Quiet Hiring: What Employees Think and What Employers Should Do

Published on June 8th, 2023


Quiet hiring is a relatively new hiring practice that involves hiring new employees without making a public announcement. Instead, companies quietly identify and recruit potential candidates from within their existing workforce or from a network of contacts. This can be done through informal conversations, job shadowing, or trial projects.

There are a number of reasons why companies might choose to use quiet hiring. One reason is that it can be a more cost-effective way to find new talent. When companies hire externally, they typically have to pay for advertising, recruiting fees, and relocation costs. Quiet hiring can eliminate these costs, as companies can find and hire new employees from within their existing pool of resources.

Another reason why companies might choose quiet hiring is that it can help them to retain top talent. When employees are given the opportunity to take on new challenges and responsibilities, they are more likely to stay with the company. Quiet hiring can help companies to identify and develop these high-potential employees without having to make a public announcement about their plans.

Of course, there are also some potential drawbacks to quiet hiring. One concern is that it can lead to resentment among employees who are not selected for new opportunities. Additionally, if quiet hiring is not done carefully, it can create confusion and uncertainty among employees about their future with the company.

What Employees Think About Quiet Hiring

A recent survey of employees found that a majority of them (63%) are aware of quiet hiring practices. Of those who are aware of quiet hiring, 42% believe that it is a positive practice, while 31% believe that it is a negative practice.

The survey also found that employees who are more likely to view quiet hiring positively are those who are confident in their skills and abilities. They are also more likely to be satisfied with their current job and to believe that they have opportunities for advancement within the company.

Employees who are more likely to view quiet hiring negatively are those who are less confident in their skills and abilities. They are also more likely to be dissatisfied with their current job and to believe that they have limited opportunities for advancement within the company.

When employers quietly assess employees and promote those who stand out, it sends a mixed message to the workforce. It implies that what truly matters is not their actual performance, but rather what the decision-makers perceive. Consequently, employees shift their focus from improving their job performance to seeking ways to stand out, creating an unhealthy rivalry among colleagues.

The nature of quiet hiring, being largely informal and unspoken, exacerbates this rivalry and makes it difficult to regulate. This can lead to a toxic atmosphere, fueled by an underlying sense of legitimacy supported by the organization.

Another issue associated with quiet hiring is proximity bias. With more companies adopting hybrid work models, simply being physically present in the office may be viewed as putting in more effort. It becomes harder for remote workers to demonstrate the extra time and effort they invest when they are working from home.

Furthermore, managers face challenges in evaluating remote employees, requiring them to adapt their approach and put in extra effort. This places remote workers at a disadvantage. Additionally, quiet hiring sidelines part-time and flexible workers whose working arrangements might be perceived as a lack of commitment.


What Employers Should Do About Quiet Hiring

Research indicates that high achievers can be remarkably more productive than average employees, making it understandable why employers are keen to recognize and reward their exceptional performance. However, the story behind quiet hiring is more complex than it seems.

While high-performing individuals deserve recognition, it is crucial not to overlook the potential of "average" employees. Although they may not seek the limelight, they possess abilities that, with support and encouragement, can lead to remarkable achievements. Disregarding this quiet contingent is not only unfair but also detrimental to business success.

Quiet hiring places the burden of development, self-improvement, and motivation solely on the employees, while absolving employers of any responsibility. Instead of being a progressive strategy, it becomes an excuse for inaction. It disregards the development potential of most employees and undermines their crucial role in maintaining organizational stability.

Furthermore, quiet hiring fails to acknowledge the desires of many employees who are content in their roles and focused on improving their expertise. They may not aspire to promotions or public recognition, but they still deserve recognition and rewards for their consistent performance.

Quiet hiring neglects the majority of dedicated and efficient workers who contribute significantly to the organization. It is important to remember that their lack of vocal ambition does not equate to "quiet quitting." They should not be overlooked for salary increases or other rewards tied to exceptional performance.

If you are considering using quiet hiring, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, it is important to communicate with your employees about your plans. Explain why you are using quiet hiring and how it will benefit the company and its employees. Second, be transparent about the selection process. Make sure that all employees who are interested in new opportunities have a fair chance to be considered. Finally, be mindful of the impact that quiet hiring can have on employee morale. Make sure that employees who are not selected for new opportunities are still valued members of the team.

Quiet hiring can be a valuable tool for companies that are looking to find and hire new talent. However, it is important to use it carefully and thoughtfully in order to avoid any negative consequences. By communicating with employees, being transparent about the selection process, and being mindful of the impact on morale, employers can use quiet hiring to their advantage.

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HireQuotient has launched an automated talent sourcing tool for finding and engaging with the best candidates. It comes embedded with ChatGPT, making it easy for recruiters to send hyper-personalized messages to candidates across multiple channels. With EasySource, recruiters can forget the hassle of external or internal hiring and find candidates that are truly deserving of the job. 

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Radhika Sarraf

Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.

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