Effective Recruiting in a Candidate-Driven Market

For all the recent talk of “The Great Resignation,” hiring managers in virtually every industry have learned two hard truths during the pandemic: the current employment landscape is very much a candidate-driven market, and attracting top talent has never been more difficult.

To land top talent during an uncertain economic recovery, recruitment professionals have to go above and beyond to find and hire the best candidates in their business.

It’s a Candidate’s Market

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most powerfully disruptive event in living memory. It has reshaped almost every aspect of modern life, especially how we work. Its impacts play out across every sector of the business world, from retailers operating on reduced schedules to the acute disruption still being felt across global supply chains. 

As a result, there has never been such intense demand and competition for skilled, experienced employees. The balance of power between employers and talent has shifted considerably, with the best candidates being in a position to pick and choose which positions to pursue.

This shift has completely changed the game for hiring managers and recruitment professionals. Here are some tips for adapting to this new paradigm.

Tips for Developing a Candidate-Centric Hiring Process

To attract and secure the best people in your industry, you need reliable data and a smart approach to how you use it. Beyond that, though, it’s vital to think about the hiring process from the candidate’s perspective.

Reduce Friction in Your Application Process

Asking candidates for the same information multiple times, bad mobile application experiences, lack of one-click applications, inaccurate autofill functionality — there are dozens of ways to dissuade great candidates from applying, regardless of how attractive a role may be. 

According to the Candidate Experience Survey conducted by research firm Future Workplace in 2016, as much as 60 percent of job seekers polled across a range of industries had a negative experience during the application process, meaning there is significant room for improvement — and a valuable opportunity to attract and land the best prospects. 

Make the application experience as easy as possible. Don’t ask candidates to reenter information repeatedly, and only ask for the information you really need.

Implement a Clear but Inclusive Screening Process

Given today’s candidate-driven market and the number of people actively looking for new opportunities, it’s vital to have a clear screening process in place.

Screening processes are just another tool in your recruitment toolbox, so don’t be afraid to be flexible. Being overly restrictive in your screening could cost you some outstanding candidates.

Many companies rely on pass/fail logic to screen candidates; applicants either meet a set of specific requirements or they don’t. While this is useful for evaluating basic criteria, it can inadvertently eliminate otherwise-strong candidates with atypical career paths as well as discriminate against applicants from underrepresented backgrounds.

Airbnb has been particularly proactive in this way by making recruitment of nontraditional candidates part of its diversity and inclusion initiatives. In 2021, Airbnb partnered with OneTen, an organization that encourages tech companies to broaden the focus of their recruitment pipelines and hire candidates without traditional four-year degrees.

Be Authentic and Transparent

It’s never been easier for candidates to be selective about opportunities to pursue. This makes company culture and values critical considerations for companies hoping to attract top talent.  

Authenticity and transparency are crucial for establishing and building trust. Be upfront about the actual responsibilities of the position: its specific roles, department, team, and what candidates can expect from the interview process. 

Put your company’s values front and center during the hiring process. Data from the Brandon Hall Group suggests that employer branding investments can make a business three times more likely tohire a quality candidate.

This kind of transparency should also extend to compensation. Concealing how much a position pays is disrespectful to candidates and can potentially waste everyone’s time. If you have to use ranges, keep them as tight as possible.

Move Quickly and Act Decisively

Far too many companies spend weeks, even months, screening and interviewing candidates, only to be surprised when other firms snap up the best people. Data from Robert Half indicates that this was among employers’ top three challenges in the second half of 2021, with 17 percent of senior managers experiencing difficulty moving quickly enough to hire the best candidates.

Top talent doesn’t stay on the market for long, which is why it’s vital to act decisively when you find great people. Moving quickly demonstrates to prospective hires that you recognize the value they can bring to your organization — it shows them you’re serious. Keep the number of stakeholders involved in the hiring process to a minimum and streamline your interview process to be comprehensive but efficient.

Tipping the Scales 

Rather than “The Great Resignation,” it might be more accurate to describe recent shifts as “The Great Leveling.” Employers have had the upper hand for years and many companies are struggling to adapt to the recent shift in power dynamics.

This doesn’t need to be a negative for employers who truly value their people and offer strong opportunities. Rather than seeing recent trends as threats to their business, savvy employers can use this shift to highlight what makes them attractive to candidates and demonstrate their commitment to prospects by adopting and advocating for more candidate-centric hiring policies.