6 Rules for Hiring in a Candidate-Driven Market

Welcome to the employment market of 2019; it’s time to buckle up. With unemployment rates pushing lower than they’ve been in almost 50 years and job listings outpacing active candidates by a wide margin, we’re firmly planted in a candidate-driven market that shows no signs of stopping.

Competing for talent in a candidate driven marketplace
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 new season already. 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 shift into this extremely tight employment market. It’s been a long time coming, but we’re here now and 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Ready to tap into a steady stream of passive job seekers that may very well include your next superstar hire? Contact our team to learn how you can leverage our network of top-tier candidates.

H1-B Troubles and the Struggle to Attract Local Candidates

Where will your next great hire come from?
Global Talent Pool or Local Candidates?

April 2nd marked the first day the US Government would begin accepting applications for H1-B Visas. For 2019 H1-B hopefuls, the good news is the United States has not lowered the cap on the number of H1-B’s it will allow. The bad news is, they’re going to be harder to get. In addition to the typical hurdles applicants face every year, this year promises to be even more challenging with intense scrutiny and an increase of application-related paperwork. Not to mention other restrictions that may or may not be on the horizon.

Employers that regularly utilize H1-B Visa holders face tough decisions

Any time a business system changes dramatically or offers so much uncertainty, as it has with the amped-up H1-B application process, it’s a good practice to have a Plan B. If you’ve previously leveraged H1-B applicants as part of your candidate pool, you may be wondering how the changes will impact your company.

Many of the effects the redesigned H1-B application process will have on US employers likely won’t be measurable for a few years.

You don’t have to wait, and frankly, you shouldn’t wait for any possible fallout. Instead, you can create a plan today to help offset any potential candidate-deficits by examining the way you source and hone local talent.

Below are some suggestions to get you started and give you a jumping off point. We’d strongly encourage you to brainstorm what might work best for your company and budget. If you decide you’d like more hands-on assistance recruiting top local candidates, you can always give us a call.

5 Tips to Increase Local Talent Engagement and Overcome Skills Gaps

  1. Leverage the top talent you already have
  2. Get more involved on a local level
  3. Expand your search to a regional level and promote the location
  4. Close skill gaps with onboarding programs and training opportunities
  5. Tap into your network

Leverage the top talent you already have

It’s no secret that people tend to hang out with their intellectual equals. We like people who are like us. This can work to your advantage. Take stock of the top talent you already have. Let them know of the positions you’re trying to fill and ask them if they know of any potential candidates. You might even consider creating a referral program that gives employees more incentive to connect you with the top talent they know (usually contingent on hiring).

Get more involved on a local level

Too many firms opt-out of community engagement. Chances are, you can do more. Ask your network what they do locally or connect with your city government and find out what they need.

Most of the time there are a variety of ways to get involved from sponsorships and promotion of local events to hands-on volunteer work. All of them are worthwhile, and all of them will put you in front of more local candidates than you’re getting in front of now. Don’t forget, word of mouth is some of the best marketing you can get.

Expand your search to a regional level and promote the location

You might be surprised to find out how many people want to live where your company is located. Expanding your active search to a regional level will expand your candidate pool and could help you find the ideal candidate who may have missed your open position if it wasn’t advertised to them directly.

For regional candidates, it’s good practice to include all the information you can about the open positions and company and also add in soft details like community features, cost of living, and things to do. The idea is to get them thinking about how they could work and live where you are.

Close skill gaps with onboarding programs and training opportunities

Redesigning onboarding and internal training opportunities can seem overwhelming. But the rewards are sweet. You might not have control over the world around you, but you can control what goes on inside your company, and that’s where training comes in.

The likelihood that even your top candidate knows everything you need them to know is slim. The right combination of onboarding and training can get them (and your other employees) where you need them to be faster and more consistently. Plus, you’ll be able to track and measure the outcomes because you’re in control.

This is more than a response to potential H1-B Visa restrictions; it’s a long-term solution to the skills gap affecting your entire talent pool.

Tap into your network

Think of anyone and everyone you know. What kind of connections do you have that may lead to an untapped candidate pool? Think of the associations you belong to, industry events you attend, industry partners you’ve built relationships with. These could hold the key to your next super-star hire.

Create a system for reaching out and following up with your network contacts. Let them know more about what you do, why you’re a great company to work for, what’s happening at your company (periodically) and what kind of candidates you’re keeping an eye out for.

Want to fast-track your access to top local talent? Contact our team to find out how we can help you streamline your recruitment process and find the best of the best.