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How to stand out in a candidate-driven market

This guide explores ways for recruiters to stand out in a labor market transformed by a global pandemic, the ‘Great Resignation,’ and a cultural shift in the way we view the workplace. 

Candidate-driven market vs. employer-driven market – The difference between a candidate-driven market and an employer driven market can be summarized in one sentence - supply and demand. When the supply of available jobs is scarce and the pool of qualified candidates is plentiful, it is the employers who have the upper hand. Conversely, when the demand for qualified workers is high and there is a surplus of jobs to be filled, the balance shifts and it becomes a candidate-driven market. A market where candidates have more leverage when it comes to schedules, pay, benefits and other negotiables.

“The new normal puts candidates in the driver’s seat, putting even more pressure on recruiters to up their game.”

The impact of the events mentioned above have changed the modern workplace as we know it. Employers are not only competing for top talent, but they are also having to adjust their thinking, (not to mention their workforce planning) to accommodate the other new normal – the hybrid and remote worker. Recruiters have also had to shift their thinking, not to mention – their overall strategy, to successfully navigate the changing job market.

Standing out in a sea of recruiters – So, how do you stand out as a recruiter in a candidate-driven market? The best strategy is a multi-faceted one that encompasses a common-sense approach, with some fundamental changes to what were once considered industry standards. 

Change the way you write a job description – Forget the old way you crafted a job description. In a candidate scarce market, it is important to create a job description that is more inviting and focuses on more than what is listed on a resume. Finding candidates who are adaptable, capable, and flexible – can be the equivalent of finding a unicorn in today’s job market. 

What you need to change – 

  • Years of experience – if you are still including a must-have number for years of experience, this would be a good time to stop. With Generation Z entering the workforce, and many baby boomers leaving it, you will need to adjust your thinking. Leaving years of experience out will give you access to more candidates with the Take gender out of the equation – With such a competitive, and limited pool of candidates, why limit your selection by inadvertently alienating female candidates by using job titles such as – “salesman” or “mailman?”  And be careful to not use superlatives like – an expert, or superior, as they may subconsciously put off female candidates. Keep things gender-neutral to get the best response from ALL candidates. 
  • Avoid over-stating requirements – Be flexible about the qualifications for the role. Of course, you should outline what the requirements are. But instead of calling out “must-haves,” change them to “nice-to-haves.” Why? Because according to Harvard Business Review, research shows that women don’t apply for jobs unless they are 100% qualifies, while men will still apply even after meeting only 60% of the requirements. The potential for substantially limiting your pool of qualified candidates is high if you don’t adjust your thinking and your job descriptions. 
  • DO make your diversity and inclusion values visible – Make sure you are expressing your company’s commitment to equality and diversity. Not only will you attract more diverse, qualified candidates, you’ll also be making strides towards meeting your DE&I requirements. Candidates in today’s job market care about more than just the job description. Equal pay and work culture are critical factors in a candidate’s ultimate decision. 

Personalize your recruiting – Another way to stand out from other recruiters, is to put a personal touch on your recruiting activities. In large part, that begins and ends with good communication. 

  • Be transparent from day one – Set the stage early in the process by informing candidates about every aspect of the role and company you are sourcing for. Keep in mind you are in a candidate-driven market where candidates have more options and higher expectations in general. By openly discussing their expectations, salary and other important information up front, you will have a better chance of keeping them engaged in the process. A candidate who feels like they need to pull the information out of an employer, is far more likely to lose interest in the role. 
  • Keep candidates informed every step of the way – An important part of successfully building a pool of talent, is creating trust between you and your candidates. That means keeping them informed throughout the recruiting process. It also means quickly notifying them – even if their skill set is not a match for the role you are looking to fill. Not only does this give them the opportunity to seek out roles they are more suitable for, but most will appreciate not having their time wasted and will trust you to be straightforward with them on future roles. Plus – chances are, you will eventually have a role they would be an ideal candidate for. Recruiters who communicate early and often have a distinct advantage over those who tend to communicate less frequently. 

Make your process efficient for candidates and yourself – Keeping a steady stream of candidates happy with your services, is critical to your success as a recruiter. But if you find yourself juggling candidates and hopping around job-boards, you will quickly realize this is not the best way to get top talent. You must have a system that offers candidates a simple, streamlined process that is also easy and efficient for you! This is where having the right recruiting technology can be a game changer. A user-friendly platform like Arya Quantum, that integrates into your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and consolidates all your sources can make your recruiting efforts more efficient and seamless. Arya Quantum gives you the ability to see all your candidates in one list. You will be able to sort, filter and ultimately – reach out to candidates much faster. This is especially important for those urgent roles you need to fill.  Another valuable feature is the integrated candidate communication dashboard that allows you to stay connected with your candidates, increases candidate engagement, and offers the opportunity to automate emails and personalized messages, saving you valuable time for other important tasks.  

Recognize when you need help – Some roles are just harder to fill than others. Partnering with other recruiters for those difficult to source positions is a good way to expand your network and access an entirely new pool of candidates. Just be sure to set clear expectations for the terms of your partnership. 

Final thoughts – Effectively standing out from the competition in a candidate-driven market can be challenging. But by taking advantage of the right recruiting tools, maintaining an adaptable mindset and delivering a new approach, you can set yourself apart.