most want fully remote and will go for companies that can offer it.


Creatives were hit hard by layoffs last year. It's fair to ask if unemployment benefits have affected applicant behavior amid a wave of open roles.

New research has found that cutting unemployment benefits hasn't led to meaningful changes in employment. It’s still early to draw conclusions, and it’s unclear whether cutting unemployment benefits will compel more people to look for jobs. And remember that many parents and those who are immunocompromised are legitimately reluctant about returning to onsite work with COVID variants spreading.

With that said, companies that have raised their salaries are seeing growth in applicants. This points to employee-related incentives that can spur applications.


Opportunities for career development through skills-building, mentorship, promotion, and higher pay are highly attractive to talent.

Putting clear and visible policies in place to support DEI, employee mental health, and family needs are other fabulous ways of telling the market that you care, respect, and value them.

Ping-pong tables and happy hours are excellent perks to highlight outside of a job description, but communicating policies and development opportunities upfront differentiates your employer brand and addresses the priorities of candidates.


The pandemic isn't over as much as we'd like for it to be. Many of us have concerns about ourselves, our colleagues, and our loved ones as new strains of the virus and breakthrough cases surface in the news.

This matters to those in a job search and employees who feel empowered to explore other roles that may offer greater flexibility. This is a reality that employers must consider when speaking with prospective talent and their current employees for retention.


If your current hiring strategy and workplace policies aren't giving you the results they once did, why not try something new? As we've discussed, there are a variety of reasons businesses are having difficulty attracting talent.

Health concerns make remote work more appealing to talent. But it goes further than that: remote work gives many employees greater peace of mind and balance without sacrificing productivity.

Enacting workplace policies to meaningfully deliver on matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as mental health and professional growth, is a surefire way to demonstrate your values and care for talent.

Finally, try using our proven process to help you quickly identify top talent, even in today’s talent shortage market. If you'd like to learn more about our process, I welcome you to get in touch!

Warm regards,

Jessica Ozrek