Job seekers continue to have the upper hand in the workforce, despite signs of a slowdown that has led some companies, especially in tech, to begin layoffs and hiring freezes. Job growth remains strong, though. According to Employ’s research, the median number of applicants per job has steadily increased since November 2021, with companies of all sizes and industries receiving an average of 39 applicants per open job in the first 30 days of posting, up 52% year-over-year. However, 69% of recruiters say attracting and hiring talent will be difficult for the remainder of 2022. More than half of them believe it is because there is not enough quality talent to fill positions.
According to Employ’s 2022 Job Seeker Nation Report, 45% of workers are actively looking for a new job within the next year and one-third feel comfortable quitting a job without having another lined up. As employers face one of the tightest labor markets in history, companies will continue to experience high employee turnover and difficulty acquiring new talent to fill open roles.
While this new reality is challenging, there are four concrete strategies for organizations to attract top candidates.
1. Higher compensation
It’s no surprise that salary has been on the minds of every candidate considering a new role. This is confirmed by our data, indicating that compensation is a top priority in selecting a new role, with half of job seekers believing they could make more money simply by switching jobs.
Just as recruiters screen applicants for roles, candidates are screening open positions that meet their needs. This is why an overwhelming 82% of candidates want compensation listed in a job description. Make sure to manage salary expectations from the beginning by providing transparency throughout the hiring process. For organizations that can’t compete on salary, consider competing on speed, transparency, culture, benefits and responsiveness.
2. A positive candidate experience
Today, there are nearly two job openings for every job seeker. And because organizations often compete within a limited talent pool, they must take advantage of every opportunity to stand out in a crowded employer market. Focusing on the candidate experience can help employers differentiate themselves, especially since 45% of workers would not apply to an employer again if they had a bad candidate experience.
Making the application process fast and easy, ensuring candidates receive timely feedback and delivering an offer letter soon after the interview phase are essential in providing a positive candidate experience. Strategic talent teams can also improve the candidate experience by adopting new processes and technologies that help save time and effort, providing more opportunities to move candidates through the pipeline and hire great talent. Our data indicates that leveraging a purpose-built recruitment technology solution can speed time-to-hire by 27%, lower candidate acquisition costs by 30%, and increase referral hiring by 18%.
3. Remote work & flexibility
Most candidates today want the option to work remotely, with 65% believing it’s important in their decision to accept or reject a job. Furthermore, there can be bottom-line benefits to doing so, as nearly half of workers are willing to accept a lower salary to work remotely.
Although there’s an increased desire for more workplace flexibility, company culture also remains critical. More than half of workers believe that culture is just as important in an increasingly remote work environment, and one-third of workers who left a job in the first 90 days said it was due to poor company culture.
Organizations must set the expectations for remote work policies at the beginning of the hiring process and reiterate them during each step. Another option is to add these policies directly into job descriptions to offer transparency. Whether or not remote work options are offered for roles, candidates must be informed to make the best decision for their needs.
4. Mental health support
While the pandemic inspired 63% of workers to focus more on their mental health, employers have been scaling back on making these resources and benefits available to workers. Only 40% of workers say their employer provides mental health benefits or resources — the lowest level in the past three years.
The need for mental health resources has never been greater. With 40% of workers reporting high employee turnover at their organization and an increase in their workloads, it is leading to increased stress levels and feelings of burnout. Companies should prioritize mental health resources and leverage them as a competitive differentiator in their talent acquisition efforts.
Change is the constant
It can be difficult to understand the current state of hiring and how to stay more agile to attract a wider diversity of qualified candidates. The best organizations will recognize that it’s still an employee-driven market and work to meet the needs of candidates today. By staying current on what job seekers want from employers and arming recruiters with integrated talent acquisition technology, your organization will have a much-needed advantage to engage, attract and retain top talent.
Pete Lamson serves as the CEO of Employ Inc., and has more than 30 years of experience in leadership roles with high growth and B2B technology companies. Before joining Employ, Pete served as CEO of JazzHR, where he led the company through a strategic turnaround to become the category leader in SMB hiring technology and a successful exit.
Opinions expressed by SmartBrief contributors are their own.