The pendulum has swung.
There is no doubt that talent is in short supply – good candidates are few and far between and exceptional candidates are most certainly in the driving seat.
Recruiters are no longer screening hundreds of applications for each vacancy. Gone are the days of being able to shortlist several great candidates for a role, guaranteeing at least one of them would be offered (and subsequently accept) the opportunity. And clients rarely have the pick of the crop – because the pendulum has swung and companies are now the crop.
The interview process is definitely a two-way street and a company is as much under the microscope as a candidate. There’s no guarantee that individuals will ultimately want the job they are interviewing for and that the salary the candidate initially said they were happily looking for, is the salary they will eventually accept – especially if they have three or four (or more!) competitive offers on the table. The salaries that are being discussed at offer stage can be an increase of 10%, or more, than was advertised and discussed throughout the interview process, even graduates are able to demand salaries much, much higher than ever before.
So, why is there a candidate shortage?
Several factors over the last few years have led to the shortage of candidates we’re currently facing. During Brexit and the pandemic, many people stayed in their roles to avoid change during uncertain times – with constant talk in the news of huge redundancies when furlough ended, job security was as important as ever. Flexible and remote working immediately allowed people to gain what was once seen as a highly sought after benefit and something that, pre-pandemic, wasn’t offered by many companies. Add in the general shortage of skilled labour and a significant recruitment boom and we have the perfect melting pot.
What can businesses do to secure the best talent?
In these candidate-driven times, it is crucial that companies showcase their organisation to the absolute best. The individuals, the ethos, the benefits and perks, the long-term vision and the career-paths on offer are being scrutinised by the interviewees, weighed up against other companies they are in discussions with.
- Confirm your package – be sure, before going to market, what you are offering new employees. Confirm your absolute maximum salaries/package (even if this isn’t publicly advertised) and let your hiring managers and recruitment partners know if there is room for negotiation, don’t leave these discussions until you’ve found the ideal candidate.
- Be flexible and creative with your requirements – defining what are necessities for the role and what are desirables can be the difference between finding and securing the talent, or not. Are the requirements too detailed? Is the job title set in stone or could it be amended to be more appealing?
- Ensure your company is attractive to new talent – is your company career page exciting and informative? Does your job description show the candidate what you’re offering them or just state what you want from them? Does your recruitment process inspire candidates and offer them a great candidate experience?
- Speed is of the essence – good talent isn’t around for long. If you’re interviewing them you can be guaranteed they’re also on interview elsewhere. Can the recruitment process be shortened? Waiting too long before acting on their application, between interview stages or whilst deliberating an offer and final package, could easily result in them being snapped up in the meantime.
- Don’t wait for comparisons if you’ve found suitable talent; good candidates are like gold dust and as the saying goes, ‘you snooze, you lose’.
- Avoid losing your new employee to a counter-offer – if you have a lengthy wait between the offer acceptance and their start date, keep in constant contact with them, engage them in the company, invite them to work events and potentially involve them in any key meetings/decision-making processes. The more they feel invested in the company (and the company in them) the less chance there is that they will accept a counter-offer from elsewhere.
Finally, utilise your recruitment partner’s expertise and trust their capabilities, judgement and sound advice. An experienced and successful talent consultant is highly adept at sourcing the talent that you need; when fishing from the same talent pool, this expertise is invaluable.