Adapting to a Dynamic Market: Advice From Expert Recruiters

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The upside: Unemployment is at a record low, the economy is booming, and the outlook is positive. Smart business leaders are pushing growth.

Which brings us to the downside: Competition for the best talent is intensifying. What was effective five years ago — or even last year — is not working today.

The “2018 Trendicators Report”  collects some advice from expert recruiters on how to stay ahead of the game in these trying times. What follows are highlights from that report. Thanks to recruiters Jenifer Holljes, Marta Kingsbury, Jennifer Krause, Sal Loukos, and Duncan Taylor for these insights.

Act as a True Consultant to Hiring Managers

All five experts agree that successful recruiting strategies involve high-touch relationships with both hiring managers and candidates. In order to truly understand each hiring manager’s needs and challenges, you should work closely with each one, such as directly participating in annual workforce planning. As a new search opens, spend time with the hiring manager to keep that understanding fresh.

On the other side of the coin, you need to educate hiring managers on current labor market dynamics and set clear expectations. This may include getting clarity on which requirements are absolutely necessary and where there is wiggle room. It’s also important to ensure hiring managers understand that they need to continue courting candidates throughout the hiring process and beyond — candidates are still vulnerable up to a year after hire.

Market the Opportunity

Talent acquisition is looking less like HR and more like marketing. Successful recruiters sell opportunities in order to attract the best. This is another good reason for getting insider insights from hiring managers: Goals, challenges, culture, and team dynamics are just some of the factors that make one job different from another.

Traditional job descriptions don’t cut the marketing mustard. You should craft a message that differentiates your job from all the others out there. The message should focus on things like the opportunity to make an impact, professional development, career growth, and the company’s culture, values, and mission. One caveat: Don’t oversell the role. Each role has features that will be attractive to the right candidate, along with aspects in which some candidates won’t be interested.

For some mid- to senior-executive-level candidates, culture and engagement are more important today than in the recent past. In fact, Jobvite’s “2017 Job Seeker Nation Report” indicates that 48 percent of job seekers would be open to a 10 percent pay cut in exchange for a job that piques their passion.

If executive candidates are open to a change, it’s likely because they are not fulfilled in their current roles — frustrated by red tape, stifled in creativity, unsure of growth opportunities. Here, you can leverage your insider insight from the hiring manager to promote aspects of the role that the candidate’s current employer is not delivering.

Personalize Your Approach to Candidates

A high-touch approach to candidates means regular communication to keep them engaged. This constant contact also keeps you aware of potential pitfalls and opportunities. For example, if a candidate tells you they have received another offer, you can work with the hiring manager to close the deal more quickly.

Technology can be a huge help here. Savvy recruiters use customer relationship management (CRM) tools to stay in regular touch. CRMs also ensure that candidate information is easily available to recruiters when needed.

Personalization promotes engagement, and engagement begins before the hire. You might recognize a candidate’s unique skills, accomplishments, or even community interests. According to the “2017 Trendicators Report,”  81 percent of millennials believe that recognition during the pre-hire process is either “important” or “very important.”

Optimize the Candidate Experience

Today’s candidates are better informed, and they know they have options. Companies that succeed are re-engineering the candidate experience to ensure it engages candidates and moves the process smoothly and quickly.

You know the candidate experience from the employer’s side, but it is essential to see it from the candidate’s side as well. That experience is an extension of your brand, and even something as simple as failing to follow up with a candidate can tarnish that brand.
One thing is certain: Recruiters who are able to flex with and adapt to a constantly changing talent market will excel over others.

Darren Findley is president, recruitment solutions, at Engage2Excel.

By Darren Findley