Shifting Your Recruiting Strategy for an Employer-Driven Market

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Around the world, recruiters are adopting to changing economic conditions. Hiring freezes and layoffs have swept across virtually every industry, and as the lockdowns slowly lift, organizations are looking for affordable ways to resume operations. As companies turn to Darwinian strategies to stay afloat through all the turmoil, employees are either losing their jobs or, at the very least, losing their sense of job security.

Given how unemployment rates have skyrocketed over the past three months, it’s no surprise the talent market has become inundated with the resumes of those eager to return to work. A surging amount of available talent might seem like a good thing, but consider this: Recruiters and employers have been dealing with a candidate-driven market for almost a decade up to this point. While they’ve grown quite comfortable in that environment, we’re now entering an employer-driven market. That means recruiters and employers will have to change their tactics. What worked in a candidate-driven market won’t work in an employer-driven one.

Here’s how you can position yourself to attract the best talent before your competitors do in the new talent market :

Strengthen Your Job Ads

It’s true that job boards are being flooded with resumes right now, but how many of those candidates are even qualified for your open roles? If you want to cut down on the number of unqualified candidates entering your pipeline, you can start by tweaking your job ads so that they more clearly speak to the kind of talent you need.

But what does a great job ad look like? That depends on a variety of factors. To determine what works for your company, you may want to try running an A/B test. That’s what Melissa Bair, a senior recruitment consultant for fast-growing tech companies, suggests.

“There is no perfect solution to eliminate this problem completely, but you can reduce it,” Bair says. “Small tweaks to your ad will yield a higher percentage of qualified applications, so be ready to A/B test different content. Bold or [render in all capitals] your location to make it more prominent. Increase or decrease [the required] years of experience and use words like ‘must have’ or ‘only considering” … to more quickly disqualify those who aren’t a fit.”

Bair has tried the tactic herself, creating two different ads for the same role and carefully tracking the results of each, so she knows from experience how enlightening A/B testing can be. For example, in one campaign, Bair reports, “For ad A, in less than two weeks I received 84 applicants, 15 with just semi-relevant experience. A majority of them weren’t even in the [right] location.” In other words, just 18 percent of applicants to this ad were even somewhat relevant, clearly signifying it needed some tweaking.

Augment Your Existing Hiring Team

Though technological advances are allowing us to automate more and more of the recruiting process every day, we’re still a long way off from totally eliminating the personal elements of recruiting. If you don’t have a fully staffed recruiting team in house, swimming through a sea of resumes is going to be a full-time job in itself.

You can make your life a little easier by bringing in some outside help. A lot of recruiting agencies and independent recruiters work on contingency, which means you may not even have to pay for their help in reviewing candidates. Additionally, external recruiters are highly practiced when it comes to finding top-tier candidates in unlikely places. Placing talent is their whole job, after all. By looping an external recruiting partner in, you also amplify the reach of your hiring efforts. You’ll be more likely to find your purple squirrel by expanding your network in this way than by relying solely on your internal recruiting team.

Use the Power of Video

Perfecting your video interviewing strategy is another way to streamline your recruiting efforts in an employer-driven market. I know from experience: I’ve personally used video interviewing to reduce time to fill and lower cost per hire.

For example, I recently worked with Tourmaline Labs Chief Revenue Officer Ricardo Silva to hire an enterprise sales director. We used a newly adopted video interviewing strategy, whereby candidates were submitted via prerecorded video interviews.

Silva found this highly beneficial. In his words, “Multiple people in my organization can view the same video and make better decisions.” Not only does video invite more people into the hiring process, but it also eliminates the need to schedule multiple meetings, and hiring managers can easily refer back to the video as needed. Video interviews also allow you to observe a candidate’s body language, which can otherwise be difficult during a virtual hiring process.

If you haven’t incorporated video into your hiring efforts yet and aren’t sure where to start, I recommend having each candidate record a 5-10 minute video interview. Not only does this take a little work off the recruiter’s plate, but a video interview paired with a resume can give you much more insight into a candidate’s personality and culture fit.

As the market continues to shift, keep in mind the need to be adaptable. You may not be able to perfect your strategies right away, but that’s okay. Implement and iterate as needed. Over time, you’ll arrive at a recruiting process that works for the new employer-driven market.

Beau Ramirez is a senior recruitment consultant for fast-growing SaaS vendors.

By Beau Ramirez