Hiring in a candidate-driven market can be challenging.
With the high amount of current job openings, employers need to pay attention to the things that matter most to candidates, including career growth and flexibility. — Getty Images/Prostock-Studio

In today’s job market, the candidates have the upper hand. That’s mainly because there are so few of them compared to job openings.

The ratio of job seekers to job openings hit a record low in late 2018, and has stayed that way ever since, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In fact, there are about one million more openings than candidates to fill them. That doesn’t necessarily mean workers are finding employment easily, however. The 2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey by recruiting site Jobvite found that, despite the numbers, 45% of job seekers say they’re having a harder time finding work than last year.

Many of the job seekers who found it easier to find work were college graduates who live in cities, and who work in “high skill” industries like technology, telecommunications and marketing. Of those job seekers, younger workers are increasingly shaping the culture and values of the companies they work for. And as more millennials move up in the workforce, expectations for work are changing.

Today’s candidates care about career growth, flexibility and a strong culture, says Debby Carreau, author and founder of human resources company Inspired HR. “Candidates want to know about the organization’s values, that there is opportunity for growth, and they want to hear from existing employees what the work experience is like,” Carreau said.

[Read: Want to Recruit Better Workers? Time to Get Flexible]

During the recruitment process, ensure the candidate feels they are valued, made to feel important to the organization and that they are treated with respect.

Debby Carreau, founder, Inspired HR

For employers, this means working harder to nab the best candidates. Here’s what they can do to attract and keep great employees in a candidate-driven market.

Offer meaningful work

According to Carreau, one of the most important things an employer can offer is a strong brand with a specific set of values. Candidates with similar values could be more likely to identify with your company’s mission. One of the best ways to get a branding message across is online: A company website works wonders, but social media sites like LinkedIn or Twitter can increase your visibility. “Building a digital footprint where prospective employees have access to all this information is especially helpful for attracting talent,” Carreau said.

Offer opportunity for growth

Many employees are looking to grow or learn on the job, and the promise of growth can attract and retain ambitious workers. Candidates see growth as essential, says Carreau, regardless of whether those new skills will help them in their current position or future ones. And according to the Job Seeker Nation Survey, career growth topped compensation for the first time as a main factor in the job search.

[Read: 6 Things Every Boss Should Do to Build an Amazing Company Culture]

Make candidates feel valued

In the current job market, candidates potentially have the power to choose between job offers. This means that candidates are choosing their employers just as much as employers are looking for the right workers. To increase the chances that your job offers are accepted, pay attention to candidates’ needs and let them ask questions. “During the recruitment process, ensure the candidate feels they are valued, made to feel important to the organization and that they are treated with respect,” Carreau said.

Hire boomerang employees

If a former employee mentions they’re on the job hunt, consider bringing them back on the team. According to Carreau, that’s what many employers are doing in the face of a potential shortage of candidates. “This strategy can be a win-win for both employees and employers,” said Carreau. “It reduces recruitment costs and mis-hires as well as saves on training costs.”

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published January 31, 2020