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Hiring in a Candidate’s Market

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, candidates have the upper hand in today’s job market, primarily because there are relatively few candidates compared to the number of job openings. And, in spite of the current pandemic, it continues to be a candidate’s market with a higher demand specifically in the life sciences, biotech and pharma sectors. Of course, the pandemic does bring extra challenges for organizations that need to hire managers quickly, without putting recruitment professionals or the public at risk.

Technology Driving Hiring Efforts During Pandemic
Technology continues to drive the effort to hire managers, with online applications, video interviewing, and online onboarding being effectively leveraged to enable quicker hiring methods. These technological tools allow managers to be recruited and hired, with the entire process being faster and more efficient.

Employers looking for managerial candidates should use this time to boost their LinkedIn branding and employer presence, ensuring their brand is visible, and that candidates can move through the recruiting and hiring process with ease and speed. Implementing purpose-built, on-demand text and video interviewing tools allows businesses to reach a much larger audience of potential candidates.

These candidates are then quickly provided with the information required, resulting in positions being filled in an efficient manner. This is not to say that the technological transition from in-person to online interviews will be without bumps—many tools like Zoom or GoToMeeting, while convenient, are not designed to fit interviewing needs. This could impact the quality of the interview, and, consequentially, the quality of candidates being hired. So how can companies hire quality managers in a candidate’s market?

Creating an Eye-Catching Job Description That Identifies Top Skills
You might consider this common sense, but then you might be surprised at how many organizations fail to clearly specify required skills, motivations, and behaviors for a specific job. Real thought needs to be put into the job description, with more than one person in your company having input. First, identify your “must-have” skills—skills that are absolutely essential in your managerial candidate. Next, identify the skills that are “nice-to-have” and will help you bring an applicant to the top of the list. An accurate job description also helps the hiring process go more quickly by identifying the most qualified candidates.

Companies Need to Be Fast and Flexible
Let’s face it, in-demand talent rarely waits. These top performers can quickly lose interest in a company whose hiring process is clunky and slow. Companies who are behind the curve in technology could find themselves on the short end when hiring the best managers. Since these candidates have a greater ability to pick and choose, it is essential that you are competitive not only in salary and benefits but in your hiring process as well. Take a look at how other companies are hiring right now, then work to bring your hiring practices up to date as quickly as possible.

Flexibility in Hiring and Flexibility at Work
Companies who are trying to lure and retain top managerial talent—especially among younger talent—need to consider what these younger candidates are interested in, and that is workplace flexibility. In fact, workplace flexibility is actually a more desired employee benefit than healthcare for millennial and Gen Z workers. This means not only the ability to work hours beyond the traditional 9-5 but also the ability to sometimes work from home.

Younger candidates want a company that fosters growth and career development and a workplace that is tech-enabled and accommodates all types of people, personalities, and work styles. As the largest demographic in the global workplace—as well as being “digital natives”—Millenials have helped facilitate a major shift in the way we all think about work. This shift makes work less of a destination and more of a state of mind. Companies that want to hire new managerial talent—or retain those they already have—need to remember that as people experience flexibility in their jobs, they no longer want to return to the traditional workplace.

Highly Competitive Compensation Packages are Still Important
Companies who are looking for top managerial talent need to be sure they are offering a compensation package that is hard to pass up. What is included in today’s competitive compensation package? At a minimum, the following should be a part of your compensation package if you want to attract top managerial candidates:

• A salary that is “at-market” or above is competitive with other similar organizations. Bonuses and commissions factor into salary as well, and startup companies can offer equity in the company.
• Health insurance is a huge part of a compensation package; a company can choose to cover 100 percent of the premium or a percentage. Businesses can also choose to cover only the employee, or the employee and his or her family members.
• Other types of insurance, including short-term and long-term disability, dental, vision, and life insurance, make a benefits package much more attractive.
• Vacation and paid time off are also important factors in a competitive compensation package. A company can choose to have one PTO balance, or separate accounts for sick, vacation, and personal days. Some companies simply award employees a specific number of PTO days, allowing employees to use those days as they choose.
• 401(k) plans are offered by most companies who wish to be competitive. The baseline is no employer match, but competitive industries offer from 3 percent and up as a match.

Your compensation package needs to meet employee needs, while also fitting in with your available budget, but remember that it is much easier to add compensation components to your package rather than taking them away when the budget gets tight.

And Don’t Forget…
One of the most important things you can do to find your ideal candidate is to offer meaningful work—a strong brand with a specific set of values. Remember that employees are looking to grow and learn on the job, so ensure the opportunities for growth are present. Since candidates have the power to choose between job offers, ensure your candidates feel valued—pay attention to their needs, and let them ask questions during the recruitment process. When you make candidates feel as though they would be an important addition to your organization, and treat them with respect, you are more likely to hire a great manager.

Seek Professional Help
Finally, if you are floundering, and feel as though you are not getting the best managerial candidates, consider consulting a professional. Reputable recruiters have the networks and resources in place to find your needle in the haystack. Further, executive search firms can save you the time spent filtering through piles of resumes, bringing you the most qualified candidates.