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Candidate Market

Why it’s Still a Candidate’s Market

September 14th, 2020 4 minute read
Tom Hacquoil
Tom Hacquoil
Fact - Covid-19 has single-handedly changed the job scene overnight. Hundreds-upon-thousands of staff have been furloughed and just as many have been made redundant in the blink of an eye.

According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, there were 220,000 fewer people in employment between April and June in the UK. This happens to be the largest quarterly decline since the 2009 financial crisis.

As a result, the candidate pool has swelled and competition for jobs is higher than ever; with excessive numbers of people clambering to secure vacancies the second they become available.

Endless Zoom interviews, increasingly creative ‘pick me’ applications, interactive role plays and presentations….the stakes and the competition are exceptionally high.

Record applications

In the meantime, the employers who were recruiting all along or who’ve started to recruit again, are being inundated with applicants for their roles – and by inundated, we mean inundated.

Take the Northern Monk Brewing Company in Leeds, for instance, they received more than 1,000 applications for a packaging job they recently advertised. They say they’ve never had so many people apply for a job with them.

Meanwhile, Manchester restaurant, 20 Stories, advertised for a receptionist on the Monday. The next day, they’d received almost 1,000 applications. They’re used to hearing from around 30 applicants for this type of position.

Employer vs. candidate power

So, surely the current candidate-to-vacancy ratio – or somewhat ‘frothy candidate pool’ (as we like to refer to it at Pinpoint) – means it’s an employer’s market right now?

Given the sheer volume of people available for work (the Institute of Employment Studies estimates Covid-19 redundancies could top 700,000+ this autumn), employers have more choice than ever before. They have the luxury of having so many more candidates to pick and choose from.

But is it a luxury?…

Because they still want to hire the best people for the job, regardless of whether or not they’ve got 100 or 1,000 applications to sift through.

How are they going to make sure they select the right person?

And how are they going to provide every single candidate – the good, the bad and the mediocre – with an exceptional experience? Because they really ought to be.

Organizations can’t just simply sit back and wait for the right talent to come to them. They should still:

  • Invest in marketing – so they attract the best applicants (and save themselves a lot of time in the process).
  • Treat all of their applicants like royalty – even if they’re way off the mark (they have friends and valuable contacts) and the candidate – and their – experience can make or break company reputation.

Actually, while we’re on this subject, we spotted a post on LinkedIn the other day that asked people to imagine seeing a sign in a shop window that said, ‘Only buying customers will be spoken to.’ How unwelcome and undervalued would that make you feel?

The same principle applies to this phrase too, ‘Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.’ It doesn’t do much for the employer brand, does it?…

Inferior candidate experience = infinite damage

We know of lots of organizations that are guilty of trying to take advantage of the difficult landscape that a lot of candidates have found themselves in.

They’re offering a far inferior candidate experience and are making minimum to zero recruitment effort.

But the reality of this is: a) it’s incredibly short-sighted and b) the really great candidates have just as many options as they’ve always had.

They still have the benefit of having choice on their side, and they still know it.

The good candidates are paying attention and are doing more research than before.

It’s easier for them to dig under the skin of organizations and understand what that journey looks like; how they treat their people and why they work there.

While the labour landscape may have changed, in-house recruitment teams are still required to hire the right people, not just any people. That hasn’t changed.

World-class candidate experience

All candidates should receive a world-class experience, regardless of whether they’re wrong for the role or are the perfect fit.

They should leave the recruitment process feeling excited about working for the organization.

Because let’s not forget – all candidates have friends, all candidates stay in the market for some time, all candidates get better, and all candidates talk about you.

For best practice advice on what to do with those ‘silver medallist’ candidates watch this video:

Organizations with ‘world-class’ candidate experiences:

  • Are more transparent
  • Communicate better
  • Over-invest in the candidate experience

And, in doing so, set themselves apart from the rest and make it easier to attract the best candidates.

People will remember these difficult times. They’ll also remember the experience you gave them during these tough times; so make sure it’s well worth remembering, for all of the right reasons.

Is your candidate experience keeping up with the market?

Download your free candidate experience checklist to get actionable ideas for improvement.

About the author
Tom Hacquoil
Tom Hacquoil
Tom is the CEO at Pinpoint and he's passionate about building world-class teams.

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