April 25, 2023

Why’s It So Hard To Find Interested Candidates?


Episode Highlights

People Stay Put In Soft Labor Markets


You're Not Doing Anyone A Favor By Posting A Job


Explain Your Business Initiatives Soup to Nuts With Candidates


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If you’re hiring right now…congratulations! You’re killing it. Kudos to your well run, profitable business.

With all the doom and gloom out there, you’re probably wondering: why isn’t it easy? Aren’t these supposed to be the best of times for finding top talent?

Admittedly, if you’re trying to hire an internal recruiter, it probably is.

But everything else? Jeff Smith and James Hornick will fill you in on what you need to do to get candidates on board in The 10 Minute Talent Rant, Episode 64 “Why’s It So Hard To Find Interested Candidates?”

Episode Transcript

The 10 Minute Talent Rant is live. I’m James Hornick joined by Jeff Smith and we are on the clock. The 10 Minute Talent Rant is our ongoing series where we break down things that are broken in the talent acquisition and hiring space. Maybe even pitch a solution two. I think we got three today. Yep. Before we dig in, all of our contact could be found on talentinsights.hirewell.com. This week’s-

ooh, a shortened version. What’s that? You didn’t go through the whole spiel. Oh no, I think you’re confusing up at the end. I’ll hit that up a bit later, but maybe I did. Maybe I deleted it by accident in my header text here. Fair enough. Okay. This week’s topic, episode 64″ Why is it so hard to find interested candidates?” That’s your first one of the entire era. Yeah. I fumble some- getting old. Jeff, let’s role play. I’ll be me. Actually, you’ll be you. I’ll be the hiring manager. Let’s do it that way. You ready? Yep. Me being the hiring manager, “Jeff, where are my candidates?

Everyone’s laying off. Where are they? Give me the candidates. Where are the candidates, Jeff?” Well look, Mr. Hiring manager in this instance, they’re working hard, buddy. They’re working hard in the job that they’ve gotten accustomed to, that has taken care of them, that’s done right by them. And unfortunately, they’re not going to move unless an act of God comes through and tilts them in that direction.

I hate that that’s the answer. And side note, we had a hilarious conversation about the big Lebowski getting ready for this. And there is a joke in here about finding the right candidate in the vein of Walter and the dude’s conversation. But if you know, you know. For another topic for another day. Yeah, we’ll do movie- we should do a movie review podcast.

I think that’d be more fun, anyways. Definitely. So here’s the deal. Let me kind of get down to the point here. In 2021, let’s just back up a couple years ago. Hardest part of recruiting, and this is like was everyone had multiple great offers. Everyone who was like looking immediate interest,

every company was hiring, salary inflation era. We used to have data kind of on some of the stuff, like the average salary of a software developer shot up like 30% a year. Same for recruiters. It was just nuts. It’s like who knew McDonald’s was going to cost like $15 on average per visit? It’s like, we did. We saw all this coming.

That was, you have to think of it in terms of like a sales or marketing funnel. That was a middle of the funnel problem. Everyone was looking, everyone was open to checking things out. They have lots of great things to choose from, but it was really easy to get people to get back to you, to hear what you had to say, to take the time out.

The hard part was companies had to sell against each other. Mm-hmm. The middle of the funnel. The companies that did really well hiring, they understood this concept really well. They had the hiring managers had to get actively involved. They had to really kind of sell their hearts up and kind of why it was a great place to work.

And they didn’t all do this, but a lot of them did. A lot of them really stepped up. There was a lot more active involvement, making sure the candidates really kind of understood what the company was doing, why it was good for them, why they should join. Not to mention crazy salary inflation stuff to happen, but it’s a very different environment, a very different market than we are in right now.

