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How to adapt to an active candidate market

Let’s not delve too much into how and why we got here. From a war for talent, a shortage of skills and near full employment, we now are faced with some of the largest unemployment figures since the Great Depression and a plethora of candidates actively looking for a new role. Yikes! A huge amount of recruitment teams and hiring processes were not built for this kind of market and will need to adapt. Let this blog be a starting point for your hiring team’s evolution.

The Passive Candidate Myth

First things first, let’s get this right… passive candidates are not better or more valuable than active candidates. This is something that has seemed to become ingrained in recruitment teams in the past ten years and it’s easy to see why.

It’s human nature to attach more value to something that took more of your effort. A strawberry that you have gone out and picked yourself will taste that little bit sweeter than one you bought in a supermarket. 

It’s the exact same with candidates, someone you have found, reached out and sold the job to is going to seem more valuable than someone who found your role and applied… but that isn’t always going to be the case. 

Active candidates

It is vitally important to remember that just because there is an influx of great active candidates into the market does not mean they will automatically apply to your role. You still have to put the work in to get top talent. 

Here are some areas you need to get right… 

1. Employer Branding

This area of the hiring process is hard to summarise in a paragraph. If you’d like a quick review of four tips you can apply today, check out this blog. Alternatively, we have a free ebook available for you on this topic which you can download now.

2. Job Descriptions

A higher volume of active candidates will mean more eyes on your job advertisements. This is an opportunity to appeal to the candidates you want to apply and filter out candidates you don’t. 

Don’t just put down the requirements, put down the demands of the role too. What will the day to day of this role look like, what challenges will the potential holder of this role face and importantly what challenges is this person being hired to help solve. What will putting this into your job advertisements do? 

Well, according to Bryan Adams, author of Give & Get Employer Branding, Your business needs people who are excited to meet its biggest challenges. The sooner you surface those challenges, the more likely you are to find the candidates who see them as a fun problem to solve. If you hide the harsh realities of the job, you are more likely to hire people unequipped to handle the challenges, which will lead to subpar performance or attrition.”

Learn more about candidate attraction in our free ebook

Passive candidates

3. ATS

For a large number of roles, there will be a big increase in the volume of candidates applying. Without the correct tools, this will end up causing a delay in time to hire as getting through the mountain of applications will consume resources and time. 

This is where having the right applicant tracking system and using it correctly will be vital. Your ATS should enable you to focus on top applicants with the skills and experience required and keep them updated on their application process.

It should also enable you to easily contact unsuccessful candidates because hey, if the active candidate pool starts to dry up, you now have a pool of potential candidates that you know were once interested in working with your company. 

4. Applicant Experience

As always, getting the candidate experience right is vital to hiring the talent you need. In times and markets where there are a lot of active candidates, there is a greater emphasis on the applicant experience. How easy or difficult is it to take the first step and apply for this role?

In most cases it seems that it is not that easy, according to Appcast, only 1 in 10 people will complete an online application.  Applicants are often asked to fill out an online application which requires basic information, writing paragraph after paragraph about themselves, followed by uploading their resume which contains this information. It can feel like a test of enthusiasm, “how much do you really want this job?”. 

And to an extent it is, an arduous applicant experience will turn a lot of candidates away. You might be thinking, “well, we are actively trying to filter people down”, but you have to ask yourself who it is filtering out? You might not like the answer. 

5. Set Hiring Manager Expectations

One final aspect you will have to be prepared for is hiring manager expectations. Undoubtedly, your hiring managers will be aware that there are a lot more active candidates in the market now and in their minds this means they will be interviewing several perfect candidates within days. They may even increase the skills and experience required for the role. “This junior developer role requires 10 years of experience with Java, Javascript, and Python.” Yikes!

Hiring managers

Learn more about improving your hiring manager relationship with our free ebook

This is where you need to step in. You are more aware of the realities of the talent market whether it is more active or passive and it is a part of your role to educate hiring managers and temper their expectations. 

The talent pool hasn’t suddenly become filled with purple squirrels that can be hired rapidly. We know this isn’t the case, as we explained earlier, a larger volume of candidates can cause delays, and work will always need to be put in to find top talent. 

If you need a simple analogy to help with explaining this to your hiring manager you can tell them this… “Just because a lake is full of fish, it doesn’t mean you’ll find a whale in there”. 

Find this useful? This is just a taster of how we can help your hiring teams reach their full potential. Learn more about how SocialTalent can help your team in these areas and more.

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