The new world of Recruitment.
How to navigate ghosting, catfishing, low-unemployment, high-demand and increased uncertainty in the world of work.
It’s a weird time in the world of employment right now. To quote Hunter S.Thomson “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
You already know about record-high employment, the skills shortage, and the squeeze coming from tighter immigration rules. However, the volume of unfilled open vacancies is still considerable, and the market of available candidates seems small. To put it another way: if you need to find the best fit for your firm, they are probably already working for your competition, and you might need to do something different to win. For firms, that means – if you do the same activities as all your hiring competition, you will get lost in the mix. If you want to hire the best talent, you need to get up in their attention span and sell them the position.
As a recruiter that means you’ve got to reach out and talk to that many more people, says Claudia Johnson, director of internal recruiting for Addison Group, professional staffing and search firm. “You’re also up against the challenge of new graduates accepting multiple offers and working one offer against the other. They are in the driver’s seat,” she says. We are now at a stage where candidates are “ghosting” potential employers now – once the most offensive behaviour of recruiters, the tables have turned.
To help you navigate this “new” job market, we spoke with recruiting experts and picked apart the mindset of today’s candidates to come up with some best practices.
Recruiters used to focus on how to attract top talent. These days, you have to be more proactive about going out and getting them. “You can’t expect people to flood your open roles with quality applications anymore,” says Johnson, which is why you have to be creative with your search. “You’re not going to make it on job boards alone. It’s about fine-tuning your searching. I’m using Boolean searches I never would have done before,” she says.
FOCUS ON THE CANDIDATES’ NEEDS
Today’s the exact opposite of 2009 when there were ten people for every job, says Dave Denaro, vice president of Keystone Associates (a division of Keystone Partners), which offers solutions for individual and group career transitions. “But for a recruiter to say there are not enough people out there is silly,” he adds. “You have competitors, and they all have people,” he says. The challenge is to convince them that your opportunities are a better choice for them. To do that, you must build a relationship with them first.
Denaro recommends starting with questions about them (rather than focus on your offering).
Are you happy where you are?
Do you have a career plan?
What is important to you?
“Start them talking with a personal reach out,” he says.
RELY ON YOUR NETWORK
Job seekers are always told about the importance of tapping into their network to learn about new opportunities. Networking works for recruiters as well, says Denaro. “Good people know good people. If I know 100 people and each one knows 100; I can get to 10K pretty easily,” he says.
Being able to reach out to a prospective hire through someone they trust, like a second-tier connection, can help your offer to connect stand out.
APPEAL TO CANDIDATES WHO ARE STUCK
Despite the market suggesting there’s plenty of vacancies – there are still a lot of people feeling “trapped” in their jobs. The Monster “State of the candidate” survey found that 49% of UK candidates plan to look for a new job this year, even though 72% are worried about the state of the economy. Many candidates also believe there are threats to their current job, such as new management (20%) and a toxic boss or working environment (19%).
So how can you appeal to workers who feel this way? It’s not something that can be done using CV searches on their own, says Denaro. “Those databases are great for finding folks that want to move laterally who have done the job. But a lateral move might not be enough to motivate someone to leave,” he says.
The solution is to show some interest in the candidate’s career track “Start to engage about the motivations most people have to advance and move up, and talk about the actual work. That interest can be attractive even without a large salary offer.” Don’t just throw money at your candidate problem
Which brings up the next piece of advice – higher salaries are nice, but often they are just a temporary solution.
DON’T RELY ON HIGHER SALARIES TO WIN THE BEST CANDIDATES
The candidate survey found that 69% of candidates in the UK believe employers have the upper hand in terms of salary negotiation. Rhat doesn’t mean employers can just dangle bigger salaries to solve recruitment problems, says Johnson. “Candidates are being offered jobs they aren’t necessarily equipped to handle, and we’re going to see the bottom fall out at some point,” she says.Instead, think big picture rather than just trying to fill seats by flashing pound signs. “If you’re not putting appropriate people in those chairs at the appropriate price, you’re going to turn over in that role,” says Johnson – and end up right back at square one.
DO HUMAN SCREENING
Recruiters are finding it harder than ever to find the “right-fit” candidates, especially for key roles in the Care, Hospitality, STEM, manufacturing industries and any that have relied on access to EU workers with freedom of movement. The employer solution is often to add new online and offline assessments, multi-round interviews, and other hoops to jump through, all to find candidates who are the right fit. But, complicating things for applicants can have the opposite effect.
“If you give a 40-minute test to a senior-level candidate, you’re not sending a signal that you want a quality person,” says Denaro. “Candidates who have their choice of jobs are going to be put off by lengthy applications, online surveys, and talking to avatars that can’t really tell them about the situation”, adds Denaro. “The process recruiters have been saddled with only cares about cost and time – it doesn’t measure quality,” he explains.
The human touch can go a long way toward establishing rapport. “First phone-calls can be crucial,” says Kristen Fowler, vice president at JMJ Phillip Group, a recruiting and executive search firm. You can get a good understanding of their needs, which can be anything from wanting to shorten their commute to switching to a smaller company where they can have more control.
SHORTEN THE PROCESS
Simplifying and speeding up the hiring process for the most talented candidates is a smart strategy as well, says Johnson. Addison Group have done just that which has generated great results. “We consolidated and now have a more comprehensive interview process to show that we value the candidate’s time,” she says.
That includes letting candidates sit in with teams or do (short) job-shadows so they have the chance to get to understand the culture, know the people, and get a clearer picture of the traits Addison is looking for – without having to come in multiple times.
Yes, ghosting is a thing now, and both candidates and employers both do it! A recent survey by Clutch.com, says more than 40% of job seekers think it’s reasonable to ghost companies during the interview process – that is, abruptly cutting off communication when they decide not to pursue that role. “Ten years ago, that would have never happened. But that’s where we are in the market,” says Johnson. This could be chickens coming home to roost – Job seekers reflecting the behaviour that they were subjected to in the past. “Even in this market, I still get candidates who say they never hear back from a company,” says Denaro. “It’s contagious.”
The solution is to make more of an effort to keep candidates updated. “You can say, ‘I know it’s been a couple of weeks. Is there anything new with you, or any questions I can answer?'” says Denaro. The worst case scenario is waiting so long that when you do get in touch with a prospect, you find out that they took another job, he adds. “It shows that you weren’t communicating when you should have been keeping them warm.” If your candidate does suddenly dissappear, be aggressive, says Fowler. “Continue to reach out on all different platforms until you get ‘no’ for an answer,” she says.
SAY NO AS SOON AS YOU CAN
And if you determine that someone isn’t the right fit, don’t leave them hanging, says Johnson. “No one wants to be told “NO”: but it’s learning for both you and the candidate,” she says. “You still want to maintain that relationship because they might be right for a future opportunity.”
Ultimately, it’s not ramping up mass emailing or investing in superior technology alone that is going to help you in this new job market. Tools have their place, but it’s about keeping candidates engaged from day one. “You have to get a candidate excited about something new, even if they have 25 other options they’re exploring,” says Johnson. “It’s a full cycle, so make sure you stay in front, keep them up to do date, and coach them through the process to give them the best experience.”
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