What is a Candidate-Driven Job Market?

Posted Monday, June 5th, 2017 by Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

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The monthly unemployment rate report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been trending on the positive side for months. This trend is especially good for job seekers. Candidates with specialized skills are more in demand creating an intensified competition among employers to hire great talent. For the past few years, the job market has shifted in the applicant’s favor. The candidate-driven market is the term to describe this shift and it has never been more popular. But what, exactly does it mean?

The Many Factors of a Candidate-Driven Job Market

Unemployment numbers can give some understanding what factors determine a candidate-driven job market. During the start of the Great Recession in 2008 through 2009, nearly nine million jobs were lost and unemployment reached over 10 percent. But, since the dark days of the recession in 2010, the employment rate has nearly doubled with an average of nearly 195,000 new jobs being created per month with a current unemployment rate of 4.4 percent. Job seekers are finding more opportunities than ever before. The MRINetwork 2016 Recruiter & Employer Sentiment Study found that 86% of recruiters and 62% of employers felt that candidates are now “driving” the labor market.

Human Resources know the pain of trying to fill certain positions. According to Jobvite, 65% of recruiters claim talent shortage is the biggest challenge in hiring. In their 2016 Global Recruiting Report, LinkedIn stated that the three biggest obstacles to recruiting were:

  • Finding suitable candidates (46%)
  • Employee compensation (43%)
  • Competition for talent (39%)

The single-skilled worker, such as engineers, developers and those in high tech industries will have multiple job offers as they are clearly in the stronger bargaining position. Employers that take too long to hire will miss out on the best candidates because another company will snatch them up. It has never been more important to provide a great hiring experience to your candidates and bring them on board as quickly as possible.

What Do Todays Job Candidates Want?

What does today’s job seeker want when they are looking for a new opportunity? Candidates favor companies with strong employer brands and strong company culture. Candidates want to feel inspired, motivated and continue to educate themselves while at work. In today’s competitive job market, candidates are looking for more than just salary. They are looking for a company where they can learn new things, feel that their work is meaningful to the company and are happy. If employees are happy, they tend to work harder and be more productive with less turnover.

Positive and Transparent Candidate Hiring Experience

In the candidate-driven job market, it is becoming more critical for companies to create a better candidate experience during the entire hiring process. An organization needs to be transparent with the candidate during the recruiting to onboarding steps. Keeping an applicant informed of the status of their application, interviews and background screening process will go a long way towards creating and maintaining a brand’s reputation. If hiring takes too long, it could cause the candidate anxiety, which could lead to them taking an offer at another company. It is important to set the expectations with the candidate early and tell them what will happen as they go through hiring procedures.

It is not a secret, criminal background checks and drug screening are intrusive and most candidates do not understand the screening process. The report many contain information bearing on a candidate’s character, general reputation, personal characteristic, mode of living or credit standing. Being transparent during screening is crucial-and not just because it is required for compliance reasons-to create a positive candidate experience. Lastly, a good onboarding experience will make the new employee feel great about their decision to take the job at your organization and help them feel prepared to start the job on a high note on the first day.

Candidate Experience Directly Impacts Businesses

Candidate experience has a direct impact on business from reputation to the bottom line. Job seekers are more willing to share their hiring experiences with friends and family on their social media channels as well as other online outlets. According to a recent WorkPlaceTrends Candidate Experience Study, almost 60% of job seekers report having a poor candidate experience. Of those, 72% shared information on the bad experience online on an employer review site, such as Glassdoor, on a social networking site or directly with a colleague or friend. Negative experiences potentially impact the employment brand and revenue for consumer-based businesses. This can also diminish the company from attracting sought-after talent and the referral networks that come with them.

It is becoming more critical for companies to create a better candidate experience from filling out applications to day one paperwork. Employee well-being is reflected in everything a company does from production to promotion. Offering the right compensation and benefits to a candidate plays a big role in ensuring their future happiness at the organization. If a new hire feels welcome and has more of a work-life balance at their jobs, they are more likely to stay longer. One way to boost candidate experience is by having an onboarding policy in place for new employees. Find out ways to improve an organization’s onboarding procedures by downloading our white paper, Your Complete Guide to Onboarding from Decision to Day One.

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