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Finding Top Talent in a

Candidate Rich Market


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When the world changed last year so did the recruitment market. It swiftly changed from a candidate-scarce market to a candidate-rich market. This had many implications for recruiting organisations and not necessarily positive ones. Great candidates are still hard to come by as quantity doesn’t mean quality, it’s just more time consuming trying to find them. Candidates expect more detailed and intensive communication, senior candidates are applying for Junior roles but are their skills transferable and can they be managed? Priorities have changed with work/life balance, job security and flexible working becoming more important.


What this means is that recruiting the best talent is as hard if not harder than ever. Below are our tips for finding the top talent:


1. Be applicant ready

Be prepared to cope with the wave of applications that will come through and have robust systems in place for sifting through applications, shortlisting and assessing talent. We have learnt already this last year that much of the interview process can be made remote, particularly at the early stages. Operating in this way gives the clear advantage of being able to meet more candidates in a shorter amount of time.


2. Communicate effectively

Be clear on deadlines for each stage of the process. Include a closing date on the advert and ensure every applicant receives an email notifying them that it has been received and when they will next be contacted. As a candidate moves through the process, be clear on what the next step is and when it will be finalised.


3. Provide a great candidate experience

Candidates need to be engaged throughout the entire recruitment process. If your candidate experience is poor they will leave the process or certainly think twice about attending an interview or accepting an offer. Review how each stage works from a candidate’s perspective and make sure it is an experience that highlights the engaging nature of your organisation. The top talent is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them and they need to feel engaged and excited.


4. Use a specialist recruiter

With so many candidates looking for work, it may seem wise to search for candidates directly. But this isn’t always the best choice. You are likely to receive hundreds of applicants per role which is extremely time intensive considering you need to meet the communication needs of the candidate rich market at every stage of the process. While it could be tempting to only communicate with the candidates who stand out to you, this is a brand-damaging exercise. Candidates remember companies who they have applied to and not heard back from, and there’s every chance you could miss a skills-rich candidate in your initial scan. Specialist consultants invest time into following up on every single application, protecting the reputation of your brand. In addition, many skills-rich candidates will be lacking confidence after being out of work for a period of time, you will need to assure them on the merit of the position. Specialist consultants know how to articulate an opportunity to a candidate; they speak candidly and often, which boosts their confidence.


5. Write better adverts

A successful job advert is not one which attracts the most candidates, it’s the one that attracts the most relevant candidates. Is it targeting the right type of individual and is it posted in the right place? Be clear on what the role involves and the skills and experiences you require. This has the impact of significantly saving your time through discouraging inappropriate candidates from applying. It’s the first step in filtering candidates.


6. Quality Check

When dealing with such large volumes of applications you may have to be quite strict. Do not be afraid to discard CVs with errors or poor formatting. Have a strict scoring matrix of what you are looking for and discard those that don’t demonstrate enough of what you are looking for.


7. Have an open mind

The CV will show you a chronological timeline of work experience but be sympathetic to the unprecedented times we face. Circumstances may dictate that a person has had to temporarily move to a job far removed from the previous roles stated on their CV or have been out of work entirely for some time.


8. Be decisive

Don’t wait until the last minute before you get the wheels in motion to make an offer. It should never take more than two days after a final interview to present a candidate with a formal offer if you have had a robust assessment process in place. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. If you spend time procrastinating about whether or not you should make them an offer, they are likely to interpret this as you having doubts about them. A company that boosts their confidence by making them an offer straight away is more likely to win the candidate Our figures suggest that 80% of candidates will accept the first job offer they receive. Maximise your chances of winning the best talent by being the first to make them an offer.


9. Don’t under-offer

Competitive employers at present are offering most candidates at least a significant increase on their current remuneration package. These employers, understandably, win the best talent. If the candidate is worth hiring, they’re worth paying for.


10. Invest in a good Application Tracking System (ATS)

A good quality ATS will help you increase efficiency, improve candidate engagement, allow you to talent pipeline and remove unconscious bias. Remember just because an applicant is not the right fit for one role, they might be suitable for something else now or in the future.