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How Employers Can Win Talent in Today’s Blistering Hot Candidate Market

June 16, 2022, by Tam Campbell Trant and Brooke Wilkinson | Recruitment

In a recent Toronto Star article, the current candidate market was described as ‘scorching’ – and from what we’ve seen in recent months, we couldn’t agree more.

We’re seeing record numbers of declined offers, and astonishingly, an increase in rescinded offer acceptances! Recently, one candidate rescinded his offer acceptance on his first day while enroute to his new employer as his former employer provided a competing offer he simply couldn’t refuse.

According to the Toronto Star article, the hiring environment has shifted in favour of the job seeker. This has put pressure on employers to not only offer competitive pay, but to also place an increased focus on the overall candidate experience and entice talent with their value proposition: corporate culture, values, work atmosphere and benefits (including alternative work arrangements).

Although companies and hiring managers know what they need in a candidate, as Recruiters we’ve been advising our clients that it’s no longer enough to post a job and expect candidates to jump for it. In this choosy-candidate market, companies need to heavily promote themselves in order to sway positive offer decisions their way.

How can employers improve the odds in their favour?

Companies need to highlight the value of working at the company, making it a critical piece of the overall package. Below is some food for thought to get you started on your employer value proposition and the need to highlight this throughout the entire recruitment process.

1) CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE: Think of the recruitment process and whether it will woo a candidate.

    • If the Company is flexible in the hiring process, ask candidates their preference and whether they’d like virtual interviews or in-person. We’re finding candidates are requesting in-person interviews, so they can visit the facility to get a feel for the atmosphere, people and culture and whether it aligns with their preferences.
    • Is your hiring team equipped to be company ambassadors? Think about preparing a talk track so your hiring team is equipped with the same messaging around the company history and future plans and any other details in your employer value proposition.
    • Think about the format of the interview process – who is involved? Are there too many / too few interviews so that candidates can feel comfortable in their decision making? The candidate is assessing your company as much as you are assessing them!
    • Listen to what candidates are asking and ensure to answer their questions in a timely fashion to make sure your company is the one they choose!

2) THE JOB ITSELF: what’s unique about your job, and how is it different (i.e., better) from the others out there?

    • How does the role add value to the company?
    • What’s the projected career path within the organization?
    • What will the candidate learn in this job?
    • How will it positively impact their personal career growth?

3) THE ATMOSPHERE: Think about your work environment itself, no matter if it’s virtual or onsite, and highlight why it’s appealing to employees.

    • What programs do you have in place that keep people happy at work?
    • Are there any diversity and inclusion initiatives?
    • What are the positive team dynamics you’d like to highlight, including the size and structure of the team?

4) COMPANY BRAND: beyond your product or service offerings, what values would be attractive to candidates?

    • Are there any ways your company gives back?
    • What is the perception of your company in the greater community? And, if the perception isn’t positive this may have an impact on a candidate’s decision. There are ways to improve it!

5) ADDITIONAL PERKS: Highlight any/all of the following in the job posting and when speaking with candidates:

    • Hybrid work arrangements
    • Summer Hours
    • Donation matching programs / volunteer programs
    • Anniversary recognition programs, etc.
    • What do you have that sets you apart and will entice candidates?

6) And, of course, there are the usual elements that all candidates are looking for:

    • What is your company’s compensation philosophy and opportunities for merit increases (including timelines)?
    • Opportunity for bonuses, profit sharing, commissions, etc.
    • RRSP / pension programs plus any matching
    • Health, wellness and dental benefits
    • Paid Leaves (i.e., Sick, Bereavement, Court, Discretionary Days, etc.), any top-up programs
    • Vacation (i.e., tiered programs earning incremental vacation days for completed years of service)
    • Support with professional development and continuous learning

7 ) Lastly, as you come into the home stretch, companies need to be:

  • OPEN TO DISCUSSIONS! When candidates accept your offer and resign from their current employer, many are facing counter-offers (in our opinion, still a bad idea).
    • Encourage candidates to reach out if faced with a counter-offer situation, to see if a solution can be found..
    • If compensation can’t be matched, it’s a good time to highlight all the other perks which swayed them in the beginning of their search (the role itself, the opportunity and career growth, the work environment, etc.).

Candidates have the advantage at the moment and they’re looking at the full package when making decisions. In order to increase your chances of securing top talent and your number one candidate, companies need to adapt to the candidate market shift and promote all aspects of themselves to attract talent. Otherwise, they will continue to face declined offers (or even worse, rescinded offer acceptances) resulting in longer timeframes to fill a vacancy and increased recruitment costs.

What tips will you implement today to improve your ability to win talent in today's market?

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