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Urgent! A Shift in the Job Market Calls for an Expedited Hiring Approach

For many organizations looking to hire, it may be the first time in years they have dipped their toes into the hiring pool. The recession — and the long climb out of it — may have given hiring managers and leadership teams the false impression that there is an abundance of readily available talent. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the job market has shifted so dramatically this year that many companies looking to hire are finding a shortage of highly-qualified candidates. If you will be hiring soon, here are some tips to make the process more successful:

Be more flexible
If your organization did any hiring during the recession, you most likely had the time and the luxury of picking from a large, skilled and readily available group of candidates. For many skill sets, this is no longer the case. Hiring managers are beginning to find it harder and harder to find that “perfect fit.” In today’s job market, hiring managers may want to consider a more flexible approach. For example, instead of only considering people who meet every one of your requirements, consider taking a hard look at what you REALLY need to get the job done. Prioritize your needs and wants and determine what skills/experience are “must haves” and what skills/experience are “nice to haves.” This will give you a better idea of what skills are vital to the job, and what can be delegated or taught.

Have a contingency plan
In the event you have the good fortune of identifying multiple candidates for a role, don’t necessarily put all your eggs in one basket and focus on one candidate to the exclusion of all others. Have a contingency plan. A lot of things can happen during an interview process. Candidates can go off the market or decline offers or you may decide the person is not a good cultural fit. Try to keep your interview pipeline open so that you have more than just one option if your first choice falls through. If you have two or more people going through the process, you will have a better chance of making a hire.

Watch out for the competition
The market is tight for select talent in every industry. These people are not just getting one job offer, but are in many cases entertaining multiple offers. Remember — if you think a candidate is great, chances are someone else (maybe even a direct competitor) will too.

Sell yourself
One way to set your organization apart from other companies is to sell yourself! Hiring managers must change their mindset from “You’re lucky we’re offering you a job” to “This is what our organization can do for you.” What makes your organization attractive to candidates and employees? How are you better than other employers or your competition? Make sure to talk about your benefits package, culture, training and development programs and the opportunity for advancement. Ask candidates what is important to them and let them know about company programs that will appeal to them.

Expedite the hiring process
You will have an advantage in securing the most sought-after candidates if you can speed up your interview and hiring process. The entire process — from reviewing resumes to making an offer — needs to be expedited. The interview team needs to commit to a reasonable timeframe before any candidates are even contacted. This will be especially important during the summer months as people take vacations. The other key to success is to communicate the timeframe to candidates. If they know they can expect a phone interview within 24 hours, and an in-person interview later the same week, they will feel more confident about the organization. Keep them informed as you move forward, particularly if there is any kind of delay. If you are very interested in a candidate, but still need to set up additional interviews, consider starting background checks and contacting references early so you will be ahead of schedule when you are ready to make an offer.

It is also important to be flexible about scheduling interviews. Many of the people you are hoping to meet with are already working and will have difficulty making time to interview. Offer to set up interviews after hours, schedule multiple interviews for one day or use Skype to conduct interviews via the web.

Work backwards
Some hiring teams have found it beneficial to set a timeline for the hiring process and then work backwards to see when the process should start. It helps to give a realistic idea of what your timing will need to look like. For example, if you need someone by September 1st to launch a new product, you can determine the dates you will need to look at resumes, set up interviews and make a final decision.

The job market has experienced a dramatic shift over the last year. Many candidates are in high demand and are fielding multiple offers. There is a renewed urgency to the hiring process. If you follow these steps, you can attract top talent and clinch those in-demand candidates.

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