Coronavirus Means it’s an Employer’s Hiring Market—What That Means for You

If you’ve been paying any attention at all these last couple months, you already know more than you want to know about the Covid-19 pandemic. And as a business owner or HR executive, you’ve probably put some thought into understanding the economic effects of the virus. With states and cities gradually opening up again, it’s time to take stock of where we are and how we’ll move forward in all areas.

One of the areas we need to look at is the hiring market. Before the pandemic broke out, the status quo was a candidate’s job market. There were more positions open than there were qualified candidates to fill them. This meant the best candidates had a lot of leverage in things like benefit and salary negotiations, and sometimes you were lucky just to find a candidate to fill a position in the first place.

Maybe those times will be back soon. But for now the pandemic means businesses are doing less hiring. It’s turned into an employer’s hiring market, with more candidates out there than there are jobs for them to fill, at least in most industries. Let’s talk about what that means for your business and your hiring process, and why it might not be as good as you’d think.

The Downside of an Employer’s Hiring Market

On the surface of it, the change in the hiring market seems like a silver lining for you. Maybe growth is slowed and times are uncertain, but in an employer’s market you at least have some leverage in contract negotiations and a better chance of grabbing the best candidates out there.

That’s all true, but you’re still going to have to worry about everyday hiring issues. Let’s talk about a few hiring challenges that only become more severe when the market turns in your favor:

· You’re about to get more resumes than ever

It may be a common sense problem, but more applications mean your hiring team is going to have more resumes to go through. The same team going through more resumes means more chances of making a mistake and less time for your team members to take care of other vital organizational activities.

This adds up to more strain on your organization, without guaranteeing your hiring team actually finds the best candidate. An automatic applicant tracking system may help, but the basic problem still remains: valuable employee time is going to be spent going over more resumes and more applications than before.

· More Resumes Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Better Candidates

Sure, it’s likely that you’ll be getting more resumes per position than ever before. But this doesn’t mean you’re getting better candidates.

Many of the resumes you’ll be receiving will be from people who were recently laid off by their employers, because of worries about the virus. Now, does this necessarily mean they’re bad candidates? No. But what it does mean is that when times got tough, they were the ones companies were willing to let go.

That means you’re going to need to pay closer attention than ever to the resumes you receive. The right candidate is out there, but more candidates doesn’t mean it’s going to be easier to find the right one.

· It’s more important to set clear hiring goals than it was before

With more applications out there, it’s easy to think you’ll have an easy time finding the right candidates for your position. But as always, you can’t hit the mark if you don’t set your target. You have to be able to recognize the right candidate and make a job offer in a timely manner.

You might think in an employer’s hiring market it will be easy to have the perfect candidate come right to you. But without a clearly defined vision of what the right candidate looks like, more candidates just mean more chances to make a bad hire.

· Good interviewing is just as critical as it has always been

This is related to the last point, but different in some important ways. No matter what the market conditions, poor quality candidates will try to get by on charm in the interview process. This is especially in a market where jobs are scarce, as they will be for the time being.

Many hiring managers believe they can find the best candidate based on their gut feeling in the interview process. That’s just not the way it is. Hiring teams need to have objective methods for evaluating a candidate’s ability to fulfill the requirements of the position, which includes ranking systems and training in finding out whether the candidates have the skills they say they do. This is more reliable than depending on a hiring manager’s gut feeling.

How the Right Recruiter Can Help

The simplest way a recruiter can help you out in an employer’s market is by taking care of the stack of resumes on your hiring team’s desk. Your HR team has important work to do, and outsourcing that work to a recruiter allows them to spend time on more crucial tasks.

The right executive recruiter for your organization will also be able to help you with your hiring goals. It isn’t that your recruiter knows what you need better than you do, though. Of course not! It’s just that a good recruiter can ask the right questions to help them understand what you need, and maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about what you’re looking for in the process.

An executive recruiter worthy of the name could take care of the interview process for you. But even if you’re not interested in that, the right recruiter could help formulate questions that will help you draw out the candidates who will help your organization through these times and into better days ahead.

Hiring is just as important now as it has been, and talent is still the number one differentiator your business can depend on. If you want to make sure your organization attracts the best talent it can, you may want to get in touch with an executive recruiter you can trust today.

JEFFREY AUDETTE

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