Recruiting like it’s 2016.

I get a fair few press releases of a HR nature sent to me via this blog. I don’t get chance to review most of them.  But one did stand out this week, mainly because it chimes so accurately with my own experiences at the moment.  A couple of highlights from a recent recruitment survey by totaljobs (who did not pay me to write this post, if you are interested*).

  • 42% observe that candidates have become increasingly picky about the roles they accept.
  • As a result, 66% employers are offering candidates more flexibility to attract the best talent.
  • Salary is still the highest ranking decision factor for candidates when picking jobs (66% of respondents) followed by career progression (31%), company benefits (29%) and office culture (26%). Flexible working conditions are also very important to candidates (24%).
  • The three least important things for candidates when evaluating offers are job security (12%), ‘making a difference’ (10%) and ethics (3%).

Some thoughts from me about these survey findings.

The dynamic has shifted and continues to shift.  The candidate is in the driving seat right now.  And organisations, and hiring managers, need to shift too.  Because doing what you have always done won’t get you what you have always got. Not today.

Picky candidates? Check. In the last six months more candidates have more applications in process and more offers to choose from.  They are also asking more questions about why they might want to come and work at our place.

The flexible working thing. I’ve blogged many a time about the benefits of flexible working.  Why more organisations should do it where job design permits, and why more managers should just trust people to do their job and focus on outputs over time spent at the deskface.  A little while ago, it was fairly typical for candidates to accept a role, work for you for about six months, and then tentatively raise the subject.   Now candidates are asking and negotiating up front.  And why not?  If there ever is one of those war for talent malarkeys (sorry) then there’s a good chance that one of the key battlegrounds can be flexible working.  Costs little, but engages and retains hugely.  Win win.  But as the survey says, when did you last see it in a job advert?  So if two thirds of employers are waking up to the opportunity of flexible working for talent acquisition and retention (not to mention the threat of not doing it), then they seem to be keeping it a little quiet.

The rankings. For all the talk of hygiene factors, what really motivates us and the whole meaningful work debate, it looks like the base salary still holds sway.  And why wouldn’t it? It is the building block and everything else follows from there, for most of us anyway.

So what do companies need to do about these changing dynamics?

  •  Be flexible wherever you can be. Working 9-5 is not the law. Be open minded to trying new ways of working. This doesn’t just apply to your candidates but your current employers too. And if you are not flexible then they might just find someone else who is.
  • If you are flexible, then shout about it. Put it on your adverts, talk about it on your careers page. Because right now, this still makes you stand out from everyone else.
  • Candidate experience. Always important, now even more so than ever. Your candidate experience is a window to your organisational culture. When candidates have more choice, they will self-select themselves out of your process if it doesn’t portray you in the best possible light.
  • Speed is important. Slow turnarounds and delayed decision making might just mean that your preferred candidate is gone by the time you get around to picking up the phone.
  • Career progression. You need to be able to tell the story. This isn’t just about climbing the corporate ladder but the development of the whole person. The top things in the list according to this survey are fundamentally about one thing from the candidate’s perspective: what is in it for me. For most companies today, unless you happen to be one of the super cool brands, there is no queue of talent patiently awaiting at the corporate gate. You are going to have to find them and sell your organisation to them and then keep them.
  • And finally, for goodness sake, get your hiring managers social. A link to another post from me in another place, here.

Just one final thought for me. It is interesting to see ‘making a difference’ coming further down the list than the employee engagement lobby suggests it might.  All that millennial rhetoric sure seemed to suggest that this was what all those younger applicants wanted.  Just one survey, just one sample.  But interesting all the same.


*But anyone that wants me to write about their stuff should know I am always willing to receive One Direction merch. #JustSaying.

1 thought on “Recruiting like it’s 2016.

  1. Spot on Gemma. Well said.

    Exactly what we are seeing every day. Those employers that are quick, flexible and see the experience as a two way process will generally get the best outcomes.

    A recent part time HR role (that we shouted about) got masses of quality interest.

    Plenty of work still needed to make this the norm though.

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