The Key to Hiring Top Candidates in a Competitive, Candidate-Driven Market

As 2015 ended, the hiring market seemed to follow suit.  Motivations have changed for truly qualified candidates who are now much more passive than they have been in years, while needs have increased (as well as the urgency of those needs) for a lot of employers.

More and more, we are hearing that clients are getting all the way to the end of a hiring process only to have the candidate back out at the last moment, either getting cold feet or taking a counter offer to stay with their current bank.  Because we have the luxury of talking with both employers and candidates, we’ve been able to identify one key thing that both employers and candidates aren’t often doing in the hiring process, and it’s hurting everyone involved.

So what is the key?  The best way to give you the answer is by asking a simple question:

What are you doing to make your candidate feel wanted? 

Of course, this goes the other way, too, but let’s focus on why this is more important for the employer in this market cycle.  Quite often, we hear from employers who try their best to put some distance between themselves and the candidates after a meeting, which is understandable for a myriad of reasons.  Perhaps they don’t want to give the impression that they’re overly eager or desperate.  Perhaps they don’t want to give the candidate false hope when they truly haven’t made up their mind on which candidate, if any, will be hired.  The list could go on and on.  But there is one thing that is not happening that could help retain the best candidates all the way through to a successful hire — frequent communication.

This communication begins at the end of the first meeting.  Think of it in terms of dating: it’s natural for a person’s interest to wane if there is no talk of a possible future together.  If there is a candidate that is even slightly of interest, it’s important to articulate that during the meeting.

Next, especially if this is going to be a longer, more drawn-out hiring process, there has to be a consistent campaign to touch base, however briefly, on a weekly basis.  Motivations can change in an instant, and the only way to keep a top candidate interested in staying the course is if they have reassurance that there is an active interest in them.

In this current cycle, employers can no longer assume that a candidate will be ready and willing after a long period of no communication.  There are simply too many good opportunities out there, all vying for the same qualified candidates.  An active campaign of communication could be the only difference between hiring or losing your top candidate.