It’s a candidate’s market. Recruiters know it, and candidates certainly know it. So why don’t more of today’s recruiting strategies reflect it? In an effort to empower recruiters with strategies they can apply in a candidate’s market, here are three tactics to deploy right now.
1 - Enhance Your Writing Skills
If it’s clear that recruiters are operating in a candidate-driven market, then why do job postings continue to read like an employer’s wish list? Employer-focused postings often include language like "the ideal candidate must possess" and "duties of the job include" and "ABC Company is looking for hard-working, dependable individuals."
Take a look at any of the major job boards and you’ll find posting after posting that focuses on what employers want in a candidate. The postings are written as if companies are doing candidates a favor by letting them apply for a job.
Instead, job postings should read like enticing marketing pieces. Recruiters are trying to sell the opportunity to work with their company and attract the right candidates, not screen them out or discourage them from applying. Recruiters also want to catch the attention of passive candidates that are just starting to test the waters. Therefore, job postings should start with the job’s top benefits. What’s in it for the job seeker? What does your company offer talent that your competitors don’t? How can you show candidates that your company really is a great company to work for? If you can answer these questions in your postings, you’ll gain a significant competitive advantage when it comes to engaging talent.
2 - Advocate for Candidates
In talking with recruiters and hiring managers, I’m continuously amazed at the criteria still being used to select employees. We are still looking for candidates to "sell themselves," and we still expect candidates to fall over themselves to prove they are the right candidate for an open job. The truth is, it just doesn’t work that way anymore.
Today’s candidates have a multitude of options. Therefore—perhaps now more than ever—it is up to recruiters to advocate for, coach, and empower candidates toward that ideal job. Candidates shouldn’t have to sell their value to a recruiter. On the contrary, a recruiter should be the perfect job-search partner—someone who will sell the candidate to hiring manager, help the candidate sell their strengths, and ensure a job placement is the right fit for them.
Today’s top candidates also can afford to be quite selective because they know they are in high demand. They are vetting you even more than you are vetting them. They aren’t acting excited about your position because, frankly, you aren’t selling them on it. Sometimes you are even trying to talk them out of the job, which doesn’t take much coaxing because they weren’t too sure about it in the first place. It’s not that candidates today lack enthusiasm, or the ability to sell themselves, or strong follow-up skills. It’s that they have five other companies courting them and they are trying to determine if any of them (including you) are a better opportunity than what they have now.
If recruiters can effectively sell the candidate on all the great reasons they should engage with your company, then it’s much more likely the candidate will consider your job opening.
3 - Know When Not to Negotiate
Many recruiting professionals can attribute at least part of their success to an ability to negotiate. It is, of course, a strong skill to possess and develop in business. But it’s also important to know when not to negotiate.
In my work with talent acquisition departments as well as staffing and recruiting companies, I’ve observed that candidates are turning down offers at an increasing rate. I’ve seen more offer turn-downs by candidates in the past six months than in the previous six years! In almost every case, the company offered the candidate less than what he or she wanted. And in every instance, the difference was $5,000 or less in annual salary. That difference comes out to about $400 a month, or $2 an hour, that caused the company to lose out on someone they were confident could help their business.
We need to get away from the mindset of negotiating the terms of every hire. It is the same concept as buying a house in a market where they are going for 10% above asking price. You wouldn’t try to low-bid on your dream house. We are in the same type of market now with candidates. We need to give great candidates what they are asking for, or even more, so we ensure they join us.
The pendulum has swung from employers to candidates. It actually swung a while ago, we just didn’t bother to change. But by adapting our mindset and approach, we can still attract, hire, and retain great talent in this tight market.
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