How Recruiters Can Cope with a Changing Talent Landscape

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What’s that line, “change is inevitable,” right? Well, that change has come to the recruiting world in a big way, and as recruiters, it’s up to you to work with these changes and keep the talent pipeline into your company open and flowing.

Below you’ll find a combination of things we feel you should be aware of, the kind of information you’ll want in the back of your head as you prepare your next job listing or awareness marketing campaign, mixed in with concrete suggestions for ways you can thrive in the changing talent landscape.

It’s a Candidate’s Market Out There

This isn’t hyperbole, there are currently more openings than there are candidates to fill them. This is only the second time in 20 years when this has been the case (and last time the internet was still in its infancy and not nearly as useful as it is today).

People are leaving their current roles, often without having something lined up, in record numbers as well. These folks know the situation with openings per candidate and are confident they’ll find a new role in short order. The trick here is to position your company and the roles you have available in front of these job seekers while they’re still employed, meaning they’re in the passive job seeker phase.

That way, when they do pull the plug on their current position, they’ll seek you out to inquire about openings, rather than you needing to track them down via outreach or scouring job boards. Remember, in this market, it’s on you, the recruiter, to keep your company profile in the spotlight in order to get your seats filled with quality applicants.

Keep Your EVP in the Spotlight

This is the concrete advice to follow up on the general info presented above. The way to ensure these passive job seekers keep your company in mind is to keep your employee value proposition in front of them as much as possible, without being intrusive, of course.

With so many candidates to choose from, often with nearly identical technical resumes, recruiters need to focus on the ‘soft’ side of the page. By looking at how a candidate fits with your company culture, how they react to your employer brand, and how they take to your employee value proposition are the new yardstick to measure quality by.

The first, and potentially most important, step is to keep up your awareness campaigns. Let them know how much you love your job and your company by being authentically engaging on social media, and when they’re ready to move, they’ll seek you out!

And the numbers back up this strategy. According to a Glassdoor survey, the top 10 reasons gen Z list for liking their company are all EVP related (the respondents used phrases like “work environment,” “flexible hours” and “good pay” in describing what they love). Seeing as how this is the largest cohort you’re going to be recruiting in the next 5-10 years, it pays to focus some energy here. And speaking of Generation Z…

With so many candidates to choose from, often with nearly identical technical resumes, recruiters need to focus on the ‘soft’ side of the page.

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You Need to Understand Gen Z and Their Needs/Wants

This is the biggest cohort to enter the job market over the coming years, so it will pay dividends to get to know them now. The top things to know this generation:

They’re mobile, so you need to be too

They move quickly, and once they make up their minds, they act

They crave the human touch when interacting with companies

What does this mean for your recruitment marketing efforts? Several things, actually. First, it means you need a solid presence on social media, as well as a good mobile aspect to your company website (onsite job listings, etc). It means you need to be sure your intake/interview process is streamlined, according to a survey conducted by Robert Half International, nearly a full quarter of applicants said they lose interest in a company if they don’t hear anything regarding next steps in under a week.

It also means that it’s time to rethink your use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in your screening process. Since a lot of people in this cohort have technical resumes that more or less match, it’s difficult to sort them by an algorithm. You need to get a feel for how they’ll match up with your company culture, and culture is something that AI just can’t do well.

This doesn’t mean ditch it, don’t misunderstand, it simply means maybe rethink how and where you use it. Consider a chatbot on your listing pages (as but one possibility). This way you can see how the candidate responds to questions and interacts with your bot, before committing the time and energy to talking to them person-to-person.

Broaden Your Search Parameters

Bearing in mind the ratio of openings to candidates again, it may be time to re-expand parameters that in recent years have been narrowed to cull the herd a bit. Many companies are finding, with the increases in online education options (such as MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Classes), they need to cut requirements for higher education as this no longer indicates a candidate with a better skill set.

As an aside, many companies in certain states are also finding they need to cut drug testing, as Marijuana is now legal in 10 of the most populous states.

It can also help to limit the number of times a candidate is required to come in and meet with yet more people. Overly long intake processes can easily frustrate applicants, leading to them walking down the street to an employer who will make them an offer on site.

Study Your Competition, Then Differentiate Yourself

This one starts with knowing the basics, like compensation, and goes all the way to getting to know their EVP in greater detail. Follow them on social media to see what they’re advertising in the way of an employer brand. See how they interact with their audience. Maybe take what you find and advocate for updates to your companies compensation packages so you not only stay competitive but shine in comparison!

With the talent market as crowded as it is today, you need to be vigilant with your awareness campaigns, your engagement with your audience on social media, and with updating your own EVP in order to stand out from the pack. You want the quality candidates to come knocking on your door when they’re looking to make a move, not your competitors.

