Hiring in a Tough Candidate’s Market

May 7, 2021 -

Historically economic ups and downs were the determinants of the intensity of the competition between candidates. Since the beginning of 2020, there has been a lot of economic uncertainty for employers and employees. Many companies are downsizing and laying off their workers, meaning there is a vast pool of job-seeking individuals. Unfortunately, this abundance of individuals does not always imply plenty of qualified ones. Covid-19 has proven to go against the grain of typical business cycles. It has simultaneously removed jobs while making openings for new ones.
While employers might think they have control of the labour market, Covid-19 has put it in the hands of candidates. With the risk of Covid exposure for many roles, requiring employers to provide hazard pay, a clear sign of a candidate’s market. Covid has also lead to geographic mismatch due to employees moving, forming discretion between job vacancies and qualified talent. While this is a stressful time for employers, I have some suggestions for hiring in a tough candidate’s market:

Building a task force
Before the hiring process begins, organizing a team to source potential candidates can be an excellent foundation for finding good hires. This task force should be responsible for establishing which sectors and companies to target in search of candidates. Once these targets are put in place the team can focus on creating reasonable skill and experience requirements. Often lengthy skill lists can deter or make a suitable candidate seem unqualified.

Consider hiring internally
Some of the best talents can come from within the company. While it isn’t necessary to avoid all together, external hiring can be costly both financially and to your company’s overall culture. External hires can take more time to meet the performance standards of current employees. During the training process, current employees have to help new hires learn the ropes putting a hindrance on their existing workload. This disruption creates unhappiness and potentially leads to employees focusing efforts on furthering their career somewhere else. Ensuring internal marketing of job postings can give current employees the encouragement to work harder and hopefully build their careers within the company.

Limit your pool of candidates
A typical hiring approach strives to gain as many candidates into “the funnel” while doing this as cheap and fast as possible. To attract applicants, companies market themselves as a desirable workplace however, high numbers do not necessarily mean better talent. Limiting this type of marketing ensures a smaller pool or a narrower funnel that can generate more qualified candidates and deter those who are not. Limiting candidates can also be accomplished by creating pre-assessments that are to be completed before filling out an application. These assessments are tools to determine if a person has the required skillset and give a taste into the challenges and expectations of the position. These evaluations should provide a type of score or feedback indicating whether the individual should fill out an application or look elsewhere.

Perfecting your interview techniques
Interviews are the lengthiest part of the hiring process. Perfecting your interview technique can be difficult, but a good interviewer will ask questions to evaluate work behaviours and performances. As interviewers can improvise questions, it is also up to them to decipher the implications of a candidates’ answers, making them prone to bias. Employers beforehand should examine what questions they ask and have a general understanding of the desired responses.

Measure results
No matter what strategies you choose in your hiring journey, the only way to know what works best is to analyze the results. Employers should focus on following up with new hires to track their performance and contributions to the company. Although it can seem daunting and challenging to measure hiring success, this practice can improve overall company success. Conducting employee performance reviews, employee surveys or speaking directly with their supervisors are excellent starters in getting this needed data. With these results, employers can determine which approaches yield the best possible talent.
Hiring can be tricky, especially in a candidate’s market where it feels like a never-ending flow of job seekers. Fortunately, by adapting and changing strategies, finding quality talent is possible in a seemingly impossible market.


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