8 Top Tips to Successfully Recruit In A Candidate’s Market

It’s January 2022, and the tables are tipping in favour of the Candidate. For as long as I can remember it’s been the other way around. Before I give you our top tips let’s just explain what is going on in this Candidate’s Market at the moment:

Have you experienced candidates not showing up to interviews only to find they’ve already got a job? Have you had job offers turned down? Or candidates asking you for more salary than is on offer?

These are classic signs of the market shifting in favour of the candidate and we’re starting to see that happening with graduate candidates at DigitalGrads.

Candidates used to fear that they might never get their careers started, that it’d take ages to find a job. Forget the dream job, something vaguely relevant would do as long as it pays the bills and helps them get their foot in the door.

That fear has changed. Practical concerns about paying the bills remain, especially with inflation taking hold. But candidates know they’re in demand, no longer do strong candidates fear missing their start, they fear a false start. 

What if I take this job and miss out on an even better job that’s just around the corner? Are the opportunities and progression that I want available in this job or is this employer dangling a carrot? Should I hitch my horse to this company? It has become the fear of getting the wrong job rather than no job.

And interestingly, this effect doesn’t stop at the job hunting phase, it carries on into employment. No longer do employees fear how leaving after a short period of time will look on their CV. They fear stagnation while the rest of the world speeds up. It’s more important than ever for employers to deliver on their promises of advancement and development and to make sure their team feels valued. 

We believe the best way to deal with it is head on, and by doing things properly…

hiring platform, photo from canva

So what can you do to make sure you’re attracting the best candidates?

  1. Think carefully about salary – Inflation is rising, the cost of living is about to increase and grads are at the bottom of the pile. If a kebab shop can afford to pay National Minimum Wage, then a tech employer should do far far better. Remember you get what you pay for and it’s true with entry-level people too!
  1. Benefits, benefits, benefits!  You’re never going to compete with tech giants on salary, but you can turn someone’s head with benefits that resonate with them. Many grads will much prefer the personal benefits small companies offer such as remote/hybrid working opportunities, working alongside the CEO or informal drinks and lunches. Don’t forget about anything that helps your team live happier healthier lives – shout about your 4 day work week and your cycle to work scheme.
  1. Deal with applicants promptly – Now is not the time to delay communicating with your applicants. Blink and you WILL miss them; the market is moving quickly and the best candidates get snapped up even faster. 
  1. Have you got the time to hire? Only press ahead if you can carve out chunks of time in your diary over the next 6-8 weeks to review shortlists, conduct interviews and prepare feedback. If that’s unrealistic then I’d recommend not going ahead, or finding someone else to help you with the hiring.
  1. Have more of an open mind – One of the tech employers who works with us spends the time interviewing every candidate we shortlist for them, and they’ve ended up hiring many candidates who, on paper, may not have immediately looked like the perfect fit.

    I’m not advocating wasting your time on clear “no”s but consider interviewing some of your maybe pile. Particularly at graduate level many of the candidates miss crucially impressive information off their applications and you may just be surprised.
  1. Be clear about what is actually essential for the role – It’s surprising to us how often the list of essential requirements are unrealistic or not well thought through. A wish list of nice-to-haves and unessential items will screen people you should be talking to out. We recommend focussing on 3-5 essential requirements. And to the point above, interviewing everyone who demonstrates all of those requirements.
  1. Highlight flexible working arrangements – some grads want to work in an office and will never accept a remote role, some will appreciate the flexibility of a hybrid or remote model. The more flexible you can be, the greater number of people you will attract. A more flexible approach can support workplace diversity too. For example at DigitalGrads we have a number of working parents who appreciate the flexibility to work from home, and in the hours they choose.
  1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – we have seen it time and again recently. There is one perfect candidate at the second interview stage who just needs to meet the rest of the team. Our client is adamant they don’t want to see anyone else and in the time it takes to set up the last meeting their perfect candidate has taken another role. It’s crushing to have to start again when this happens. Far better to have a decent sized pool to start with. We recommend interviewing at least 6 grads in round 1 so you have at least 3 good choices by the second interview.

It’s not time to panic, but IT IS time to pull out your hiring best practice worksheet and do it by the letter. Here at DigitalGrads we take away a lot of the work involved with screening candidates and present you with a curated shortlist of the best-fit talent. We’d be more than happy to have a no-strings chat about hiring grads and how you can get the best result for your business.

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