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5 Reasons Why Candidates Have All the Power (And What Employers Can Do About It)

When interviewing candidates, most employers expect to get a few questions in return. You may be expecting questions about specific responsibilities of the role, whether it’s a new position or backfilling someone who’s left, or if any travel is required of the role.

But in today’s competitive and busy job market, candidates are more interested about everything around the work itself. They want to know about the commute time to the office, if flexible hours are available, and the team culture. Candidates realize they hold the power in today’s job interview and are using it to create the job and career that works for them.

The Consumer Candidate Is In Control

Dubbed the “consumer candidate”, this mentality has been taking over the job market for the last several years. According to the latest Recruiter Sentiment Study from MRINetwork, 86% of recruiters feel the job market is candidate-driven and are seeing almost half (47%) of their job offers being declined as candidates accept other positions offered to them.

By providing a streamlined and positive interview process that keeps applicants informed of where they stand every step of the way, today’s employers can ensure they find and hire the best candidates for their vacancies. That includes making sure every member of the interviewing and hiring team provides consistent messaging about the role, clearly articulates why your company culture and values make it a great place to work.

Reasons Candidates Have All the Power

To keep attracting and hiring the best candidates for your vacancies, it’s important to avoid making these mistakes in your hiring process.

Reason #1: Employers misunderstand the reason high performers changes jobs

In the past, compensation was the #1 reason high performers left for new jobs. They wanted to be paid according to the value they brought to their employers. So they looked for jobs with higher salaries, bonuses, and more.

Today’s high performers understand that improved compensation is implied with their upward mobility, so employers have to provide different forms of compensation. Alongside the increased salaries, high performers want immediate and long-term advancement opportunities. They want to see how their careers can progress at your company, so when you speak with them,be prepared with real-world examples of how your best employees advanced within the company.

Reason #2: Employers think strategic hires must always be a permanent employee

The gig economy has become a major trend globally and has created a new kind of diversity within the workforce. Gone are the days when companies were filled with only full-time workers. Today’s companies have full timers working alongside part timers and freelancers. A study exploring the gig economy found that 93% of companies identify as having a ‘blended workforce’ as they’re seeing their freelance workers team up with full timers to work on projects together.

Not only that, candidates need to be sold on the value their expertise brings to your company and the projects they’ll be working on. They want to hear about the different technologies and knowledge they’ll be exposed to, as they’re always on the lookout for ways to expand their professional experience, more so than full time candidates.

Reason #3: Employers don’t align their employee and candidate engagement strategies within their organizations

As candidates look at more than just the job they’re applying to, it’s critical for employers to collaborate internally to ensure they’re positioning themselves as the employer of choice. Recruiting now encompasses more than just finding talent, so they need to be plugged in to the rest of the company to take advantage of all the proactive and reactive strategies available to them.  In 2016, MRINetwork found that almost 40% of employers were still focused on strategic, permanent hires, while less than 30% focused on employer branding.

Delivering a more well-rounded and targeted approach to employee and candidate engagement strategies is going to become more important as candidates drive the employment experience. Companies that want to find, attract, and keep top talent are going to need to foster a more collaborative hiring environment, encouraging multiple departments like HR, marketing, and customer success to work together.

Reason #4: Employers have a lengthy interview process

Lengthy hiring practices is almost always the #1 reason employers lose out on top candidates, so why do you continue to do it? Sure, you want to have candidates meet more than one member of your hiring team, but there’s no need to do it in three separate interviews.

Consider alternative hiring methods like the team interview, where the team can meet candidates together and then participate in routine business exercises like brainstorming sessions. You’ll still get the insight you need on the candidate’s experience and personality, while at the same time checking out how they mesh with your team and reduce the interview process to one or two steps.

Reason #5: Employers ignore the importance of workplace wellness benefits to candidates

Employers are using wellness programs to lower absenteeism, attract top talent, and save on healthcare costs. Employees and candidates are looking for these types of programs more often today, and are moving to companies that do that. Wellness- and health- related employee benefits have increased by 45% and 58% respectively in the last year, and will continue to rise as employees look for ways to decrease workplace stress. They want to create a more relaxed and healthy work environments for themselves, so employers that do this now will have an easier time attracting top talent and keeping the employees they have.

The consumer candidate is here to stay and employers who are able to pivot and gear their hiring processes to them will see bigger gains.  They’ll see higher quality candidates applying to their vacancies, they’ll find it easier to attract and keep top talent, and their overall hiring process will work more easily for them.

Have you been making any of these mistakes in your hiring processes? How have you overcome them? Share your experiences in the comments, as we’d love to hear about them.