As the national unemployment rate hovers at 3.8% and candidate pools continue to shrink, recruiters are finding it more difficult to deliver high-quality candidates that meet hiring manager expectations. While open communication is always key, there are a handful of specific tactics recruiters can implement to drive hiring manager satisfaction in a candidate’s market.
While hiring managers may assume the “purple unicorn” candidate is an easy find, recruiters know that isn’t the case. As experts on the front lines of the hiring battlefield, recruiters must feel empowered to push back on this expectation-- taking on more of a consultative role. A hiring manager may want a candidate to fit each of their expectations perfectly, but a recruiter knows this may drive up time to fill and even compromise critical business goals.
The truth is there are fewer unemployed people than there are job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that recruiters either have to get candidates to leave their current jobs, or they’ll have to recruit people from their current positions. The goal is to find candidates who have a strong culture fit, with enough transferable skills that they’ll be able to learn other skills on the job description.
However, according to CNBC, the most in demand jobs are software designer, medical services manager, and registered nurse. These jobs are competitive and highly skills-based. You can’t hire someone as a nurse just because they get along well with coworkers. In jobs like these, hiring managers and recruiters will need to determine which skills are absolutely necessary, like a nursing degree, and what skills are compromisable or trainable, like computer skills.
Hiring managers want enough applicants to have a good range of choices, but they don’t want too many candidates, since that will slow down their time to hire. Regardless of if there are too few or too many applicants, hiring managers might think recruiters didn’t post job openings properly.
There’s a huge range in the number of job applicants per job. According to SHRM, the average number of applicants per job opening is 36, but this ranges considerably across companies. Google can get thousands of applicants, while smaller businesses can get just two or three applicants to choose from.
Considering your job description as your first filter for candidates. It’s where you can make the biggest difference in how many candidates apply. In order to get fewer candidates, think critically about your job posting and the skills you list. You’ll want to list enough requirements to keep unqualified candidates from applying, but you’ll need to be careful not to alienate potentially good candidates. Balance this by listing technical skills and soft skills. Offer training on technical skills if their soft skills fit perfectly. In order to get lots of applicants, post your job description broadly, with particular attention to areas candidates might be. This includes traditional online job forums like Indeed and LinkedIn, as well as smaller areas like university and community job boards.
At the end of the hiring process, hiring managers and recruiters agree on the ideal candidate, and then offer that person a job. In an ideal world, that person jumps at the opportunity and says they can start the next day. If the candidate comes this far and doesn’t accept the job offer, it’s important to remember there are many outside factors at play.
According to MRINetwork, 47 percent of candidates who rejected offers said they did so because they accepted another offer. The second most likely reason a candidate rejects an offer? A quarter of candidates said they rejected a job offer because the pay was lower than expected.
Sometimes a bump in salary is a worthwhile investment to get a quality candidate to reconsider. But before you get there, make sure your candidate experience is on point. This means treating all candidates like they’re the perfect candidate throughout. Candidates view your hiring process as an indicator of your company’s culture. If they’ve felt valued throughout the hiring process, they’re more likely to choose you in the end.
Conducting background checks is the most objective way to ensure your expectation of your candidates is the reality. To do so, use a credible background screening provider for your final candidates.