Say what you like about Recruitment Consultants, and I am sure many of you do, they are close to the forefront of changes in the economy. There are few better barometers as to how the world is feeling about the economic situation than the extent, speed, volume and blend of hiring, and Recruiters feel it first. How they deal with it is the measure of their mettle.
We have just experienced 7 years of stagnation and recession in the economy. Many candidates and hiring managers have never known anything other than a job-short “buyer’s market”. As the market shifts, and shift is has, the dynamics change significantly and rapidly which makes securing the best talent far more challenging, and often makes the candidates choices harder too. Can you rely on your Recruitment Consultant to help guide you through the changing landscape? In reality you should be able to – that is, after all, their job. However, the answer will vary from Recruiter to Recruiter and from firm to firm. Like candidates and hiring managers, the bulk of Recruitment Consultants operating at desk level today will probably have learned recruitment in a recession, or have entered the industry so recently that their knowledge is sparse. Succeeding as a Recruiter in a recession is no mean feat and if they survived it they are probably pretty determined and pretty good. However, the shift in dynamics requires different skills. We aren’t totally in the bull market but we are getting there. The volume of vacancies is increasing, candidates have more options, there is more competition for top talent, and top employees are also experiencing more positive moves in their own companies. Counter-offers are on the up with some candidates getting 20-40% pay rises to stay put. Have hiring managers, candidates and recruiters responded appropriately?
Once again, speed is of the essence. You probably have multiple candidates who look good on paper. You may have met several that you like. I guarantee the best of them is also the favourite for your competition. Act – don’t delay. Make sure the interview process is a two-way sell. Candidates are picky and rightly so. They are making a big commitment and they have choices. Find out from your Recruitment Consultant what the candidate is looking for and show how your role fulfills the brief. Think how hard it would (hopefully) be to tempt your top employee away. – that’s the calibre you are targeting. Pay people what they are worth. The days of people taking a sideways or backwards move to secure a good role are behind us. If a candidate’s value to market is greater than their value to you, you will lose them. If you want them, be competitive. It’s really hard to undo the negative impact of a low-balled offer. Work with your Recruiter to secure the candidate you want. If the Recruiter is good, they will have an honest and open rapport with the candidates and will help you avoid losing them. If your recruiter can’t offer that, change them. We aren’t exactly in short supply!
Revel in the growth in the market. Enjoy the fact that you can now pick up jobs more easily, that your pipeline is strong and that you are busy. Hone the skills you developed in the recession. However, don’t get lazy. Fulfilling your client’s brief just became much, much harder. Your best candidates now have three times as many options, including internally. You need to really understand their needs and really deliver for them or your clients will miss out. Help your clients understand the market dynamics, help your candidates make the right choices, be consultative. The right candidate, for the right job, at the right price. It will pay off.
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