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Quiet Hiring: What Is It, Where It Comes From, And How It Benefits Us All

We’ve experienced many new workplace buzzwords in the past year, including quiet quitting, quiet firing, and now…quiet hiring. Gartner listed quiet hiring as a top prediction for the 2023 workforce, so you’ll want to understand the term as we progress through this year.

Here’s everything you need to know about quiet hiring, including what it is, where it comes from, how it benefits employers and employees, and much more. Let’s dig in!

Quiet Hiring Definition

Quiet hiring is a strategy companies use to fill talent gaps without hiring new employees. When the country’s economic state is uncertain, and it’s riskier – or less feasible – to hire fresh talent, quiet hiring can fill the gaps.

Quiet hiring means evaluating an organization holistically and understanding the skills of current employees. From there, if any existing employees are capable or can be trained to assume some functions of an open role, they’ll be asked to do so. 

Essentially, quiet hiring is acquiring new skills for the organization without hiring anyone new.

Quiet Hiring Often Requires Employee Development

While it’s possible that existing talent already has all the skills to fill talent gaps, it’s unlikely. Often, employers need to train employees to assume functions related to, but outside of, their professional expertise.

Professional development’s undisputed benefits make it a worthwhile investment for employers, even beyond quiet hiring. Such benefits include:

  • Better creativity
  • Performance improvements
  • More goal-oriented work
  • Better employee retention
  • More cohesive, functioning teams

Developing employees is necessary for quiet hiring, which benefits both employees and employers. It makes employees more marketable and fuels their careers; employers avoid a costly and involved hiring process while boosting their company’s overall success.  

Why Is Quiet Hiring Becoming Popular?

Until recently, employees and candidates had control of the job market. These conditions resulted in “quiet quitting,” where employees still showed up to work and cashed paychecks but didn’t put their all into their work.

Then, the situation changed. Many employees are nervous amidst a challenging economic climate with significant tech layoffs and hiring freezes.

While employees grapple with uncertainty, employers are under immense pressure to keep costs down. Unemployment is also at historic lows, making sourcing talent significantly more difficult.

All these factors create an environment where hiring is costly, and employees are committed to proving themselves to their organizations. 

Employers need to get creative to meet their talent needs, and quiet hiring is an excellent way to do so. It also allows employees to further prove their worth and grow professionally.

How Do You Take Advantage of Quiet Hiring?

As we’ve mentioned, quiet hiring benefits both employers and employees. Let’s dive deeper.


There are numerous benefits for employers when it comes to quiet hiring, including:

  • Increased employee retention
  • Saving time and money
  • Filling immediate talent gaps without a lengthy hiring process
  • Keeping employees engaged and productive
  • Expanding internal capabilities
  • Helping employers find high performers

When companies can’t afford to hire outside the organization, quiet hiring becomes an opportunity to strengthen the existing workforce. By investing in current employees, you’re boosting their performance and lowering turnover. You’re also identifying the best performers you can develop to lead the organization.

To best take advantage of quiet hiring, start by evaluating your workforce holistically. What skills does your organization have, and what skills do you need to develop? From there, you can identify which employees have the greatest aptitude for learning and whose skills are tangential to the ones you want to build.

Provide ample support and professional development to create employees who fill your talent gaps. Professional development can include:

  • Workshops
  • Mentorship programs
  • Developing hard skills (teaching new technical skills such as CRM tools, accounting software, or managing sales pipelines)
  • Developing soft skills (communication, problem-solving, time management, creativity, leadership)
  • Professional certifications


Quiet hiring may feel like you’re being taken advantage of since you’re being asked to do more work – work you didn’t sign up for. Although this can happen (more on that next), quiet hiring is, first and foremost, an opportunity.

Quiet hiring gives employees a chance to do the following:

  • Grow current skills
  • Learn new skills
  • Try new things
  • Further prove their worth to employers
  • Demonstrate more impact that can help with landing jobs in the future
  • Become better equipt to lead
  • Drive their long-term careers

Taking on new skills and demonstrating adaptability proves your worth as a potential leader. If you want to climb the corporate ladder, quiet hiring is the perfect opportunity to further your career.

Additionally, by taking on new work, you put yourself in a position to negotiate for better pay, benefits, resources, professional training, and other perks.

Quiet Hiring Red Flags

Quiet hiring comes with many opportunities but can be taken too far. As an employer, avoid the following red flags. For employees, be on the lookout for them and call them out right away.

  1. Lack of Professional Development

Leaving employees without support while they attempt new tasks sets everyone up for failure. 

To ask employees to fill skill gaps, employers must provide ample support. Professional development is essential for this process and builds talent that exceeds expectations.

  1. Unchanged Salary

Asking employees to take on new tasks and not compensating them appropriately will lead to resentment and burnout. Compensation must reflect expanding tasks and an increased workload.

Employees should negotiate their salaries before committing to additional work, and employers must be open to these conversations. 

  1. One-Way Conversations

Quiet hiring is a significant change for an organization and dramatically affects employees. Delegating work without being open to conversations about the process is detrimental to all. Optimizing the process will have a learning curve, so employers should be open to feedback.

Two-way conversations are critical. Employers should seek information on:

  • Where employees feel they can add the most value
  • If employees feel overloaded with their new workload
  • Whether there’s enough professional development to support these transitions
  • Anything else employees think is relevant

Other Cost-Cutting Recruitment Strategies

Quiet hiring is one major way companies can reduce recruitment costs. Here are a few others to consider.

  1. Expand Sourcing

The smaller your sourcing pool, the less talent you have accessible. To make hiring easier, look for talent in diverse places, including job boards, networking events, social media, and referrals.

Importantly, when it comes to job boards, look for niche job boards that pertain to your open roles. 

Crunchboard is TechCrunch’s job board that is excellent for sourcing tech talent. Dribble is a popular portfolio site designers use with a job board for sourcing these types of candidates. 

Getting specific helps you find the most qualified talent.

  1. Utilize Networking

Referrals and utilizing your network are great ways to reduce hiring costs. Allow everyone in the company to participate, and incentivize successful referral hires with bonuses. If an employee you trust refers someone they trust, the odds of that person working out are higher than a random hire.

  1. Optimize Job Descriptions and Postings

The more specific your job postings, the more qualified candidates you’ll attract. Avoid wasting time sifting through unqualified applicants by clearly listing job requirements and the types of candidates you’d like to see.

You’ll also want to tell candidates the benefits of working for your organization. Here’s a deep dive into creating optimized job descriptions.

  1. Outsource Critical Hiring

If quiet hiring won’t cut it, consider outsourcing the hiring process when hiring for your most critical roles. Fill these positions quickly and accurately to avoid the cost of a bad hire, which is usually around 30% of the role’s annual salary.

The need to hire efficiently is especially true for senior- and executive-level positions. When pressure runs high, and companies can’t afford mistakes, they need to execute these crucial hires flawlessly.

Jennings Executive specializes in matching companies with the best senior- and executive-level talent for their organization. We know how to help you build successful teams and generate value for your stakeholders.

Similarly, if you’re an employee who’s being taken advantage of by quiet hiring at your company, Jennings Executive can help you find a better job elsewhere. 
Whether you’re an employer or employee, Jennings Executive can help. Learn more today!

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