Unemployment rates in the United States now sit at their lowest level in nearly 20 years. This is good news, right? Well, if you’re an economist, the continuation of low unemployment rates may be great news, but as a recruiter the opposite is true. Like any other market, the job market fluctuates regularly. When unemployment rates are high, the employers control the market, but when unemployment rates go down, it transforms into a candidate-driven market.
Effect of a Candidate-Driven Market in Recruitment
When unemployment is high, employers typically have no problem attracting candidates to their job openings, even high-quality candidates. In this scenario, the employer is the one with the options and candidates find themselves competing with each other to show the employer why they are the best candidate for the job.
During periods of low unemployment, on the other hand, the candidate, especially top talent candidates, are the ones with the options. Sure, the candidate still has to present an impeccable resume and prove that they are qualified for the position, but the highly qualified applicants may have several offers to consider. In order to hire the best of the best, it is the employer that must sell itself to the candidates and explain why the applicant should choose to work for them.
Winning Over Candidates
Low unemployment creates a fiercely competitive job market for recruiters. Employers must find ways to not just attract top talent but to entice these candidates to accept the offer. In today’s highly competitive job market, it is vital for employers to find a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Employers can no longer expect candidates to come to them.
Instead, they must develop a strategy for initiating, maintaining and managing engagement with prospective candidates. This high level of candidate engagement could play a vital role in whether your ideal candidates accept the offer or not.
Unique Employer Value Proposition
The best way for employers to differentiate themselves from other employers is to develop a strong Employer Value Proposition (EVP). An effective EVP should successfully relay to prospective applicants why they should work for your company.
Competitive Benefit Package
While salary is still important to applicants today, they also are looking for other fringe benefits, such as flexible hours, work-from-home options and student loan assistance programs. It’s important for employers to put together an attractive benefits package that doesn’t solely focus on salary.
Speed Up the Hiring Decision Process
Competition may be fierce in today’s job market, but that doesn’t mean that employers should settle for less than top talent candidates. It does mean, however, that you should speed up your hiring decision process or risk losing your ideal candidate. Studies show that the average employer takes about 2-4 weeks from the candidate’s interview until they make an offer. Any timeframe longer than this increases the risk of losing your top candidate to one of your competitors. If you can reduce this time, it puts you at a great advantage over your competition.
There are many hiring platforms, such as ATS (Application Tracking Systems) that can help you filter through the applications faster and more effectively. In addition, recruitment tools, including pre-hire assessments that can quickly and accurately assess a candidate’s skills, abilities, motivation and performance, can help employers narrow down their chooses to make better hiring decisions.
While low unemployment may put more power into the hands of the candidate, it doesn’t mean that employers still can’t attract, identify and hire the top talent candidates they need to grow their business.
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