How do you hire and recruit in a candidate led market?

Posted on: January 7th, 2019

Finally, after years of a prolonged recession and slim pickings for job hunters, the recruitment market is starting to turn around – so what is a candidate driven market?Essentially, a lengthened period of stability and a sharp and sustained increase in hiring means that the job market is competitive again, great news for candidates looking for jobs but what about employers looking to hire?

The increase in hiring means that there is massive demand for specific skills from candidates but recruitment agencies like ourselves are starting to see roles stay open for longer without the candidate with the perfect skills applying. HR managers are starting to see that rather than having candidates compete for one role, they are going to have to start competing with each other to attract the best talent.

How have we got here?

Following the recession of 2007 to 2009, a spate of redundancies and a slump in hiring meant that the job market was looking weak and hiring managers had their pick of the best that talent pools had to offer. Candidates focused on stability and weren’t looking for new jobs and increased prospects. Things have changed however, with the Office for National Statistics showing a record number of job vacancies in the UK of 833,000 the largest figure since 2001 when comparable reports began.

Brexit can also be held to account here by HR managers with a falling number of EU workers looking for work following the announcement. Unemployment is at an all-time low with 75.6% of candidates in work and the private sector is strong with 27.04 million workers, up 3.7 million since 2010.

What can employers do to compete in this market?

1.     Increase the speed of your recruitment process

Creating a better candidate experience throughout the hiring process is key to adapting and finding the most skilled person. Streamlining your recruitment process and making offers within days or weeks rather than waiting is key; 31% of candidates have rejected offers where hiring managers spent too long deliberating and they were offered better opportunities in the meantime according to a MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study. Consider upcoming roles carefully and check your diary before making a role live because if you are going on holiday for 2 weeks in the middle of the process you may come back to find your candidates have accepted other offers.

2.     Look to culture fit rather than an inside-out industry knowledge

More and more increasingly we are being asked to find a candidate who’s match to the company’s culture is more fitting than the nuances of their work history; in the last week at least two clients have asked us to find candidates from industries outside their own to bring something fresh to the role. Consider hiring the best person for the role rather than matching industry experience. While this may require more training in the short-term, you are hiring a person who will develop loyalty to your company and you will be giving them more job satisfaction and a reluctance to leave you.

3.     Make sure your pay and benefits are competitive

The best thing a hiring manager can remember is that there is no such thing as a typical rate of pay: pay is dependent on work experience, personal values and more. With freelance workers commanding salaries in the hundreds per day you need to ask yourself if you are offering a competitive salary for a permanent or contract position. While you are offering candidates the stability of a permanent salary you are also asking them to give up the consideration of very lucrative work.

The best benefits you can offer are also a key consideration here, consider a profit share scheme, free breakfast and parking and anything else that can make a candidate’s life easier is an excellent way of making your prospective role more attractive. Align your company with your candidate’s needs or you may see them walk away.

If you are considering taking on new talent or you don’t know where to start with your recruitment process consider getting in touch with the team here at Lucy Bristow and Creative Bristow so we can lend you a helping hand. With our 30 year anniversary coming up in October we have seen the job market rise and fall and can definitely offer you some pearls of wisdom. Give us a call on 0117 925 5988 or email

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