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Recruiting in a Candidate-Driven Market

Katie Trippe | 11/30/2016

Recruit and retain. Business metaphor with puzzles

What does it mean to recruit in a candidate’s market? It means that you will be fighting an uphill battle from the word go unless you recognize the new rules of the game. There are many changes to the recruiting market that have occurred in the last couple of years.

First, the unemployment rate has dropped significantly and this is even more apparent when you talk about people with 4-year degrees in a technical field. There are so few unemployed people that the approach and recruiting conversation has to change to engage candidates. Gone are the days of posting an ad and getting resumes from hundreds of qualified candidates.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics: On the last business day of July [2016], there were 5.9 million job openings, an increase of 228,000 from June. The “job openings” rate was 3.9 percent in July. The number of job openings increased throughout the month for private, professional, business services and durable goods manufacturing, little to no change for government and decreased in health care and social assistance.

Second, the number of jobs this year that will go unfilled is unheard of and because there are multiple opportunities, candidates have choices. When candidates have a choice they will weigh their options carefully and chances are you are not only competing with other companies looking to hire that person, you are also competing with their current employer. This means that you have to not only understand a candidate’s motivation for making a move, but you also have to be able to discuss how your opportunity can address that motivation. This conversation changes with each potential candidate.

Third, it is no longer enough to just have health insurance. Employees in today’s marketplace are looking for a full benefits package. This is partly due to salary increases that are not as significant as they have been in the past. Another important aspect to note in recruiting in a candidate-driven market, is the employee cost of insurance and retirement savings options along with company contributions.

“U.S. companies’ salary budgets for 2016 are projected to increase by 2.7 percent, down from the 2.9 percent increase for 2015, according to a preliminary forecast of global salary budgets by ERI Economic Research Institute, a provider of compensation data.”

All of these factors play a role in creating challenges that companies face recruiting quality talent. Here are a couple of things you can do to help you meet that challenge head on:

  1. Be prepared to interview candidates that are currently employed.
  2. Discuss a candidate’s motivation for making a move and then address it during the interview process.
  3. Be open about your benefits and if you are not able to offer a full package try to present other intangible options that can be beneficial to candidates, like flex time or time to volunteer.

Recognizing and adapting to the ever changing employment market will help you to attract the best talent for your team. If you are interested in learning more about how The Q Works Group can support your hiring efforts please visit our website at

Written By: Katie Trippe, Q Works Account Executive