Yep. And so fast forward 2023, the hardest part of recruiting now is getting candidates motivated enough to even, it says, leave our jobs on the notes that even consider talking to a recruiter, which is exactly what we’re going to talk about. So we labeled it the layoff area. With any luck they think it’s probably the post layoff era and it’s not even the right moniker because, you doom scroll LinkedIn,

it’s all tech-centric. Everything outside of tech has been relatively okay. But I don’t want to discount everybody’s experience in the tech sector and frankly, that was a lot of our work too. The bottom line is, where are those employers that remain standing, that are like, “Nah, I’m good. This is safe as it gets, going to get right now”. It’s a top of the funnel problem, right?

Yeah. As opposed to what you had, the middle of the funnel. Companies can only cut so deep before work just stops getting done. The more people you let go, the more essential those individuals who are still there remain. Those workers know it and they’re definitely content on waiting it out. So the counter-argument here is that companies now need to sell against a candidate’s current employer just to get them into the process, which it’s a classic dichotomy in the “recruiting’s always hard” narrative.

But the big difference is in 2021, the product i.e the candidate was in front of the buyer, i.e the hiring manager, and now they’re not. And that’s kinda the key thing. It’s so much easier for someone, the recruiter sell their product, the candidate, when it’s in front of the buyer, the hiring manager.

That’s a fundamental disconnect. Executives and hiring managers see all this bad news, they just think it’s going to be easy, they think they have to sell less. Really, they have to sell just as much as they did before. They just have to do it earlier in the process when they haven’t even, they have to like get involved.

And they have to make sure that we can kind of get into some kind of takeaways and stuff later. But nothing has really changed at all in terms of the level of involvement you need from candidates or hiring managers. It’s just that like, it’s not as visible to them because these are people that maybe haven’t even gotten to the first interview or they haven’t even gotten that far in the process.

Yep. So if you’re hiring right now, congratulations, you’re killing it. And I don’t say that sarcastically at all. Those who are kind of have hiring plans and going forward, you’re running profitable businesses. Admittedly, there are some skill sets that, like everything we’re saying, like doesn’t- there are some skillsets that have been cut so deep that you’re trying to find a recruiter internally or you’re trying to find marketers or some things like that.

Some of those things are easy, but anything else? Trying to hire software developers, trying to hire accountants. There’s a lot of kind of skillsets, product manager, UX people. It’s still extremely tough and you have to sell just like you did before. So I mean, ultimately if you want to know- if you’re frustrated, you can’t find the people,

I mean you have to take your mindset back two years and just realize the market hasn’t changed from that standpoint. You’re still selling it to someone, it’s just someone’s current employer, not other companies out there trying to hire the same. Totally. Yeah. We feel for you fellow recruiters out there, no sarcasm.

We like to drop the snark all the time, but we know it’s brutal. We get that all of this is counterintuitive. This kind of bubbles up every time there’s a soft hiring market, it actually gets exponentially harder to recruit people out of companies. This idea of the so-called passive candidates, right?

You read the news, like I said, you’re doom scrolling, you see the headlines. All these places have laid off. Worse, people are unemployed and desperately trying to find jobs. So if I’m a hiring, I get it. Like you’re a hiring manager and you think, “Holy shit, this should be a cakewalk.

Now I should have people pounding at my door that are highly qualified to take my roles.” To your point, sometimes it is. But that list that you just kind of rattled off, is these individuals were the individuals that were retained to keep businesses afloat. They are critical individuals for those places.

Mm-hmm. The current employer is not just going to let these people walk for no reason whatsoever. Yeah. So the nuance of all this is super critical and we felt like in the spirit of all this, that we do kind of an extended takeaway, a cut on takeaways today. So if anything of what we just said resonated with you, here’s a couple of things that you should chew over the next quarter.

If you want to attract passive candidates, meaning people who are currently working, they don’t need a job, you have to be better at the top of the funnel stuff. So first off, your job ads or your outbound messages. So first off, you have to realize job ads aren’t the same as job descriptions.

No one’s going to read your boring job description and want to come work for your company. Which, from our research, it’s amazing how many people do not understand that distinction. Yeah, it seems like no one does. No. Give people a reason why your company is better than the one they’re currently at.

