In our last post, we offered up some tips for companies looking to have a banner recruitment year in 2015. We couldn’t leave candidates out of the mix, though, so we created a strategy for them, too. Some components may appear obvious at first, but they have a slightly different meaning in the context of 2015, so read on.
1. Do your homework. You may be itching like crazy to get out of your current position and start something new, but don’t let the relative abundance of new opportunities distract you from your goals. It’s like going to the grocery store when you’re hungry—you end up with four bags of chips, a sleeve of cookies, and a frozen pizza instead of the rotisserie chicken and fresh vegetables that your plan for healthy eating said you should get. In other words: stay focused! Is this position really what you want for yourself? Will it get you to where you need to be long-term? Dig deeper. If the position you’re applying for is part of a growth initiative, how solid is their plan? Would your role be connected to the bigger picture, or would you just be an isolated source of increased productivity? Doing the extra research and reflection will pay off.
2. Shore up your career narrative. Employers always want to know why. Why did you leave your last position? Why do you want to work for us? Why’d you get that advanced degree in a field that has nothing to do with what you’re doing now? Even if they don’t ask the direct question, they want to know. Recruiting can be a risky business for those making the decisions, so the better you are at articulating a compelling career narrative, the quicker you’ll reduce the risk level in hiring you. Following our first tip—do your homework—can certainly come to your aid here as well. You need to be able to creatively insert yourself into the company’s plans and make it seem like their vision has been yours all along. In order to do that, of course, you need to know what that vision is—so hit the books (figuratively speaking, of course)!
3. Negotiate wisely. This time around, candidates may have a slight upper hand over employers when it comes to negotiating salary, but the key word here is slight. So be cautious, take it slow, and use your leverage wisely. Remember: you’re ultimately trying to work with these people, not put them in their place. If you come out throwing hay-makers and giving them everything you have, they might just exit the ring altogether—leaving you the champion of nothing. Instead, build a case for yourself, ground it in concrete evidence of the value you bring, and then let them respond. If you do the math for them, and make it seem simple, then they’ll have a hard time not accepting it.
By all credible accounts, 2015 should be a big year in the world of recruiting and talent acquisition. The recession caused some deep cuts and ugly bruises, but with many wounds nearly healed, companies are ready to rip the Band-Aid off and forge ahead with more aggressive growth strategies. That includes growing personnel.
As exciting as that sounds, a new year can also bring new challenges. To help out, we have compiled some tips for companies looking to make the most out of their 2015 recruiting efforts.
- Know your competitive advantage. The tables haven’t been completely turned, but due to the increased demand for talent and resulting competition among employers, candidates will have more power in the market than they have had in some time. And the more options candidates have, the more perceptive they are to differences between employers and the more selective they can be in deciding where to start the next leg of their career. So, you have got to know what distinguishes you among your competitors and flaunt it. Tactfully. Arming candidates with the right info about your company goes a long way towards ensuring that they make the right decision (which would be choosing your company, of course). A word of caution here, though: make sure the traits you highlight—whatever they may be—are genuine and enduring. Nothing is worse than being sold on a culture that doesn’t actually exist.
- Be prepared to pay a little more. During the recession, few saw any meaningful bumps in pay and many job seekers will be looking to make up for that “loss” if and when they move. Not all candidates will be worth what they are asking for, of course, but some certainly will be, and you should be prepared to pay it if you want to land the best talent. Even outside of tech, signing bonuses and other perks are coming back into play—at the entry level, no less!
- Do your due diligence. While you may not need to know a candidate’s complete life story, it is important to know the real reasons candidates are presenting for your positions. Mainly, you need to determine if they are fleeing from or moving toward something. Logic will tell you that it is often a mix of both, but experience has shown us that the mix is rarely equal. Candidates whose chief motivation is to get out of a current situation and away from an existing workplace, may not be as selective or smart about choosing their next destination. Even if they interview well, they could end up being a poor fit, because they allowed the urgency of fleeing something bad to cloud their judgment over what’s best for the future. This is not always the case, but it is worth investigating on the front end to avoid misery on the back end.
We hope these tips and strategies help you navigate the recruiting landscape of 2015, but if you’re still looking for more, or need help on implementation, give us a call. This is what we do.