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8 Ways to Enhance Talent Acquisition in a Candidate-Driven Market

We’re in the middle of a big shift. Not long ago, candidates wondered how their skills fit into a business. They may have expected decent pay and benefits, but well-being and development were reserved for their own time. After all, “a job’s a job,” right?

Except it isn’t. The lasting effects of the “great resignation” remind us that we work to live, not the other way around. People need to know their employers value their careers and will give them the means to enhance it. And it doesn’t take long for employees to look elsewhere if their organization’s behind the curve.

But approaching this issue too aggressively isn’t necessarily the answer, either. According to a new study from McKinsey & Company, 40% of employees may leave their job in the near future. Jumping on trends might attract some employees, but is it enough to really keep them?

On a recent episode of the HR Break Room® podcast, I discussed these strategies to navigate the rising, candidate-driven market:

  1. 1. Understand candidate leverage

Every candidate you interview is speaking to two or three other organizations. The choices give them a chance to think about what’s most important to them. Recruiters can’t just lean on compensation and benefits; they have to get talent excited about their company’s culture.

Candidates need to know what your business does and why it matters from the start. If applicants are unsure about the impact it makes, there’s no clear way for them to see how they may contribute to it.

Employees don’t have time for empty gestures. They don’t just need a workplace; to some extent, they need a home. In other words, plant the seeds of a dream. Candidates care about their future more than anything; show them you care about it, too.

  1. 2. Streamline applying""

Today’s market is passive for most candidates. They’re used to recruiters contacting them. It’s not just about why they apply, but how.
Most job seekers will move on if applying takes more than a few minutes. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, 67% of candidates have a negative recruiting experience due to long, drawn-out processes. It’s not a stretch for talent to assume the worst about an employer’s operations if their recruitment is outdated, slow or confusing.

And imagine struggling through a poor application just to receive little to no contact from a hiring manager. An intuitive applicant tracking tool helps expedite the process for candidates and makes it easier for recruiters to communicate with them.

  1. 3. Sell candidates on culture

Applicants can’t invest much in possibilities. They need to know exactly how their career will grow. Again, most employees won’t stick around without a prospect for their future. In a Deloitte survey, 24% of millennials and 40% of Generation Z said they’ll leave their jobs in two years. More than 3 in 10 of both generations would leave without a new job lined up!

Candidates have to grasp a company’s values to work there for any meaningful amount of time. And these have to be more than just buzzwords on a webpage or throughout an office.

Culture means something different to everybody. For some, it’s what they experience around their cube, the dress code or their benefits. Others might catch it during meetings based on the tone and tenure of leadership. Some even find it in candid conversations in the break room. Recruiters need to distill all of these interactions into something candidates recognize and relate back to their experience.

But this doesn’t mean culture should be dictated to candidates. You just need to open the door for them and be honest. Ultimately, culture’s something they have to find themselves.

  1. 4. Be transparent

Candidates need realism in their job interviews. You shouldn’t drive them away with disaster scenarios, but you shouldn’t leave them with a false impression, either. Champion what’s great about your organization and highlight recent challenges. This establishes a crucial sense of trust and helps an applicant make an informed decision. In other words, transparency is an absolute necessity.

  1. 5. Embrace technology

Candidates job hunt, research, compare, apply and even interview from the comfort of their phone. They expect the same level of convenience from their prospective employer’s tech as they do at home. But according to a OnePoll survey, 77% of employees are frustrated by outdated tech at work. Competitive organizations have to overcome this trend.""

For recruiters, the right tech’s a lifeline. We need effective talent acquisition tools to find, track and communicate with top talent. No candidate should ever sit in limbo, even if it’s decided they’re not the best fit. It’s impossible to rise above the pack in this job market with outdated systems holding you back.

  1. 6. Properly equip recruiters

Hiring managers should be equipped with the knowledge of the latest recruitment trends and challenges. Often, this will be a team effort, even before a job is posted. If a job description misses the mark, a recruiter is liable to waste time in a wild goose chase when they could’ve been focused on meaningful requisitions.

  1. 7. Analyze data

Recruitment lives off data. It helps us answer questions like:

  • “Where are we losing candidates?”
  • “What are applicants asking for?”
  • “What’s our most popular job posting?”
  • “How many candidates apply multiple times?”
  • “How long did it take us to fill this position previously?”

In many ways, the primary function of our job is reviewing data. We use it to enhance our practice and overcome unexpected obstacles.

And this process isn’t instant. Talent acquisition is a process of constant enhancement. If it’s a struggle to fill a specific role, in-depth data helps us understand what’s clicking.

It even helps an individual hiring manager better themselves. Maybe there’s a problem with their interview approach, or maybe a candidate’s put off by a specific expectation they discover later in the hiring process. Data helps uncover these blind spots.

  1. 8. Expect change

Remember, candidates want to be heard. A great recruiter is a great listener. Embrace change and always be willing to adjust your strategy based on what you hear. What talent wants today might change tomorrow. Embrace it, and be proactive.

Explore Paycom’s easy-to-use app to learn how it simplifies HR for talent acquisition and more! To hear more from me and my colleagues about the ever-changing job market, listen to this HR Break Room episode!

DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decisions or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.

About the author
Author picture, Tiffany McGowen
Tiffany McGowen
Tiffany McGowen, Paycom’s Vice President of Recruiting, is responsible for the oversight of staffing corporate headquarters and growing the nationwide sales force. She has more than 10 years of recruiting experience, ranging from executive-level talent to interns, with a specialty in sales professionals. Passionate about motivation, McGowen is constantly on a coast-to-coast hunt for the best and brightest talent in every market.