Prepare and Respect: How to Provide a Positive Candidate Experience

Looking for a job is stressful. From going to interviews to choosing the right position, the application and recruiting process is costly in both time and effort. To make matters worse, after all this work, many job seekers never hear back from employers; sometimes it seems that their applications simply disappear into a “black hole”.

With unemployment near record lows, the labor market is tight. This puts the power in job seekers’ hands, both in terms of plentiful alternatives and the ability to share about them on social and reviews platforms. Not only is providing a positive candidate experience the compassionate thing to do, but it is now essential for employers who want to compete for great talent.

So how can employers improve their interview and recruiting processes? To find out, we surveyed 1,000 people who have applied for a job within the last year about their candidate experiences.

Engage in Enjoyable Conversations, but Don’t Waste the Job Seekers’ Time

The good news: Most respondents (70%) report “mostly” (39%) or “only positive experiences” (31%) with interviewing or recruiting during their most recent job searches. The downside? Nearly one-third (30%) say their most recent experiences with interviewing or recruiting were negative — showing that there is still work to do.

The way employers treat candidates can have a big impact, and a little positivity can go a long way. In a world dominated by online interactions, enjoyable conversations are worth more than ever — in fact, this is the biggest contributor to a good interview experience (cited by 43% of respondents).

This is followed by transparency regarding salary and benefits packages (42%) and the recruiter or hiring manager being on time and prepared (40%).

Conversely, the top five contributors to a negative experience relate to time management and communication. The worst offense hiring managers can commit, in job seekers’ eyes, is not respecting their time, whether by canceling, showing up late or being unprepared for an interview (chosen by 45% of respondents). This is closely followed by providing inconsistent job descriptions (42%) and poor communication (41%).

Negative Experiences Hurt, but Not as Much as Positive Experiences Help

The majority of respondents (52%) “definitely” tell friends or family when they have a negative recruiting or interviewing experience, which is important news for employers.

However, they are less likely to share than candidates who have positive experiences: 72% of respondents “definitely” share good news. Meanwhile, over half of respondents (58%) are “very likely” to recommend companies that provide positive experiences to others looking for work.

Therefore, going above and beyond to make candidates happy is worth the effort. Simply avoiding a bad experience won’t get a response from that extra 20% of talent who are eager to share about the exceptional times.

What’s more, negative experiences can affect your bottom line: The majority of job seekers (66%) say this would negatively impact their future business dealings with a company, whether or not they were hired.

The good news? The vast majority of candidates (84%) say a positive interview experience would make them more likely to give a company their business, regardless of a job offer.

Responding to candidates within a week is ideal

Remember, candidates dread the “black hold” of no response. An easy way to improve your experience is to promptly respond to every applicant. A great example of this is Enterprise: Their company policy is that every single person who applies for a job will get a reply from a recruiter.

While most job seekers hear back from employers within their desired time frame, there is still a large portion who are waiting longer than they want to. This means many employers are missing the mark — and could be missing out on top talent.

The majority of candidates (65%) usually hear back from recruiters within the week after an interview, which aligns with their preferences (this is also the top choice for 65%). However, many still wait longer than they’d like to.

The longer you wait to reach out after an interview, the more candidates will believe they didn’t get the job. Not only is this deeply frustrating for candidates, but it also increases the risk that you’ll lose them to another opportunity. Nearly half of candidates (49%) who haven’t heard back within two weeks will believe they missed the mark.

When it comes to the format for communications, 75% of candidates prefer in-person interviews, with updates sent via email (43%).

Consistent Job Descriptions are Crucial to Retaining Candidates

We also asked candidates what would make them drop out of an employer’s interview process. A mismatch between the job description provided and the one discussed in the interview is the biggest factor (cited by 21%). The other top five factors influencing dropping out of the interview process had to do with transparency as well — time not being respected (16%), inadequate communication (14%), lack of transparency or discussion about salary and benefits (14%) and lack of feedback (10%).

Today’s candidates will likely find a position that better aligns with their interests if yours doesn’t fit the bill. A lack of transparency wastes both your time and theirs— and may frustrate them enough to share their negative experience.

Positive Candidate Experiences are a Win-Win

It’s a job seeker’s market right now — and as an employer, it’s in your best interest to provide a great hiring experience. Not only is it the right thing to do, but you also risk missing top talent, negatively impacting your business and harming your reputation if you don’t.

By respecting their time, making good conversation and communicating clearly, you can provide an experience that candidates will rave about — and stay competitive in the hiring game.

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