With candidates in the driver’s seat…. time to claim your place as co-pilot

The signs have been there for months, but these last few weeks, it became very obvious: the balance of power in the labor market has shifted and today, the candidate is in the driver’s seat. With a few candidates who dropped out of a selection process recently, some even at the offer stage, it dawned on me that we still have not fully realized the impact of this power shift.

Numerous articles have been written about employer branding, marketing tactics, creating a talent pipeline and candidate experience (and yes, I have written some as well J) but the theory alone will not help you to lock down that perfect candidate. In a candidate’s market, it is time, as employer, to go back to the basics.

Establish a strong personal connection as of the start. In sales they say that people buy from people, the same applies to recruitment. The feeling that you give to a candidate will have a much higher impact in their final decision than the sexy employer branding campaign that you have launched on social media. Create a personal connection with a candidate by sharing your story beyond the vision and mission of the company. Share the good and the maybe-not-so-good to create an authentic story that reflects the reality of your company. In the interviewing process, you can include some team members and some future colleagues to provide a flavor of every-day life in your organization. That way, candidates get an insight into who they will work side-by-side with.

Keep up the pace. Throughout the selection process, you are trying to get the right candidate enthusiastic about the opportunities that you have to offer. There is nothing as frustrating for a candidate as to get excited about a company and a job opportunity to then have to wait for a week to know whether they are withheld for the next step. So, speed up your interviewing process, cluster some of the interviews to reduce lead time and provide feedback, be it good or bad, as quickly as possible.

Move quickly to secure the almost-right candidate. Tempting as it may be to continue to scan the market for an even better fit, it might mean that you lose that almost right candidate. Just put yourself in your candidate’s shoes: if it takes you some time to make him an offer, chances are that he interprets this as you are having some doubts. It will boost his confidence and consequently it will make you more attractive as employer if you make an offer within the day.

As we are changing to a market where candidates with strong skills are the scarcity, it is time to go back to the basics: establish a genuine connection with the candidates that will fit well in your company, keep up the pace and once you get them interested, close the deal. Every step of the selection process should ensure that the right candidate steps out with an increased drive to take up the challenge and the growing desire to join your company. That way, you can truly claim your place as co-pilot, even in a candidate driven market.

I look forward to hearing from you,


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With candidates in the driver’s seat…. time to claim your place as co-pilot was originally published in Secrets of a headhunter on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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