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The Recruitment Market is Going Mad – what can we do about it?

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Recruitment has long been a brutal world of expectation and the harshest of realities. From the very first touchpoint of a job advert, through to candidate selection, interviews, and feedback emails, as a recruitment agency our job is and always has been to manage expectations for both parties, and ultimately deliver the best clients to the right job roles for them.

With that said, why is it that in the modern word of 2021, the demands of both companies and candidates are growing at an alarming rate?

In an effort to combat this unexpected rising demand, the first question that recruitment agencies need to ask themselves is this: Who do I work for?

Who do I work for?

As a recruitment agency, the likelihood is that you will work with both companies and their candidates, looking to create streamlined processes which match one party with the other seamlessly and successfully. In the past, this meant candidates putting their faith into recruitment agencies, trusting that they would identify the best job roles for them and help them achieve at least an interview if not the final job offer.

In the case of companies and businesses, again trust is at the very heart of the client expectation – giving control of the recruitment process over to an agency which would filter applicants and hand only the top tier candidates over for a final internal interview.

So, what has changed?

The recruitment world as it looks right now

We can describe it only as sheer madness.

Company clients around the world now seem to hold the belief that the pandemic has created huge gaps in the job market, and that candidates will be falling over each other to snap up what few jobs there are available. For some companies operating in coveted and exclusive industries, this is changing the way that they approach recruitment, with many lowering salaries and upping expectations, believing that high level candidates need jobs and so will step in to fill a role regardless of a lowered salary.

Meanwhile, candidates themselves are becoming more unreliable and increasingly selective about the jobs they apply for and the offers they accept. The concept of playing one offer against another is growing in popularity, with candidates using new job offers as a means of eliciting a higher salary from another offer from a different company.

What this has created is an intense environment of chaos, breeding the kind of misinterpretation which is seeing companies lose out on the best candidates to fill their positions, and is driving candidates away from jobs which might be the best fit for them – all because of changing attitudes to market demand and the big ‘S’ – salary.

What needs to happen in order for this to change?

The first thing that needs to happen is that company clients need to understand that candidate attitudes are changing – and that ultimately, candidates do hold the upper hand whether we like it or not. The talent pool of candidates is not nearly as saturated as many companies believe, and so scaring applicants off with lowered salaries is no way to ensure that your business attracts the highest level of skill and competence for a role. Add this to the increasingly demanding and selective train of thought that candidates go through, and many companies will find that their applicant pile is filled primarily with non-starters.

Instead of lowering salary and increasing expectations, companies need to lower their expectation for hundreds of applicants, and instead take steps towards establishing themselves as a great place to work – beyond the mere financial gain and the basic promise of a job.

Some great examples of things companies can do to stand out in the ever-changing recruitment market include:

  •  Focus on the culture of your workplace, and what kind of environment candidates can expect to be working in. Candidates are becoming increasingly clear on what kind of working style suits them, with some of the core questions we get asked being around the age scope of a business, the work-life balance, and the atmosphere created by the team.
  •  Work-life balance and flexibility. These are both key buzzwords floating around the corporate sphere right now, influencing the way that candidates respond to the flexible offerings from various businesses. Especially following the pandemic and focus on remote working, candidates are looking for more opportunity to manage their own time and create a working day which works for them – so if you can offer support with this, shout about it!
  •  Progression and opportunity for development are other key areas that candidates are always interested in, presenting companies with a chance to showcase the kind of investment they channel into their workforce. This not only shows how supportive a company is but also demonstrates their understanding of the importance of progression to employees and will serve them well when it comes to recruitment.

These are just a handful of ways that companies can continue to attract high level candidates to fill a variety of positions, regardless of the size of the talent pool. The more you can demonstrate your place in the market as a fair and supportive employer, the higher the chance that those top level candidates will come knocking on your door. This means not just cutting down on expectations, but also balancing your offering out with a focus on areas besides financial payment. Because believe it or not, there aren’t as many desperate candidates out there as you might think, and those who are out there are now more aware than ever of what they want – and what they deserve.

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