A woman facing away from the camera and wearing a bright yellow polka-dotted blouse shakes hands with a grinning man in a suit and tie. The man holds a piece of paper in one hand and sits at a desk.
You can find potential job candidates in some unlikely places, including on social media and in your own community. — Getty Images/ljubaphoto

The talent acquisition industry has always endured peaks and valleys. However, with a permanent shift of mindset from COVID-19 and society’s increased value for a work-life balance, hiring managers may find the next few months difficult and critical for their businesses. Below, talent recruiters share tips for finding the right fit in a tough hiring market.

Facing the challenges of today’s job market head on

Today’s job market is much more competitive than it once was, and in different ways. For example, while salaries will always remain competitive, modern employees are more interested in an uplifting and flexible company culture.

“A recent report by Achievers Workforce Institute found that a combined 54% of employees are considering leaving their current jobs due to poor company culture vs. only 36% who said they are looking for better compensation and benefits,” said Ashley Cox, CEO of SproutHR. “While providing competitive wages and benefits will remain important, companies need to focus more time and resources around providing improved work-life balance benefits, such as flexible work schedules, more comprehensive time off policies [and] establishing boundaries around work hours/expectations.”

It’s also important for employers to see their workers as real humans, finding ways to match their values and support their personal lives as much as their professional lives.

“Candidates are not prioritizing pay and title as once were; they are prioritizing purpose and connection to the company,” said Brittany Ramsey, corporate recruiter at L'Oreal and career coach at BWell Mindset Coaching. “Since the pandemic, employees want to spend their time … at a company that aligns with their values [and] lifestyle and gives them opportunities of growth.”

[Read more: Time, Talent and Team: How to Support Your Team With Temporary Talent]

Unlikely places to find job candidates

Social media

While you might not expect to find your next employee while scrolling on TikTok or exploring your Instagram feed, don’t overlook these opportunities.

For instance, “Gen Z and Millennials are engaged, responsive and branding themselves in new ways and on Clubhouse and TikTok,” said Ramsey. “Some marketers, top e-commerce and digital experts and even finance experts, are standing out far more than a resume can demonstrate in an applicant tracking system.”

Cox added that niche Facebook groups also often have a pool of qualified candidates. Keeping an eye on social media connections can lead to countless networking opportunities.

Candidates are not prioritizing pay and title as once were; they are prioritizing purpose and connection to the company.

Brittany Ramsey, corporate recruiter at L'Oreal and career coach at BWell Mindset Coaching

Industry-specific forums

Many HR professionals fail to search online communities in their industry, which are typically filled with qualified candidates eager to further their career.

“Though it seems like a sort of strange strategy, we've actually had some recent success by targeting candidates on industry-specific forums,” said Janelle Owens, HR director at Test Prep Insight. “You need to find industry-specific communities where the discussion of issues is substantive and shows deep expertise. Trolling these forums for talent is a surprisingly effective technique for headhunting.”

In person

You never know where you’ll meet your next employee, which is why it’s important to keep an open mind and network wherever you go.

“You can find amazing talent all around,” said Cox. “I've found amazing team members when eating out at restaurants, shopping at the grocery store … It's important to be on the lookout and always be recruiting — even when you're not actively hiring.”

[Read more: 9 Effective Ways to Attract Employees to Your Business]

The best tips to recruit top talent now

Hire for potential

Many hiring managers will hire applicants who are overqualified for the position rather than investing in someone’s potential.

“There are so many candidates on the market, and sometimes who you think you should hire is actually beyond the scope, but hiring for someone that has potential to grow could actually provide more value long term,” said Ramsey. “A candidate hired for potential will work to demonstrate.”

Differentiate yourself from competitors

With so many companies recruiting employees today, it can be hard to stand out. To do so, focus on what makes you different from other businesses in your industry.

“For small- and medium-sized enterprises, you need to differentiate yourself somehow,” said Owens. “This can be through an awesome, laid-back culture, cool and unique perks or tons of PTO. But the bottom line is that competing against mega companies for candidates is a huge challenge, and you need to do something to stand out for candidates.”

Be flexible

Flexibility is one of the most appealing perks businesses can offer applicants in today’s environment — especially post-pandemic.

“Hiring managers and recruiters should display the necessary flexibility to attract the right people,” said Joe Flanagan, senior employment advisor at Velvet Jobs. “Traditional hiring norms and practices have already been upended to a large extent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and recruiters must adapt accordingly.”

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