Tips on RECRUITING in a CANDIDATE Led Market

A candidate-led (or candidate-driven) market is a reason to despair, right? You should toss your hands up in the air, shake your fist at the sky and give up, yeah? After all, the market is flooded with jobs and there’s not enough candidates to fill them, so any attempt at spending time trying to find the right person is basically fruitless?


Codswallop. Rubbish. Hogwash.

While it is true that a candidate-led market is more of a challenge for recruiters, there are still multiple ways to find the right people. In this post, I’ll outline what a candidate-led market looks like, why we are in one and I’ll touch on how your business can still attract superstars. 

But first, what on earth is a candidate-led market?

In a nutshell, a candidate-led market means candidates are very much sitting firmly in the proverbial driving seat. They’re able to bargain for higher salaries, better working hours, holidays and more.

As Steve and I outline in the latest episode of Nobody Likes Recruiters (you should listen), a candidate’s job search is littered with opportunities. He or she can trawl through oceans of postings, carefully selecting those that match their criteria. They can be picky, very picky. 

Put it this way, I recently did a search on a major job site for customer service roles within a 20-mile radius of Stoke-on-Trent. There were 300 pages. Yes, you read that correctly. 300 pages of customer services jobs close to Stoke.

Stoke is a lovely place but it is not a hive of economic activity, and yet, a candidate from this part of the world has that much to choose from. Incredible.

It’s simple, if a client can’t offer what a candidate is looking for, if they’re not writing attractive job adverts or reacting quickly enough during the recruitment process, they’re ultimately losing talent to competitors who are doing these things. 

But here is the good news. If you’re struggling to nail the right candidate, it’s not just you, your business or your sector; and there’s no singular issue causing all of this.

Yes, candidates can, and will, be selective. But, if you’re willing to invest a little bit more energy in how you recruit, you’re going to give yourself the advantage and you’ll need to worry less about what others are doing.


Which industries are facing the biggest challenges?

As Adam points out in the latest podcast, it wasn’t too long ago that we were fretting about automation and how it would render the human race ‘out of work’. This could, in theory, still happen, but now the worry has reversed. There are too many jobs and not enough people to do them.

Digital marketing skills are in high demand. As businesses changed the way they operated and consumers changed the way they consumed during COVID, those candidates who knew how to manipulate search engines, write and create good content or manage online adverts became more sought after.

A tech client of ours recently had three of their highest performers poached by a competitor who effectively doubled their salaries. This is probably not feasible, but it does give you an indication of the competitiveness of the job market right now.


How has this happened?

COVID, as you well know, had a gigantic impact on people’s attitudes toward work. Almost overnight, lots of workers discovered they could do their jobs perfectly well from home. This has driven candidates to think about another dynamic when considering a new position – flexible working.

Those businesses who are either unwilling or unable to offer the ability to WFH have seen their options squeezed.

We saw eye-watering amounts of money printed during 2020 and 2021, and that has directly contributed to inflation, which has been compounded by global conflict.

So if you currently have a job, there’s a good chance you’re now ‘putting off’ a potential move. Staying where you are, with a team you know and a business you understand, is more appealing than heading out into the unknown during a very serious recession. 


What can you do about it?

Well, firstly, in order to address a problem you need to understand it. Once you’ve finished reading this watch the latest episode of our podcast, Nobody Likes Recruiters, for more insight.

And in the next episode, we’ll be outlining a myriad of strategies every company can and should do to make themselves more compelling to future employees. 


But before that. 

We speak to businesses of all sizes, across many different sectors, on a daily basis. 

You might have the idea of the perfect candidate, but the key here is to not be wedded to ticking every box you have.

In our experience, those companies who are willing to entertain the idea that a candidate may have some transferable skills, or offer flexibility of where an employee can work, are the companies that are winning the recruitment game. Not being dogmatic in your approach really is the key. 

Ultimately, if you’re working with a recruitment company and you’re outsourcing some of this work, you should be getting direction from them on the above. It’s not always easy to tell a client that they need to alter expectations, but in the current situation, it is of the utmost importance. 

The candidate-led market has thrown up new challenges, and it’ll continue to do so. But there are ways around it. Your approach needs to be fresh, you need to think differently.

Recruitment is not transactional, it’s a long-term play and an integral part of any organisation. Capturing the right people for your business is paramount. 

Yes, there’s a candidate shortage. No, you’re not the only company struggling to recruit. There are ways to go out there and win the people you need to drive your business forward, regardless of the current market conditions.

If you have any questions on anything I have written above, or any of the topics we have covered in our latest podcast, feel free to send us an email. We don’t bite.