With large tech companies announcing layoffs and the Fed continuing to tighten, the narrative has been focused on a pending recession in the US. But employment numbers keep coming in higher than expected. What’s going on?
With unemployment rates pushing lower than they’ve been in almost 50 years, the labor market has fully recovered from the pandemic lows. And while a number of high-profile companies are perhaps correcting for over-hiring last year, job listings are still outpacing active candidates in tech by a wide margin, and small to mid-market companies continue to hire. Don’t let the talk about recession or increasing interest rates throw you. Companies are still hiring at a solid pace.
Give yourself a head start to compete for top talent
As a Hiring Manager or HR Professional, you’ve likely dealt with the fallout of this environment over the past 2 years. Maybe it’s your job listing lingering with little to no response though you’re offering competitive compensation and benefits. Or perhaps you are getting some traction on your listings but as soon as you place one worthwhile candidate and start onboarding them, another key member of your team is moving on. Commonly these days, you might finally find that perfect candidate, but they have multiple offers and you’re suddenly in a competition with limited information.
We’re all facing the same challenges. Even the most dynamic, creative, and committed human resources people are struggling to navigate the current tight employment market. There have been similar times in the past, but they are all different in ways. The question is; how do we compete for, win over, and retain the best talent?
Must do’s to compete (and win) in a candidate-driven market
- Be fast. Star candidates are in demand. You can’t sit back and operate at the speed of previous years. I get it, you have a process, but you need to kick it into high-gear. The best candidates will not wait for weeks to hear from any employer, even one they like, at any step during the hiring timeline. Having a standard hiring process and making sure other decision makers are on board with keeping the process flowing are a big help.
- Be transparent. The more they know about your company and how they align with you and your existing team, the better. It will encourage the right candidates to buy-in and make on-boarding a more intuitive experience. Candidates are driven more these days by how they are going to make a difference in your organization than salary alone.
- Be polished. Candidates are paying attention to more than you might think. Keep your company image polished. You want to look like (and be) a place people want to work.
- Make it clear what they’re going to get when they join your team. Perks and unique opportunities are great, but showing off your company culture and values are equally important. One of the best and most natural ways to share this information without sounding too formal is social media. But don’t forget to make benefits discussions a part of the offer, especially if you don’t want to get into a bidding war over talent. You can’t expect candidates to ignore benefits until they show up for their first day of work – it’s a bigger part of their decision these days.
- Avoid canceling or rescheduling interviews. It sends a message that they were less important than something else you had going on. Block your calendar and stick to it religiously. This is more common than you might think and derails a lot of great starts.
- Make time or leverage tech that enables you to be courteous. When you get that candidate following up for status or saying “Thank You” for your time post-interview, don’t ignore it. Even if you aren’t going to hire them or you don’t have an answer yet on the next steps, shoot an email acknowledging that you received their message. You can use a template or an applicant tracking system, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.