As we watch this year end and the next begin, one thing remains the same. It’s a job seeker’s market. As recruiters we can tell you (and our annual study of the hiring market corroborates), job candidates are more confident and discerning than they have been in years. Top shelf talent is more passive and hard to reach as ever. And employers must invest in the candidate experience to market the employment opportunity with their company as seriously as they invest in the customer experience.
Despite this new reality, some employers still operate with no particular urgency when it comes to converting well-suited candidates (both functionally and culturally) into employees. Here’s why this approach is a high-risk gamble.
Candidates Have Taken the Wheel
Hiring managers who see themselves in the driver’s seat are deluding themselves. Talent holds the cards – particularly passive candidates in high-demand roles. When employers draw out the recruiting process, their most desirable first and second choice candidates either lose interest or accept more timely offers. The most sought after applicants today are interviewing with multiple companies and are making decision who to move forward with earlier in the process. Fast moving companies are ready with their best offer before dawdlers have even begun thinking about which elements to include in the employment proposition.
What Impression Are You Making
What a hiring manager may see as a thoughtful, thorough (albeit long-ish) hiring approach, a job candidate may see as a snapshot of how things are done at the company. Bureaucratic. Inflexible. Indecisive. Does the protracted process contradict how important the role was originally positioned? Is a lack of communication or an inability to make a decision a hallmark of the culture? These are just a few negative thoughts candidates may begin to consider, potentially turning them off on the opportunity altogether.
One Shot –So Make It Your Best
The most in demand candidates today are the passive ones. Confident and content, this A-list talent is gainfully employed (i.e. not job seeking), successfully accomplishing roles that are hard to fill. It’s going to take a fabulous opportunity with a lucrative offer to convince them to leave a comfortable work situation. More money and enviable benefits are just the start. Talent today expects clearly defined career pathing, reward and recognition for expertise, professional development, and perks that are personally meaningful.
Sell Yourself, Employer
With more jobs open than job seekers to fill them, employers need to do a better job of selling the opportunity and the company as a must-make stop on a candidate’s career journey. This is especially true for less established companies, like smaller brands or new entrants to a category. Remember, the passive candidate has a sure thing going, and, if they’re with a pedigreed organization, they’re going to require even more convincing.
Hiring standards are important and we aren’t suggesting that these get sacrificed in the name of hiring speed. But when a candidate who’s nearly perfect is found, employers have got to be fast or find themselves last.