It’s a job seeker’s market, especially if you need to hire skilled, specific labor. If you haven’t adjusted your interview practices since the crash of 2008, you could be missing out on the best new talent in years.
Here are a few things you should consider when it comes to addressing, understanding and treating candidates in a good job market to land the big fish you need.
Understand the Market Realities
Minimum wage bumps have helped low-wage workers see their pay rise, while high earners continue to thrive as more of the competition (typically boomers) retire. It’s in the middle where things get a little tricky.
Men working in the middle-income space are starting to do better, but most of their gains are still focused on reaching pre-recession levels. Women are performing better than they were before the recession. Overall families are doing better.
Economists estimate $70,000 is what a family of four requires to adequately meet their needs in most places in the U.S. With lowering rates of unemployment, salary becomes the primary focus for many job seekers. This can translate to paying top dollar for highly-qualified candidates.
You can find a detailed analysis of what the job market means for different earners here.
Try to Get 75% of What You Want
Today’s employees want room to grow their careers, and that means opportunities for growth within your company. If you’re hiring candidates who have everything you need and want, they may feel stifled and unable to develop professionally within their roles.
By seeking someone who has most of what you want and the potential to learn the rest, you’re able to find a hungry employee that sees you as their career partner for years to come.
Growth and development matter and is often an overlooked, non-monetary incentive. When you’re discussing this with potential hires, showcase the potential for growth as a benefit.
Learn How to Translate What Candidates Ask For
Today’s job-seekers aren’t shy. They’re willing to ask for what they want, but it isn’t always said in standard business language so you might need to do some translation. Here are four “wants” we often hear from candidates and how you can translate them in your interviews and offers.
- I want to better myself: The employee will make choices focusing on personal development goals, such as learning a new skill or obtaining a new degree/qualification. You can highlight CE credits, financial support or ongoing learning opportunities you provide.
- I want to develop my skills: This is a little different because it signals an intent to grow through skills related directly to their job. It signifies a desire to grow within a role or unit, so discuss that possibility instead of a management track.
- I want to expand my career: This is where the management track comes into play. Discuss what you look for in people today who will be leaders tomorrow, plus make note of training or opportunities you provide to help people grow into that development role.
- I want work to be a challenge: Some people thrive in challenging environments, not only learning new tasks but also taking risks with new products and services. They do, however, run the risk of becoming bored. If you’re looking to expand into new realms, showcase these opportunities to candidates who want to be tested.
Make a Desirable Offer
You deserve to hear the plain truth: most offers we see fail just aren’t good enough. They tend to barely provide a lateral move, skimp on the benefits and don’t showcase the intrinsic value of the company.
The hard truth is that you’re most likely going to be interviewing talented people who already have jobs. Unemployment continues to decline, especially for skilled professionals, so your offer needs to be able to lure them away from their present company.
The good news is that you can ask what a candidate is looking for and consider what you can offer. Do they want flexible time or prefer to start (and end) the day a little later? Do they need certain benefits or want to make sure you’ll give them an afternoon off for their kid’s graduation in the spring?
All of the elements we’ve looked at before are necessary for a strong offer. Discuss what makes you unique, the flexibility you can offer, benefits, equality issues, room for growth and anything else that you would want to hear if you were on the other side of the table.