How to Hire Competitively in a Candidate-driven Market


How to Hire Competitively in a Candidate-driven Market

Now that the power in the recruiting relationship has shifted, candidates who only a short time ago would easily tolerate slow hiring, no feedback and hiring manager arrogance will simply now drop out of the hiring process or gladly accept an offer from another firm.

In addition to re-examining literally every recruiting strategy, process, and tool, companies need to make other changes to improve their hiring processes. Here are some of these changes are listed in the order in which they occur during the recruiting process:

  1. Your recruiting strategy must shiftA�a�� if you have a flexible corporate recruiting strategy, it already has a component that allows it to easily shift all of its components into a�?candidate-driven mode.a�? If you havena��t already planned for the shift, you may need to adopt a new a�?passive prospecta�? growth strategy. This type of recruiting strategy includes centralized recruiting with a focus on a strong employer brand, rapidly scalable hiring capabilities, proactive direct sourcing, a focus on employed top performers, a talent pipeline, and a strong relationship building and selling component. Because the competition is so intense, the strategy will also have to include a competitive analysis that ensures that your recruiting approaches are continually superior to those of your talent competitors.
  2. Prospect and candidate research becomes essentialA�a��A�candidate needs and expectations will change frequently in this highly competitive marketplace. As a result, market research and survey techniques will be required in order to identify how top candidates look for a job, what criteria they use to select a target company, and what criteria they will use to select their best offer. In a candidate-driven market, your ability to fully understand and to sell prospects and candidates becomes the No. 1 new success factor.
  3. Employer brand image improvementA�a�� brand image becomes much more critical in a candidate-driven market. Dona��t expect recruitment advertising to work very well anymore; your targets will look for others outside the firm to say good things about you. Without a strong and highly visible viral employer brand image, you may literally have no chance of landing a single top performer.
  4. Shift from active to passive recruiting toolsA�a�� the recruiting tools that worked on the active prospects who dominate an employer-driven market will not work when you have to seek out and convince employed individuals (the so-called passives) to consider your jobs.
  5. Stronger relationships and trust are required to poachA�a��A�desperate applicants dona��t require a relationship or any courting. But prospects who are in high demand (who already have a job) require a relationship that builds trust merely to get them to apply for an outside job. Obviously the power shift has already increased employee turnover. But because smart firms and managers will dramatically ramp up their retention and counteroffer efforts, it will be especially hard to poach away top employees from other firms.
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  7. Your corporate webpage and social media presence must improveA�a��A�in an Internet and social media world, most will get information about your firm from neutral sources. As a result, your corporate web page and social media landing pages must still be judged as a�?stunning and compellinga�? by those who visit it. They must be compelling and clearly superior to your talent competitors. Authenticity becomes a critical success factor when prospects have so many choices. If you are to have a formal application process on your corporate webpage, it must be amazingly quick and painless. Using LinkedIn profiles instead of resumes to apply will give your firm a major competitive advantage in this tight labor market.
  8. Position descriptions must be compellingA�a��A�because top prospects have numerous job choices, your currently dull position descriptions and job ads will instantly drive them to other firms withA�more compelling jobs and descriptions. Unrealistically high qualifications will also severely limit applications, because of the large number of firms that are now seeking the few highly experienced/highly skilled individuals looking for a job.
  9. The resume screening process must be more accurateA�a�� the current screening process which I label a�?we have so many applicants it doesna��t matter if we miss a few good onesa�? can no longer be tolerated because it may have as high as a 33 percent error rate. Sorting software and hiring criteria that have been proven (a high correlation with on-the-job performance) must be used to ensure that no qualified candidates are prematurely rejected for minor reasons.
  10. Referrals are No. 1 because of your employeesa�� selling capabilitiesA�a�� referrals have become critical because we now have metrics that show that they produce the highest quality hires. But because selling prospects and candidates will become at least 50 percent harder, they must become the primary and highest-funded recruiting source. The strongest feature of referrals is that your employees are the best salespeople for convincing skeptical individuals to come work at your firm. In a candidate-driven market, your top employees are the most effective finding, relationship-building, and selling tool that you have. The target should be making referrals over 50 percent of all hires and the highest-rated source for quality of hire.
  11. The mobile platformA�is the No. 1 communications platformA�a�� after referrals, no recruiting channel is more important than the mobile platform. Prospects and candidates must be able to do everything from applying to accepting jobs directly and seamlessly from their phones. Because it has the highest message response rate, all recruiting communications and messaging must migrate to the mobile platform.
  12. The interview process must be improvedA�a�� no other recruiting process needs more revision than this one. It must be faster, painless, and you must have a remote interviewing capability. But more importantly, up to 50 percent of interview time must now be spent on selling the candidate if you expect to land a single top performer. If you are slow to assess top candidates, they simply wona��t be around when ita��s time to make them an offer.
  13. You mustA�speed upA�your hiring processA�a�� when candidates have multiple options and offers, slow hiring will mean that you will lose up to 70 percent of candidates who have other offers. Both recruiters and hiring managers need to work tirelessly in order to take every single delay out of the hiring process. For the few highly sought-after candidates, a one-day hiring process will be required.
  14. Recruiting and hiring manager behaviors must changeA�a��A�you will need better-trained recruiters and hiring managers who have lost their arrogance and replaced it with the ability to excite and sell candidates. You will need higher-quality recruiters who are simply exceptional at selling difficult to convince prospects and candidates. Unfortunately, the demands for excellent recruiters will soon far outstrip the supply (so begin hiring them now).
  15. The offer process must be faster and betterA�a��A�everything about the offer process will have to be made faster. In addition, offers will have to be data-driven and more personalized in order to make your offers more competitive. Exploding offers and identifying and meeting the job acceptance criteria of candidates will be essential. Salary surveys will have to be done much more frequently and they will have to be regionalized and much more accurate.
  16. The candidate experience must improve dramaticallyA�a�� even if your recruiting process doesna��t change, the average recruita��s assessment of your current candidate experience at your firm will shift from okay to dismal, simply because the power shift has allowed candidates to expect much more. In addition, with the pervasiveness of social media, everyone will know almost immediately if your candidate experience isna��t perfect. You wona��t be able to make that quantum level of improvement without more accurate and frequent candidate experience measurements.

When that power shifts and prospects and candidates have multiple options, only recruiting approaches that have extremely powerful personalization, relationship building, and selling componentsa�?will produce acceptable quality hires. Resources must be shifted to proactive approaches, like top performer referrals, direct sourcing, and identifying talent through their work, approaches that are specifically designed to effectively lure and sell fully employed top performers who are not looking for a job.

Final Thoughts

In a rapidly changing volatile, uncertainty, complex and ambiguous world, it only makes sense to assume that the recruiting marketplace will change also.

After numerous years of operating in an employer-driven market where numerous candidates applied, few dropped out during the hiring process, and almost no one rejected your offers, hiring managers and recruiters are in for a shock.

The shock will come because my research indicates that most recruiting leaders and almost all hiring managers are not yet aware that the market has shifted. Not being aware of the shift will mean a lot of frustration among recruiters and recruiting leaders when they realize that their recruiting processes are suddenly ineffective.

Beyond the frustration, failing to adapt in time will unfortunately cost their corporations millions of dollars unnecessarily as a result of the large number of lost or weak hires.