When an industry, such as accounting, seems to have an abundance of jobs but a shortage of talent to meet those needs, the candidate market shifts. Hiring in this candidate-driven market can be tricky. But if you have the right strategy in place, you can find the perfect candidate to fill your open position.

When hiring in a competitive candidate market, it’s key that you keep these things in mind.

Timing is Everything

The hiring process can be long and drawn-out for many reasons. But all of those factors need to take a backseat when hiring in a competitive candidate market. In this situation, time is of the essence.

When hiring in a candidate-driven market, clients may need to move faster than they initially intended. In order to find and attract the right candidate, hiring managers and recruiters need to accelerate their processes.

This means being proactive about engaging with potential fits, getting interviews on the books as soon as possible, and making decisions about hires quickly. Instead of doing several interview rounds with different people, have great candidates meet key players and decision makers the first time around. This way follow-ups (if necessary) can be done quickly over the phone, without the need to align schedules once again.

Ideally, the process from first contact to making an offer should only take about 10 days. Again, this may be accelerated compared to hiring managers’ normal processes. But waiting is a surefire way to miss out on the top talent in your market.

Definition and Clarity

There is a lot of communication throughout the hiring process, and things can easily get muddy. In order to keep things moving at a steady pace, communication should be streamlined and crystal clear. Check in with your candidates throughout the process, asking if they have any questions.

You want to make sure anyone in contact with candidates sends the same message about the company and this position. Everyone should be on the same page, otherwise candidates will get mixed messages. This could send them in the opposite direction very quickly.

A great way to ensure that everyone is aligned on the job description, responsibilities, etc. is by asking the candidate to describe what they think the job entails in that first interview. This isn’t meant to catch them off guard (though it will show you if any effort was put into researching the role), but to clear up any confusion about what the candidate is there for.

Be definitive in your description of the position from the jump, and be prepared to answer questions about career development. You should have a vision for that role three to five years in the future. Your ideal candidate should share that vision and embrace it, or have something to add to it.

In any event, both you and any candidate should be able to see what is coming down the line for the role, which will help you to find the right person quickly, or know when it’s time to move to the next candidate.

Industry Knowledge

Knowing the scope of the industry in which you’re searching for talent can really help you to find the ideal candidate. First of all, you’ll know just how candidate-driven your market is and what the talent gap looks like. This can help you gauge the level of efficiency you need to find top talent to fill your job opening.

You should understand competition trends fully. Find this data from reputable sources, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This source in particular can help you understand hiring and salary trends, which will give you insights which are helpful when putting together an offer.

To this point, making an acceptable initial offer could land you that top candidate first. If top talent has two offers in their hands – one with a salary and benefits package they’re pleased with, the other which needs negotiating – they may be more inclined to accept the reasonable initial offer. It shows that the employer values their skills and is aware of what the market demands.

Armed with the proper information, you can avoid counteroffers and land the best talent. But if there is a counteroffer, having contingencies in place can help you to remedy the situation quickly and still bring the top talent on board.

If you want to explore more helpful insights like these, please peruse our advice section. You can also reach out to one of our expert recruitment consultants for all of your hiring needs, or submit a job description here.

For assistance in your search for excellent accounting talent, please reach out to Associate Director Patrick Blakeney at [email protected].

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