It's the Year of the Candidate again!
The Year of the Candidate has come around again.
The supply and demand of talent is a constant seesaw and hiring managers have to do a balancing act to get the best talent at the best price. Yet, every now and then the seesaw dips to one or the other side. It’s a cyclic phenomenon, caused by the economic environment itself. Some years companies call the shots. Spoilt for choice, they are happy to take their time making hiring decisions leaving job aspirants in suspense.
Then there are years when the candidate is sought after. Talent that suddenly becomes scarce because everyone is scrambling to fill positions that have opened up virtually overnight. Positions that had been put on hold, or into cold storage suddenly get the go-ahead. The Talent Attraction person becomes a much-wanted person! From the looks of things, this is one of those years.
People – even those deemed to be average – suddenly start getting calls from recruitment firms. Including those who consistently ignored their CVs, emails and calls not so long ago. Maybe it’s time to be snooty right back!
Job aspirants and hiring companies need to take advantage of the circumstances in their own respective ways – yet creating a win-win for everyone. Here’s what both parties need to keep in mind:
- Open up your options: This is a good time to look around – there’s a whole world outside. That pays more – like the reports say, offers more exciting roles and is willing to consider your successes. So, polish up the CV!
- Choose your roles carefully: You possibly have the upper hand. Make the best of it. Choose your next role carefully. Don’t just accept whatever is being offered. So quiz the hiring manager closely on JDs and KRAs. They should be happy to explain.
- Compare offers: As you attend more and more interviews and win a few, do compare offers. For the ‘meat’ in the role, its placement in the org-structure, its prospects and of course what it pays. Don’t be restricted to only one, or a few, of the above. There’s no harm using one offer to negotiate a better one. A fallback gives a tremendous sense of security – use it well!
- Keep commitments: Once you have made a commitment, keep it. Remember, if you ‘betray’ a hiring manager, after accepting their offer, it is a setback for them. Hiring managers can get very bitter. It’s a small world, why make enemies…
For hiring companies:
- Revisit sell-in strategies: Hiring managers will need to work harder to ‘sell’ the position and the company. Itemize the reasons why a candidate should join your organization. These should cover more than the intrinsic factors – even the lesser ones like accessible location, parking and eating options should be considered.
- Use the power of the brand: This is a good time to slam the power of employer branding into the hiring negotiations. Money and career prospects are sometimes inadequate for a candidate who has more than one offer to consider. Employee-friendly branding is a huge asset!
- Use tech for efficiencies: Technology has the ability to make the hiring process more efficient and defendable. Eligibility aside, hiring and on-boarding solutions can save a lot of time and money for everyone.
- Review retention strategies: While you are busy hiring, there are others who may be approaching your best people, right under your nose! This is a good time to review and upgrade existing retention strategies. Starting from identifying the best performers – and the upper end of those solid average performers as well. These are the people most likely to get compelling reasons to skip to…a competitor. Proactively determine what can be offered in terms of career and money that will keep them on.
- Do some benchmarking please: Just because a candidate asks for a 60% increase, doesn’t mean that they should get it on a platter! Chances are they are taking a punt – on you! Benchmarking open positions with the market will help build boundaries around the financials on offer. And defend every decision with numbers. It’ll save the company tons of money! And puh-leez, benchmarking should be done by professionals – not by calling up 5 batch-mates…
In this year of the candidate, neither time nor money need be wasted. It’s a sign of hope that the market is opening up. Something everyone’s been waiting for, for a long, long time.