* A Candidate Driven Marketplace

* A Candidate Driven Marketplace

by Jeanne Knutzen | July 21, 2015

0 * NOT CATEGORIZED candidates, Seattle Staffing, staffing agencies seattle

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How to Hire Great Employees When Candidates Have Choices!

Since mid-2014, the need to hire new employees has driven employers to add internal HR and recruiting resources to their workforces at record levels.  And yet many employers continue to struggle to meet their staffing goals.  Openings for operational, managerial, technical and professional staff are going unfilled for longer and longer periods of time, in many cases having a significant impact on business or service performance.

And to make matters worse, when direct hire positions aren’t being filled, hiring mangers accustomed to turning to supplemental staff to get work done, are finding a very changed marketplace there as well.  Employees who once relied on the temporary or contract job opportunities to keep themselves working, are now finding full time jobs elsewhere, drying up their availability for interim employment.

And while this change from an employer to candidate driven marketplace appeared to take place gradually, in the last 12 months it has happened “suddenly” – putting most employers in a defensive rather than offensive mode.  According to a recent MRINetwork recruiter survey, only three short years ago, only 56% of the surveyed recruiters considered the market “candidate driven”.  Today, that number is reaching 90% or higher tempered only by certain job categories or geographies where candidates are still abundant.

The rapid ascent of the “candidate-driven” marketplace has been particularly significant for employers who for a variety of reasons have not been hiring in a while.  They are quickly finding that not only are qualified candidates more difficult to find for both regular and supplemental staffing opportunities, but candidates are rejecting job offers and work opportunities at increasingly higher rates – and for reasons we haven’t seen in the marketplace since 2007.  

Here are a handful of things we are advising our clients to do in this candidate driven marketplace:

  1. Get rid of anything that slows down the recruiting/hiring process. Hiring processes that are taking too long are negatively impacting your hiring success. In 2011 and 2012, the height of the “recovery”, employees were still willing to be patient with employers who had gotten accustomed to moving slowly.  It was not uncommon for a job candidate to wait 30, sometimes 60 days, just to see if their application was going to be considered for an open position.


Today, the marketplace is just the opposite with slow moving employers facing terminal level competition from their faster moving counterparts.  Of particular interest is a recent study that showed that if an employer hasn’t hired within 30 days of posting their job opening, their chances for hiring in the next 12 months were less than 50%.  In other words, if an employer isn’t able to hire quickly, they may not be able to hire at all.


  1. Make sure you’ve organized work and priced your open jobs to be competitive in the current candidate driven marketplace. Both job content and the compensation package attached to jobs matter!


Not only do job candidates have more choices about jobs and pay than ever before, but as recruiters go deeper into the marketplace to find talent amongst the currently employed, they typically find that the type of work they are going to offer and the starting wage they can offer for that work must provide a significant improvement over what the employee is currently enjoying, or they can’t get their attention.


As part of our consulting services, my company, PACE Staffing Network, uses a research service to provide PSN clients with up to date and targeted information on pay rates and candidate availability in the local job market.  Three years ago, that type of data wasn’t necessary as the market was moving slowly.  Today, if you don’t know what’s going on “this month” in terms of prevailing wages, you are behind the curve!


  1. Not only does your “why take this job” message need to be strong enough to attract the right candidates, but employers need to create an “EMPLOYER BRAND” – a clear and compelling story about  why someone should go to work for their company;  what it will be like to work for their firm.   We encourage our clients who find themselves hiring for the first time in a while to spend time creating their compelling story about why someone should join their team.  While pay is always important, it is not the only factor in placement success…and employers need to be able to tell and re-tell their stories of “what’s in it for me.”

Unsure of what you should be talking about as your “employer brand?”  I recently asked a PSN colleague, Jeanne Lyon, former CHRO at Intermec, Inc. and now Founder and Principal of LyonShare Consulting, LLC, how she deals with that challenge.  Her suggestion is for employers to ask their current high performing and longer term employees what they like best about their company as a place to work.   The reoccurring components of their feedback are often what you can use to build the foundations of your employer brand. 

  1. Don’t give up on temporary and contract staffing as a recruiting model, but change your expectations about what’s possible. It is still true that temporary or contracted employees can be on boarded more quickly than their direct hire counterparts, and will  mitigate the up and down sides of a volatile business environment.  That said, hiring manager expectations have to be re-calibrated or they will likely be disappointed by a very changed contingent staffing marketplace.   As recent as 2013, we could onboard most requests for temporary employees within 2-4 days of request.  Today, new regulatory and internal policy requirements, coupled with a serious candidate shortage, have extended that “time to fill” statistic by as many as 1-5 days for most temporary jobs and as many as 10-15 for the hard to find job skills.



This article was written by Jeanne Knutzen, President and Founder of the PACE Staffing Network.  As the current candidate driven marketplace continues to be even more “candidate driven”, employers are turning to third party recruiting services to help them find the best employees in the marketplace and then convince them to accept their offers of employment.  PSN provides a network of general and specialized recruiters who provide a full menu of recruiting support services for employers looking to improve their hiring success.   

If you need help finding or hiring the right employees, contact us at infodesk@pacestaffing.com or 425-637-3312 for a confidential conversation about your current or upcoming hiring needs.

Jeanne Knutzen

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