Business cycles in the executive search industry move quite rapidly from an employer driven to candidate driven market. Third-party recruitment, except for senior leadership positions, slows down significantly when the unemployment rate is high as employers either simply aren’t hiring or feel that the market is open enough that they can recruit on their own without suffering the expense of an outside partner. Our team at DSML Executive Search has seen many of these cycles from employer driven to candidate driven markets. Currently, despite the impact of the pandemic over the past year and a half, we are in one of the strongest candidate markets in the past twenty years.
In a candidate driven market companies are heavily competing to attract talent for their organizations. Candidates are often juggling interviews with several different employers and are in the driver’s seat in terms of compensation negotiation. In fact, the upward pressure in compensation puts many employers in difficult scenarios as it is difficult to justify, to current team members, why someone from the outside would start off at the top, or over the top, of the existing compensation range.
This is especially frustrating for DSML’s European clients, as they are already paying their US team much higher wages than they do for their employees in the parent operation. (Of course, there are many other cultural considerations in play when recruiting in the United States such as educational costs, health care, etc., however on face value ‘sticker-shock’ still prevails.) And, in the U.S., geographical location adds additional cost considerations. It is, for example, compensation packages are anywhere from 30 to 50% higher in Boston than in Chicago.
Saying “Yes” to Your Offer
Here are some tips to assist the recruitment process in a candidate driven market:
- Take a more comprehensive approach to your job description and any job postings. Let candidates know more about the business and the plans for growth, the type of training they will receive, the onboarding process, the working culture of the company and the type of personality that would make for a great fit.
- Constantly communicate with candidates and meet your deadlines. If you say you’ll get follow up at the end of the week, for example, then make certain to do it.
- Build a culture of security and fairness within your organization. Re-examine the existing compensation packages already in place. Candidates are telling us that they are being approached by recruiters all the time … this means that your people are too!
- Focus on what motivates people. Daniel Pink, in his book Drive, indicates that the “secret to high performance and satisfaction at work is the deep human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world”.
- Engage with an Executive Search firm who works as a close partner. Playing one recruiter off against another on a contingency basis may seem like a good idea, but it is not an efficient process and a “race to the finish line” seldom brings the best candidates.
The good news is that the little guy often wins the battle over the Fortune 500 firms in terms of communication, organization, culture, diversity, and overall employee satisfaction.
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If your company is seeking to recruit for a key position, such as CEO, COO, President, VP or other senior level role, have a conversation with DSML Executive Search (contact) to ensure your search includes a “through process” and “success based” strategy.