The year was 2007. With a relatively strong economy and unemployment rates below five percent, the United States seemed to be riding on the crest of a prosperous wave. Candidates were content, recruiters became creative, and competition became fierce. Sourcing the most talented individuals became a challenge that required growing pay scales, greater perks, and attractive work environments. All in all, the talent was in control.
Fast forward to 2009. With the United States in the midst of its Great Recession, downsizing and layoffs became the norm. Unemployment rates raced toward the double digits as families struggled to make ends meet. While many recruiters lost their jobs, others became familiar with a new type of market: this time, the employers were in control. Desperate candidates could no longer demand the competitive pay and benefits that they once enjoyed.
As one CNN Money article recently declared, this year has ushered in a return to the candidate-driven market of 2007. With unemployment rates back down to 4.4% as of this May, skilled workers now have options for employment.
What does this mean for the future of recruitment?
- Used Car Salesman In a candidate-driven market, talent is approached on all sides by recruiters who promise big and deliver little. In order to stand out among the crowd, a successful recruiter must act less like a salesman and more like a true partner. Try nixing the “Best Opportunity Ever” email taglines, unsolicited LinkedIn messages, and random Facebook inbox resume requests. Begin an authentic relationship with your candidates by picking up the phone, asking the right questions, and meeting in person when possible.
- What Can You Offer? Because candidates are now running the show, recruiters must become more competitive than ever. They must determine what the candidate values, whether it is higher pay, better benefits, flexible schedules, ideal location, or superb workplace culture, and market the open position so that it satisfies those goals. This requires forming a personal connection with the candidate and getting to know his/her needs and desires.
- Keep it Moving Because the interview process can take over 20 days, many candidates lose interest or find other opportunities by the time an organization is ready to bring them aboard. This is especially true in a candidate-driven market, where skilled labor has the advantage over the recruiter. In order to ensure that interested candidates sign on, recruiters and hiring managers must ensure that the hiring process moves as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
- LinkedIn Difficulties In a candidate-driven market, most talent is passive. Therefore, candidates are less likely to spend time on LinkedIn, check their messages, or update their profiles consistently. During this time, recruiters are responsible for picking up the phone and starting compelling conversations with passive candidates regarding their future career goals and opportunities.
Most of all, recruiters must observe that transformation that occurs between employee-driven markets and candidate-driven markets. When authority changes hands, new strategies must be implemented.
How will your strategies transform during the candidate-driven market of 2017?