2018 saw one of the most hectic labor markets in decades. The economy is at full employment, and labor demand is sky high. The war for talent is in full swing. Some companies are losing this war however; and here are the two main areas where they go wrong:
Broken Hiring Process – the #1 reason we see clients lose candidates to other employers is a slow or convoluted interview process. Job seekers in this market have multiple options. The company who makes the best hire is very often the company who moves the candidate through the interview process the most quickly and efficiently. This doesn’t mean you have to rush hires, but go into each hiring process with a plan. I suggest that clients:
- Identify who will conduct interviews in advance. Don’t have candidates interview with people for no reason. Pick the key decision makers, or the primary people that this position will interact with, and limit the interview panel to those people. Also, have an idea of who should meet with them, in what order, in how many rounds. If you cause delays or add unnecessary steps, you’ll lose candidates.
- Give up on the idea of interviewing or comparing multiple candidates multiple candidates against each other. When interviewing candidates for a high demand position, be prepared to offer the job to the first qualified candidate you meet. In a perfect world, you could meet multiple candidates, compare them side by side, and pick the best one. That is NOT a reality in this job market. Know what you are looking for in advance. Decide on “must have” and “nice to have” qualities. When you meet someone you like, hire them! Waiting to see other candidates is not going to guarantee a better hire. It will however guarantee that you’ll lose good candidates.
Make Good Offers – I’ve had several clients lose candidates in 2018 by starting with low-ball offers. Recent changes in Massachusetts and New York have disallowed employers and recruiters from asking applicants their current compensation. This has made offer negotiations a bit of a guessing game at times. Some succumb to the urge to start by offering a low compensation package, with the idea that they can negotiate up if necessary. This is a mistake. For one thing, candidates are generally insulted or put off by low offers. Second, more astute companies who understand candidate supply and demand are making strong offers to start, in order to show candidates that they really want them. I advise that clients lead with a strong offer. It’s always smart to have some wiggle room if needed, but starting too low can leave a company in a hole that is too big to dig out from. A few ways to make sure your offer is competitive:
- If working with a headhunter, talk to them about the offer. The recruiter will hopefully know the candidate, and has already talked about their compensation expectations. Recruiters will also know what the market value is for candidates. Get the recruiter’s advice on what the candidate is worth and what they are looking for.
- Compare the prospect against the person they are replacing, or peer level rolls internally. If you are hiring someone to replace Employee Y, use their current salary to benchmark an offer. Is the candidate as good or better than the incumbent? Make the offer reflect how they stack up against known comparisons.
Hiring is a huge challenge for companies right now. Streamlining the process and making competitive offers can go a long way to ensure you staff up with the best possible talent in 2019!