The last 18 months have completely shifted the world of recruitment. To say it’s been turned on its head would be an understatement. Skills that were once in huge demand suddenly become less desirable almost overnight, and tech knowledge and qualifications have been growing in demand ever since. Entire industries have had to change the way they work to survive, and in doing so, specific skill sets are becoming less valuable. With almost every business out there searching for the same tech skills, we’ve found ourselves in a Candidate Driven Market for the first time since 2019. Now, employers have to compete for a very limited talent pool, whilst candidates in the tech space hold more power than ever.
In this blog, we’ll be exploring more about what a Candidate-Driven Market means and how you can still run a successful tech recruitment strategy when the market isn’t on your side.
What is a Candidate Driven Market?
A candidate-driven market means that candidates have the upper hand. There are more available jobs than skilled, qualified candidates. This means that these candidates have more choice over where they work and the conditions of their work. There is more room for negotiation around pay and perks in a candidate-driven market as employers are desperate to get their hands on top tech talent. It’s easier for candidates to find more competitive offers, and rejecting job prospects is no longer such a daunting prospect for many. The ball truly is in the candidate’s court.
What does a Candidate-Driven Market mean for Businesses?
A candidate-driven market means there is an undeniable supply and demand issue. Due to the rapid increase in demand for digital services and businesses, employers currently need to hire for a lot of new roles, expand tech departments rapidly and embrace a new era of work and technology. However, there are not as many qualified candidates available to fill these tech roles as there are vacancies. Therefore, many businesses are competing for the same talent, and roles remain unfilled.
This means that employers have to think outside of the box when it comes to tech recruitment.
A candidate-driven market also means that employees are more likely to leave their current position. They can see demand for their technical skills and qualifications but often with a better salary, more impressive benefits or more exciting progression opportunities. Leaving a job is much less scary when you know that your technical skills are in demand and there are hundreds of options out there. This means that employers have to work harder to hold onto their existing team members and really focus on employee retention.
How can I ensure I hire the right people in a Candidate Driven Market?
1. Write clear job descriptions
By writing clear and concise job descriptions, you can ensure the right people apply for your open positions. If you outline the skills, qualities and qualifications you need clearly, candidates who aren’t a great fit will be deterred from applying. It’s long-winded and complicated job applications, where requirements aren’t precise, that attract a wider array of candidates because they don’t know whether they’re a good fit or not. If you’re vague in your desires and requirements, you won’t get the level of candidates you desire.
Also, job descriptions are an ideal place to give an insight into your company culture and values. As the first touchpoint for many candidates and the initial point of contact with your business, it’s a great place to show what you stand for and who you are as a business so that candidates can self-select and determine whether they’ll be a good fit for you. This way, you’ll only attract like-minded candidates who share your values. However, you must also be careful to use gender-neutral language. Biased terms could limit your talent pool further and prevent people from applying. So, make sure your job ads are reviewed by multiple people within the business before you make them live.
2. Refine the candidate experience
The candidate experience can often be off-putting if it’s too complex, too long or lacks care and attention. You can’t afford to lose applications in a candidate-driven market because your landing page was slow or you demanded too much in a screening task. Instead, it would help if you were trying to hire the best talent quickly rather than testing them on all aspects. In a recent survey of candidates in the EMEA, 20% of candidates said they dropped out of an application process because it took too long. In a candidate-driven market, having a lengthy application process, multiple (and unnecessary) interviews or even time-consuming skills tests could be detrimental to your tech talent acquisition efforts. However, this doesn’t mean that you should leave all of your recruitment efforts to machine learning algorithms and data points in the name of speed. To ensure you’re hiring the right tech candidates in a candidate-driven market, you must also ensure you prioritise the human elements of recruitment.
Talking to candidates and implementing human contact over algorithms ensures that candidates can get a real feel for who you are as an employer and ensures that talented people aren’t falling through the net because they don’t match up to an algorithm.
3. Prioritise your employer brand and employee retention
In a recruitment market where candidates almost have their pick of future employees, it’s vital to celebrate what makes you a unique place to work. When all of the playing fields are level in terms of compensation, benefits, and geography (if you’re not offering remote work), the employer brand will be the deciding factor for many. Therefore, it should not be ignored. Your employer brand could be the difference between top talent choosing to work for you or not, which is why you must promote your values, company culture and business goals.
By prioritising your employer brand efforts and involving your current employees in the process, you will also improve retention. In a candidate-driven market, it’s as vital to ensure your current teams are satisfied and stay with you as it is to attract new talent. Otherwise, you’ll find yourselves in a constant recruitment cycle. By conducting employee engagement surveys, focus groups and deploying market research techniques, you’ll be able to identify the strengths of your workplace (which you can promote to external candidates) as well as the pain points (which you can work to improve in hopes of retaining employees). In addition, through talking to employees, you can help them feel more involved in your business and create a culture that works for existing team members and exciting new hires
4. Reach passive candidates
Another way to ensure you can hire technical talent in a candidate-driven market is to reach passive candidates with your job advertisements. If you only communicate with candidates looking for a job, you’re restricting your audience and talent pool significantly. There may be skilled candidates out there who do not know they want a new job right now but could be a perfect fit for your company skills-wise and on a cultural level.
To reach these candidates, consider digital attraction through paid media. Using Google and LinkedIn ads will only really allow you to connect with candidates looking for a new role, but investing some money in more consumer-facing platforms will allow you to reach passive candidates. By targeting based on skillset, experience, education, or qualification, you can ensure that you’re reaching relevant candidates. The key is you’re not limiting your search for tech talent to those searching for you. With the right messaging and creative concept, you could open the eyes of your perfect hire and convince them to try their luck and apply.
5. Expand your talent pool
One of the best things to happen in the world of recruitment this year is that we are no longer limited by geography and proximity to the office. While, of course, this opens up more opportunities for candidates, including your existing workforce, it can also be used to help your tech recruitment efforts. With the rise in remote work, it’s only really essential for candidates to come to the office occasionally, if it all. Therefore, you can cast the net much wider than an hour’s commute from your headquarters. Thanks to video communications, remote work is here to stay, which can really help give employers an advantage and candidates.
You can also expand your talent pool by looking for candidates who don’t fit your typical mould. For example, there are now so many different ways to gain skills and experience. A traditional university degree shouldn’t be the only qualification you look for.
6. Outsource Tech Recruitment
Outsourcing tech recruitment is a great way to ensure success in a candidate-driven market. In a scaling tech business, your leadership teams have far more to focus on than recruiting talent. By engaging with an RPO provider, you can benefit from recruitment expertise that works as an extension of your team. These experts know how to reach out to active and passive candidates, promote your employer brand and sell your company to top candidates. RPO providers can run digital attraction campaigns based on thorough research and insight and help you to source candidates outside of your traditional network and talent pool. An RPO agency will work as a strategic tech recruitment partner, helping you fulfil urgent demand and pave a better recruitment process for years to come by refining candidate experiences and employer brands. It’s their job to help your talent acquisition strategy succeed, and they work as an extension of you to find the right tech talent.
If you’d like to talk about how outsourcing your tech recruitment can help you hire talent in a candidate-driven market, contact us.
Talent Works are a tech RPO provider with offices in Manchester, Northampton and Boston, MA. We have in-house insight, creative and digital teams who support our recruiters to offer a uniquely flexible approach to tech RPO perfect for startups, scale-ups and beyond.