Making the most of a job-seeker’s market

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Despite campaign rhetoric and public opinion the contrary, a strong job market is giving job seekers the edge and putting pressure on employers and their benefits managers to draw top-notch talent.

“The U.S. economy and U.S. labor markets are doing quite well, and candidates are finding themselves with a lot of options. So it’s more important than ever to make your company as appealing as possible,” contends economist Daniel Culbertson.

There are a number of factors and best practices for employers to consider to ensure that their hiring process is optimized to attract the best candidates, says Carmen Bryant, employer insights strategist at the job search site

“Recruiting is the number one source of business impact and can either propel a company forward or be a costly mistake,” Bryant cautions.

It helps to understand the psychology of the human capital market, and recently there has been a surprising shift in job hunter mentality, Bryant notes. “There is a new expectation among job seekers,” she says, “that employers should come to them.”

People are always keeping an eye on the job market, she says, citing Indeed research showing that 65% of the people that use its site are back online looking for new jobs 91 days after they were hired. The chief reasons, she says, are:

· Desire for better compensation, according to 77% of the Indeed survey respondents.
· A better or more convenient location, according to 54%.
· More flexible hours, per 51%.
· And better benefits, according to 50%.

Employer strategies

Employers can attract these candidates through inbound as well as outbound searches, and both approaches have their pros and cons, Bryant explains.

Outbound hiring – employers reaching out to acquire new talent – can be expensive due to greater labor costs and lower response rates to searches. But once hired, Bryant says outbound candidates tend to have a stronger desire to succeed at their new company.

Her suggestion: When appealing to potential hires, don’t focus the conversation around what you need from them, but discuss what you can offer them if they decide to work for you.

Inbound hiring – job searches initiated by prospective employees – can be less expensive, but it can be overwhelming to sort through all the potential candidates and more difficult to find a good cultural fit.

“Recruiting is the number one source of business impact and can either propel a company forward or be a costly mistake.”

To curb some of these challenges, Bryant advises employers to shape their candidate pipeline through the use of job titles, job descriptions and the application process. All of these factors help determine who will apply for a company’s open positions.

Most importantly, Bryant says, make the process easy for the job applicant. “If you’re not optimized for mobile, you’re losing candidates from the pool,” she says, noting that 68% of job seekers use mobile applications when applying for new positions.

An overly complex application process, Bryant adds, can drive the best candidates away. “Think about busy people with a lot going on,” she argues. “They’re not going to spend the time and you’ll end up getting the middle bucket or the more average talent.”

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