Staying ahead in a candidate led market

Staying Ahead in a Candidate Led Market

The last year has seen a historic candidate shortage in the UK. People are, understandably, focussing on job security, and not wanting to take any risky moves if they’re in a comfortable position. This means that the candidates who are out there looking at new opportunities are more in control of their job search than they have been in a long time – and hiring companies need to recognise this. You can’t just sit back and wait for the right person to come along; right now, you need to fight for them.

How can you adapt to ensure you’re getting the best talent when the market is candidate led? Here are a few key recommendations I’d make to any client recruiting in 2022 –

Timing is everything.

I can’t over-emphasise this point enough, hiring managers and HR teams need to make sure that they keep the time from receiving a CV to holding an interview to making an offer as tight as they possibly can. Nothing loses good candidates like drawn-out processes, especially if there’s not frequent communication in between each step. Senior candidates and technical professionals will absolutely understand and respect the need for multiple stages and types of interview, but those stages need to happen in quick succession. If you’re asking a candidate to wait weeks for feedback, and another organisation puts an offer in front of them, even if the offer isn’t as good as what you’re hoping to present, they’re going to hop on the more immediate option.

Be upfront and honest about pay … 

In the past, the most frequently aired complaints about job hunting were about communication breakdowns, long silences and not hearing back on rejections. Now, without a doubt, the negative comment I see most often from candidates is about rates and salaries on adverts. “Why would I apply for this if I don’t know if it’s going to pay me enough?”. There are of course numerous reasons an organisation might not want the salary for a role out in public, but if it’s possible, it helps enormously to have a specific number or at least a range that recruiters can discuss with candidates and list on job adverts. Candidates can afford to be picky right now, and if your competitor is putting a specific salary in front of them and you’re not, they’re going to favour the role that they know is going to offer them fair compensation.

… and other expectations.

Transparency is also vital in other areas – particularly with work models. The explosion in remote work over the last two years has greatly altered the hiring landscape, and I know that it’s become a fairly heated debate in some corners about which roles need to be based in-office and who can work effectively from home. What I think is important here is being up-front about the specific expectations of a role. There absolutely are candidates who only want to work remotely now, but there are also many who only want to work in-office, and there are people in between. If your job is “possibly open to hybrid work”, you’re not going to attract relevant candidates in the same way you will if you directly lay out the organisation’s actual preferences and requirements. If you really want someone full-time in-office, say so, and the candidates who want to work face-to-face and in-person will have one more reason to join you. Being vague in the hope of attracting a wider pool of applicants really benefits no one.

Talk more.

You’ve probably picked up the common thread running through these pointers – communication. Candidates know that they have the power right now, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you approach your recruitment process in a smart way which has been adapted for the current market. You need to win them over and keep them onside – and frequent, honest communication is your best tool in that fight. I’ve seen hiring managers turn down great candidates, saying they’ve failed to demonstrate knowledge of a certain subject – when I know the candidate is highly experienced in that area and would have leapt at the chance to show they knew their stuff if they’d been asked the right question. If you think a candidate is promising but lacking in one area, let them know, and ask them about it. . You never know; they may actually have the experience but haven’t put it on their CV. Every candidate counts right now, and you shouldn’t let a good one pass you by or fall out of the process.

If you’re looking for help with your recruitment processes, get in touch. We’re talking to candidates at all levels of seniority across Financial Services every day, and we can take what we know and use it to help shape your next recruitment campaign to maximise candidate retention and minimise drop-off.

Contact me on or 0121 643 2100 for a confidential discussion.

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