It’s a buyer’s market out there, so you’d better bring your A-game! Gone are the days when you could quickly slap up a job advertisement, sit back and watch hundreds of applications flood into your inbox in a matter of hours. Nowadays we’re seeing a noticeable reduction in the number of direct job applications and increasingly they’re from job seekers who have taken a ‘go big or go home’ approach and have applied for every job under the sun, and often they don’t come close to having the requisite skillset or experience.


Times are a-changing! When the economy is strong, like it is right now, there’s a shift in the balance of hiring ‘power’, because there are lots of jobs available and fewer active job seekers in the mix, as they’re already happily employed. This means that employers are having to fish in a smaller pool, and that pool of job seekers can afford to be pickier with the jobs they choose. Also, the expectations employees currently have of their employers compared to what they expected 10+ years ago has changed considerably.  


So, how do you improve your odds of finding, hiring and retaining great talent from a small and discerning group of people?


Well, for starters, you should take a look at the passive group of candidates. Those unseen and oft ignored candidates lurking in the shadows. According to LinkedIn, 70% of the workforce is passive and not actively looking for a new job. However, 87% of those passive candidates are open to hearing about new job opportunities, so it’s a lucrative pool to tap into, that I myself as a Recruitment Researcher fish in on a daily basis; and LinkedIn is my favourite source to do just that.


Regardless of whether your ideal candidate is passive or active, you need to ensure that the total package you are offering them is on or above market value and that your treatment of them throughout the recruitment process is fair. Otherwise you run the risk of either not being able to convince the best of the bunch to join your company, or worst case scenario you might not even be able to hire anyone!


But fear not! To help you on your way, I’ve listed some top tips to ensure you can successfully hire in this job seeker’s market:



  • The top three factors that job seekers consider when accepting a new job are professional development (56%), compensation (49%) and a better work / life balance (29%). Does your offer genuinely stack up in these areas? Take note of what your staff say in their exit interviews – are there any pain points you need to resolve before you can entice new people to join your company and stay on-board for the long haul?


  • A positive work culture begins at the top. If your executive team exemplifies integrity, respect, hard work and a positive attitude, then that will flow down to the rest of your employees. There’s no point looking for people that tick these boxes if you don’t meet them yourself, because those great candidates are unlikely to ‘buy’ what you’re selling and if they do they certainly won’t stick around very long when the shine of their new job wears off.


  • Streamline your hiring process and pick up the pace. Leaving job seekers hanging for weeks or even months increases the likelihood that they’ll lose interest, will resent you for stringing them along and will ultimately withdraw their application, sending you back to the drawing board. Which leads me to the next point…


  • Act quickly at offer stage, because your competition certainly will! Great candidates often have multiple job offers on the table, so if you snooze you lose. Remember: job seekers have got the power in this job market!


  • Candidates are four times more likely to consider your company for future opportunities when you offer them constructive feedback, so no ghosting if you decide not to proceed with their job application, this isn’t Tinder, it’s unprofessional to ignore them if you swipe left!


  • Your unicorn doesn’t exist. Holding out for a candidate with 100% of the desired skills and experience is a waste of time. A candidate who ticks 80% of the boxes and who also has a great attitude and is motivated to learn, is a fantastic asset and they will reach the 100% mark in no time if you give them the opportunity and invest in them.


  • And finally, be polite and courteous. It sounds like a no brainer, but too many companies take job applicants for granted and don’t treat them fairly during the recruitment process. Your candidates are probably in the workforce already and they’ve taken time out of their busy day to meet you.


As you can see, the hiring ‘power’ in today’s market is in the hands of the job seekers, not the companies doing the hiring; so if you want to snap up the best employees, your job offering and the way you treat people really needs to stand out and deliver.


Written by Alisa Moore, Research & Community Manager at Gaulter Russell Numero, A Rubicor Company.