Just saying, we’re hiring a marketer or a product manager, a salesperson, nobody cares. Just saying, “Hey, this is who we are. This is what we’re looking for.” Nobody cares. You have to phrase it in a way that someone’s actually, it’s going to be compelling to them and why it might be better than what they’re currently doing.

If you start your messaging with, “We’re looking for” instead of immediately explaining what’s in it for them, you’ve already missed the mark completely. So again, don’t talk about what you’re looking for. Talk about why it’s good for them. Mitch Sullivan kind of talks about this a lot. In one of his classic lines,

“Companies think they’re doing people a favor just by posting a job.” And if you realize- if you wrap your head around that statement for a second, like no one cares that you have a job posted. They only care why it might be better for them and their life and their career and everything else.

And if you write it and you take that kind of approach, it’s more kind of user-centric. You have an infinitely better shot at getting them to actually apply. So just don’t fall into that trap. Easily the biggest takeaway of all this. And that also goes for outbound messaging.

It’s not just job ads. That’s actually you’re sending people emails. Right. Not just saying, “Hey, this is what we’re hiring for.” Okay, but why should they care? Because I think, and we’re talking passive candidates, it really more is more about kind of the outbound messaging that’s just getting overlooked or aren’t getting people interested enough,

so. Yep. And this is why LinkedIn recruiter is such accessible right now. Yeah. Everyone’s employing the exact same strategy and it’s like the fatigue on the candidate side is overwhelming- anyway. When you, you hiring managers, hiring teams are talking to candidates live, get really detailed, really detailed. Explain the business cold.

The candidate has to know that you understand the objectives of the company, the initiatives of the people, the impact that they’re going to have. And like I said, I mean this for both the recruiters who are the first line of defense, corporate recruiters that is, as well as the hiring managers.

If you’re going to find an external recruiter to help you for your search, partner with them and make sure they understand the go-to-market strategy so that they can sell you cold. You want to get a candidate to leave their job for you in a very uncertain time. They have to get excited about it, and you have to demonstrate that excitement to get them pumped up for what they might do.

So everyone’s worst nightmare right now is you leave a job and you get laid off. You become a casualty in 2, 3, 4 months. The best way to overcome that is to be able to talk about your business, its objective, soup to nuts, so that they feel comfortable that you, at a minimum, understand how safe that seat is.

I want to go off on a tangent here, Jeff because I can say definitively over the past 20 years, you know, kind of doing this, I know from talking to hiring manager whether a role’s going to be easy to fill or not has nothing to do with what they’re- how much money they raised or what product they sell.

It just comes down to like, when I talk to hiring manager, that they themselves are bought in and they’re excited and they can tell you everything that’s going on, versus one who’s kind of like indecisive and can’t get in a lot of details. Like that’s really it, you know. That’s kinda the biggest thing.

So anyways. And you know it, you’re right, you know it. You know it within the first two minutes if you’re talking to that person. Yeah. Last thing we want to talk about here is Jeff, why aren’t all the out-of-work candidates getting jobs? I mean, they’re looked at as lesser goods. It’s terrible. Just because they got RIFed and it’s absolute bullshit.

Yeah. Give the people who are laid off a shot and give them another look. Those are the folks that are really going to run through brick walls for you. Yeah. So we want to bring that up as well too, because every time we kind of talk about this type of stuff, there’s always people out there that are frustrated because they’ve been looking for a while.

And I do think that the way that we kind of evaluate talent has to change, at least giving people a shot. And there’s a lot of great people out there that really just, give them a second look. So anyways. Almost put my paper down for the outros. I’m going to do that from scratch.

And we are short on clock. That’s a wrap for this week. Thanks for tuning into The 10 Minute Talent Rant- part of the Talent Insight series which is always available for replay on talentinsights.hirewell.com, as well as YouTube, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and Amazon. Jeff, thanks again as always. Everyone out there, see you soon.


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