How to Attract Top Talent: It's a Candidate-Driven Market Out There

The challenge for recruiters, staffing agencies and HR departments to attract top talent is growing with the prevalence of technology and the transition to a candidate-driven market. In the second half of 2014, 83% of recruiters questioned for MRINetwork’s Recruiter Sentiment Study felt “the labor market is candidate-driven.” In this series of articles we will discuss this transition, how to attract top talent through various strategies and tactics from job descriptions to managing the candidate experience, and more.

The Bureau of Labour Statistics’ Employment Situation Summary for June states that “The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.3 percent in June, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 375,000 to 8.3 million.” This is the lowest it has been in 7 years and according to Dr. John Sullivan this and the fact that wages have not risen in relation are a strong indication that we are in a candidate-driven market. In the 2014 Recruiting Technology Trends Report from Deloitte Consulting said, “Employers and talent will be on more equal footing than ever before. Job seekers no longer accept your job offers — they choose to work for you”.

The same trend is taking hold in the UK market, according to the June UK Labour Market Report there are 82,000 more jobs than there were one year ago. As vacancies increase, the more power candidates have, aligning recruiters focus to enhance their efforts to attract top talent to their opportunities.

The other factor pointing towards a candidate-driven market is the fact that candidates have access to technology that gives them deeper insight into companies interested in hiring them. For example, candidates can search social media for comments from previous candidates or current employees to get a feel for the culture. This adds to the overall growing importance of a companies’ talent brand and the candidate experience. In the June issue of Recruitment Grapevine Neil Kelly, Group Resourcing at The Co-operative Group was quoted as saying, “Candidates are becoming smarter about what they look for in a ‘great company’, far beyond the traditional attraction we have seen in the past decade.” Companies should be sure to monitor and control their talent brand as much as possible, be authentic and show potential hires what working for them can offer.

LinkedIn recently published an article discussing companies that are “getting talent branding right” and our favourite of the bunch was Zappos. Zappos’ careers page breaks down the company’s internal teams and details the employees that are part of each one, including articles about their Zappos experience, giving candidates the chance to see exactly who they will work beside. Life at Zappos is described through 10 core values and a photo tour of their office that will knock any candidate’s socks off. Last but certainly not least, Zappos has a unique Twitter account (@InsideZappos) that solely focuses on what life is like at Zappos, they share humorous in office pictures and hold regular Twitter chats where employees answer questions about working for them, providing candidates with a real view of what the corporate culture is like.

Another talent brand that we are fond of is Hootsuite, a visit to their careers page instantly creates excitement. The header videos provide a little taste of the office and its people. Starting with a group of employees collaborating on the roof surrounded by what is clearly a vegetable garden, and moving into employees collaborating in funny hats. This all easily and clearly gives potential candidates an idea of the kind of culture they will be joining; a collaborative, fun and healthy environment. They also utilize a personalized hashtag to promote life at hootsuite (#hootsuitelife) and give potential candidates a chance to hear from real employees. This adds authenticity to the brand and shows that they appreciate their employees. All in all, if you are looking to develop your talent brand Zappos and Hootsuite are companies to look at for inspiration.

We don’t see a near end to this power-shift, actually it’s predicted to be the exact opposite, and therefore developing your employer brand and delivering a positive candidate experience is more important than ever. By utilizing a strong and intuitive applicant tracking system with a built in recruiting CRM and website integration, like CURA, companies can focus more time on building their talent brand and making offers rather than spending time and effort on data input and manual candidate tracking.

The next article in this series on how to attract top talent will cover the evolution of job postings and provide tips for writing strong job descriptions that will be seen and drive applicants.

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