To win the battle for talent in this historically tight labour market, a strict and fast recruitment process is essential. However, awareness of this is not yet widespread and companies are missing out on new employees. Manager Lene Coeman from staffing specialist Walters People talks about how organisations can make the recruitment process as smooth as possible.
To start with the good news: although the supply of candidates has decreased, Lene still sees a lot of movement in the job market. This is partly due to a growing awareness among employees that the large number of vacancies means they can take a chance. Lene: "And that's where the shoe pinches sometimes. Organisations tend to assume that their employees are satisfied in their current jobs. But we increasingly notice that satisfied employees also regularly explore the labour market. A solid retention policy is therefore no superfluous luxury in these times if you, as an employer, want to keep sought-after talent on board."
The less good news: many organisations miss out on scarce talent because they have not yet fully realised the speed at which the labour market is currently moving. "Candidates often talk to several companies at once, meaning a strict recruitment process is crucial," says Lene. "If I have to make a rough estimate, in a quarter of the cases a job application process breaks down due to not acting fast enough."
Plan the entire recruitment process in advance
Losing applicants can, however, be prevented, according to Lene. "I understand that companies have their hands full these days, but a smooth and tightly arranged recruitment process doesn't have to take a lot of time."
For starters, employers should plan the entire process in advance: from shortlisting, initial interviews, feedback, possible follow-up interviews and making an offer. Lene: "In today's job market it should be possible to complete the whole recruitment process in one week, especially when the final candidate is involved in multiple recruitment processes."
Speed is maintained in the process by, for example, planning time slots in advance in which several candidates are interviewed in succession, and if necessary, a first job interview can be conducted online via Teams, Zoom or Skype. This prevents dependence on candidates’ calendars, so that other applicants must wait too long for their feedback. There is then a risk that they will choose another job in the meantime.
Decide on the job profile and conditions of employment in advance
According to Lene, it is equally important to define a clear job profile in advance, separating the must-haves from the nice-to-haves, as the chances of organisations finding the sheep with five legs in this job market are minimal. Lene: "Think about what an applicant really needs to meet, which hard skills he needs to master on day one. If you are a bit more flexible about this, you will see that there are many more good candidates on the market who in many cases can surprise you, and who can learn the nice-to-haves on the job, or via an external course."
Then, if there is an applicant who stands out, don't waste time trying to compare them with other candidates with a similar profile. This slows down the whole process unnecessarily and increases the risk of another organisation hiring your preferred candidate. Therefore, make sure that a suitable offer can be made immediately. Candidates regularly go through several recruitment procedures and know what they are worth. "They are not going to wait until the organisation has internally agreed on what salary can be offered", says Lene. "Then they will opt for an organisation that is more decisive. The same applies if the offer is too low. The Walters People digital Salary Survey tool for example allows organisations to benchmark in advance what salary is appropriate."
Offering a competitive salary is one thing, but just as important for many applicants, according to Lene, is the option for flexible work. While many employees can no longer imagine that they once spent five days commuting between home and office, for some companies the situation is different. "I still see organisations struggling with the hybrid model; they are afraid of losing control. But numerous studies have shown that working from home does not make us less productive."
Companies that cling to the old office model therefore have a hard time in the war for talent, while organisations that do go along with this flexibility increases their talent pool. Lene: "If job applicants can work from home two or three days a week, they will be prepared to travel a greater distance for the days they need to be at the office. That means that, as an organisation, your available talent pool increases significantly. And that is important, because I don't see the current labour shortage disappearing any time soon."
The free digital Salary Survey tool gives you an insight into the most recent trends in the labour market and an overview of common salaries within finance and business support. Looking for new employees? Upload your vacancy or contact one of our offices.