Employers: How to Navigate the Candidate Driven Market

For the past ten years we have been in a candidate driven market (often referred to as just a “candidate’s market”), and the effects of this are starting to show. The biggest result is that the United States’ national unemployment rate is at an all-time low: as of September 2019, the unemployment rate was 3.5%, which is the lowest it has been since December 1969. While this is amazing progress, especially since unemployment reached 9.9% during the Great Recession, a candidate driven market can be detrimental for employers.

“When you look at unemployment rates by niche, you find yourself even more challenged in this War for Talent.  Accounting & Finance unemployment is at 1.5%; Human Resources is at 2.7%; and IT related positions in general are at 1.9%. This can be alarming to a company that is slow in the decision-making process. This also negatively affects employers that took a good employee for granted or delayed their merit increase.  Employers today need to think differently if they want to grow,” says Sharon Tsao, CMO of Contemporary Staffing Solutions. 

What is a candidate driven market?

A candidate driven market is a job market in which there are more job openings than candidates looking for jobs. While this can be good for candidates, it can be trying for employers—and even their employees who may be expected to take on more work in the absence of enough people on their team.

What does this look like for employers?

Since candidates have the upper hand in this job market with a plethora of jobs to choose from, they are being more selective of positions. Because of this, now more than ever, recruiters and hiring managers are revealing that candidates ghosting and not showing up to interviews or first days is a growing problem. While recruiters and hiring managers are not solely at fault for candidate drop off, there are action items employers can take to make candidates pick them instead of a competitor.

So, how can employers win the “war for talent”?

First things first: you cannot control applicants that apply to your positions. You cannot get rid of ghosting. You cannot stop blatantly unqualified candidates from applying. You cannot know if whoever you choose to fill your roles will be a 100% fit for the job and company.

However, there are several things you can do internally to lessen these issues that arise in a candidate’s market.

Look at your job description

As much as an employer might want to be picky about candidates, hoping to find the perfectly qualified needle in the haystack isn’t realistic. This doesn’t mean hire someone without any consideration, but to truly ask yourself, at the core of the job you’re hiring for, what the candidate needs to be successful. To be specific, ask what requirements are actually needed and what skills are trainable. For instance, maybe the requirements of your HR Manager role include having a Bachelor’s degree and SHRM certification. However, by lowering the education to an Associate’s or a certain amount of years in a similar position, as well as offering the opportunity to become SHRM certified on the job, you can greatly increase your talent pool.

Gauge if pay is appropriate

Unsurprisingly, pay is an important factor in a candidate applying to and/or accepting a job offer. This means that you have to offer fair or competitive pay commensurate with title, experience, and skill, while also being on par with other internal salaries. If you’re offering too low of a salary based on market demands, you will miss out on your next great hire. To ensure you’re offering fair pay, check your internal equity.

Be quick and communicative during the hiring process

Speed is of the essence when it comes to hiring. You don’t want to be too hasty with hiring new employees, but you do want to efficient. If we’re to assume that active candidates are applying to and interviewing with multiple companies at a time, then you have to stay a step ahead of the competition if you’re interested in a candidate. For instance, if it takes you a month to give feedback to the candidate or the candidate is put through numerous interviews (three or more) for the same position, they’ll likely take an offer from a company who has been more straightforward and proactive with them.

The best way to keep candidates is to communicate with them frequently, like giving them timely updates on the status of their application, and streamlining the interviewing process, like having panel interviews instead of a few one-on-one interviews.

Consider why a candidate should choose your company

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, “ask not what your employees can do for you, ask what you can do for your employees.” While pay is important to employees, data shows that employees prioritize culture over pay. By developing a culture that encourages the growth and wellbeing of employees and offers benefits that create a work-life balance, you will attract candidates with similar values and candidates that are more likely to stay with company.

If you’re an employer looking to find qualified candidates for roles, you don’t have to go it alone. Contemporary Staffing Solutions has a 25-year track record of placing qualified candidates in contract, contract-to-hire, and direct-hire roles in Accounting and Finance, Call Center, Office, HR, IT, Mortgage, Sales, and Marketing.

We have a strong candidate retention rate and can guarantee we find you great candidates within a time frame of your choice at a fee that works for your company.

Reach out to us at 888-269-MY-JOBS to speak with an Account Manager who can consider and address your company’s unique needs!