How to make the most of a candidate rich job market

Published: 17 November 2020
Author: James Chapman

Along with all the challenges this year has brought us, 2020 has created one of the best hiring markets that employers have seen in recent years. It wasn’t that long ago that talent acquisition teams were facing application shortages and low unemployment; it was difficult to find candidates for a variety of roles. Today, there are high numbers of quality candidates searching for new jobs. But, these sought-after candidates won’t stay on the market for long and the employers that start hiring now will have a competitive advantage.

So, how do you process a high volume of applications and make the most of a candidate-rich jobs market?

The challenge for talent acquisition teams

Despite a candidate-rich market, talent acquisition teams still face pre-pandemic recruitment challenges:

  • Building a strong Employer Brand
  • Lack of qualified candidates applying
  • Attracting the right job candidates

And, of course, talent acquisition teams face additional pressures, often working in reduced numbers, due to colleagues being on furlough or made redundant.  With record numbers of applications, feeding back to unsuccessful candidates is near impossible and makes for a poor brand impression with those who fail to secure an interview.

The importance of employer branding

How do you position yourself as an ‘employer of choice’ in your industry, to attract qualified talent? It may be tempting to put your employer branding strategy on the back burner, especially if you aren’t currently hiring. However, employer branding is still important. In a talent market that’s reeling from the effects of a global pandemic, and calls for increasing diversity, employer reputation is more important than ever before for attracting quality candidates. Nowadays, candidates can quickly look up your company information, from salary and benefits to culture and development, meaning that strong employer brand is vital.

Many talent acquisition and marketing teams are smaller than they were in 2019. Additionally, teams have seen budget cuts. Then there’s increased scrutiny of employers; candidates are watching how you’ve treated staff during the pandemic and how you’ve managed to keep your employees working safely. According to the Harvard Business Review, a negative employer reputation can cost companies up to 10% more per hire.

Take time to improve your careers and social media pages with resources or videos. Asking happy employees to rate your organisation on Glassdoor and Google is also beneficial.

It’s important to be mindful that candidates are also facing uncertainty. They want to know if they’re joining an organisation where they have the stability to stay and grow over time.

There is also ‘fear of change’, with passive candidates less willing to take on new roles. Talent acquisition need to focus on having open, honest discussions with candidates where you can address their concerns.

Filling skills shortages

Skills shortages across sectors – from IT to Finance – have been documented in recent years. It is logical to think that in a market where there are record numbers of candidates applying for jobs, it should be easier to hire the staff you need.

A candidate-rich market is not always skills-rich; the high volume of applications being received for job postings can make it even harder to find the talent you need with the desired skills!

At Recruiter on Demand, we know from speaking to our clients that huge volumes of applicants are applying for jobs. According to research from Indeed, competition for the average job has more than doubled, and a third of jobseekers are applying for at least two jobs daily. At a time where companies need top talent to shape their future in a post-pandemic world, finding the right talent among applications remains a serious challenge.

How employers can ensure their hiring process is safe for everyone

Job candidates are worried about their health and safety, as are hiring managers, and many want to avoid ‘in person’ interviews. Most of our clients have moved toward a fully virtual model to address these concerns, and in the midst of lockdown 2.0, we are seeing the return of the much-loved online interviews for candidates!

The first and most obvious change here at Recruiter on Demand is that we have moved everything to a virtual process. We have leveraged technology and embraced new tools. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen people adapt and grow comfortable with video interviewing and virtual processes.

Hiring for January 2021

Be applicant ready! Preparation is key as businesses look to push ahead into 2021, and through the rest of the year. Organisations must be ready to cope with the wave of applications coming through and have robust systems in place for sifting through applications, shortlisting and assessing talent. One of the expected pandemic legacies is that many interview processes will remain remote, predominantly at the early stages.

How Recruiter on Demand can help

Of course, more candidates is good news for companies that are recruiting, but it can create a headache for hiring managers. Here at Recruiter on Demand, we offer flexible recruitment support to time-strapped start-ups and SMEs with little or no in-house recruitment resources. We work as a member of your team and represent your brand at all times. At Recruiter on Demand we help you find, assess and select candidates across all sectors. And, for those companies that have limited resources, we can manage interviews, negotiations and even offers. To find out more, give us a call on 01273 974 030.