What it Takes to Win in Today’s Job Market — Prioritize the Candidate Experience

Employers in 2019 are facing the most challenging job market in recent memory. During the last year alone, unemployment hit a 49-year low, companies added 18% more jobs than in the previous year, and the quit rate hit its highest level since 2001.

Navigating the new hiring reality is driving companies to adapt their established recruiting strategies to better motivate job seekers, emphasizing market-rate compensation, corporate culture and the candidate experience. Implementing these changes requires employers to be authentic, flexible, agile and aggressive.

Be authentic. Creating a powerful employee value proposition can be a complex undertaking, but it demonstrates to candidates that you know what your organization stands for. Position yourself in the best light, but also be authentic.

Word of mouth is still among the strongest methods of promoting a company’s brand. When new hires have a great experience, they’ll tell their former coworkers and friends, driving referrals of high-quality candidates.

Communicating your value is a crucial part of creating an exceptional candidate experience and establishing trust from the onset.

 Be flexible. In the old way of thinking, an employer would draw a hard line and look only at candidates who had a certain amount of work experience and very specialized skills. More recently, however, there’s been a shift to hiring for capability — what candidates have done, what they’re doing now and what they have the ability to do in the future.

The focus is on outcomes rather than experience. Companies are hiring for talent and “upskilling” high-potential candidates according to their company’s specific protocols.

Be agile. If you make an offer to your first choice and the candidate requests a higher salary, are you empowered to make that decision in real time? Employers that are winning in this environment are ready to act or ready to lose out. Come out strong with an offer.

Make sure the person who’s making the offer understands the parameters and is also very skilled at negotiating. Does the person making the offer have the ability to create excitement around the position and the opportunity? And if a candidate doesn’t accept it right away, ask and really listen to the reason why — a candidate saying no could be the opening to negotiation that could still yield an offer.

Insisting on too many interviews or unnecessary tests that stretch out the interview process can turn off job seekers. Employers should be prepared to make quicker decisions, because it’s likely the top candidates have multiple opportunities.

Be aggressive. The idea that the employer always has the upper hand needs to be rethought. It’s a hard truth but a necessary one.

There are a variety of reasons job candidates won’t leap at the first offer to come along. Why do candidates say no? They want competitive wages and benefits, to work on meaningful projects or the newest tech product, and generous vacation time to maintain work/life balance. Candidates want exciting work or an opportunity to scale their career.

The importance of paying attractive wages can’t be stressed enough. Wages are rising across the board, yet some companies resist the new normal. With talent this tight, compensation is tied more to the scarceness of the skill set versus the location of the worksite.

Companies that need new employees realize the way they leverage their strategies and resources will determine how well they succeed in the employment marketplace. Some essential priorities, such as maximizing an effective and streamlined candidate experience, will serve them well now and into the future.

Want to know more? Access this white paper, 2019 Staffing Imperatives: What it Takes to Win in Today’s Unique Labor Market.

Matt Bramblett

Matt Bramblett
Matt Bramblett is Aerotek's director of Strategic Delivery Solutions.

Matt Bramblett

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