December 13, 2022

Competition for Candidates


Episode Highlights

It's a Candidate's Market Right Now


Career Growth/Progression


Remote vs. In-Person Work Environment


Company Culture/Positive Candidate Experience


Companies Need to Learn from their Mistakes


How Can Companies Become More Competitive in the Market?


Companies Need to Put in the Effort and Do Their Research


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In this week’s episode, Dan and Louie dive into the topic of “Competition for Candidates.” Highlighting what companies can do to become more competitive for top talent. With candidates entertaining so many options, how can companies assess themselves to stand out amongst the crowd. They use the competition of the FIFA World Cup as a segway into the topic.

Episode Transcript

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Welcome back to the Hirewell Hot Corner, where sports and recruitment meet. I’m your host, Dan Spittel joined as always by my co-host Louis Morici. Louis, great to see you again. Let’s jump right in. What’s going on in your world and the world of sports today?

Football season, still grinding away. But I think more importantly we’ll talk about the European Football World Cup, lot of excitement around that.

Sporting our countries teams, it’s been exciting. Absolutely. Really good competition, so far this year. A lot of parity, I feel like from lower level teams than we’ve seen specifically. I just saw Senegal advanced to the round of 16. No one, I think penciled them in. And right before we were chatting about this we only recognized three teams as being 2-0 in their first two games, that being France, Portugal, and Brazil. It seems like going into these third games and the group stage, they all matter. There’s only two teams that were officially eliminated after two games, Qatar and Canada. They’re exciting. You’re getting playoff soccer in the group stages.

Some surprising wins from teams like Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, and even the US find themselves in a winner go home situation this afternoon. Yeah. We had to push back or push up our filming so we can do our part cheer on our team and hopefully get them through to the knockout. I mean, this wouldn’t be a sports and recruiting show if we didn’t focus on the sports sometimes too. Yeah. But, so Louis, on the topic of soccer,

full pun intended, what’s the cross here? How do we do move it into recruiting? So, I think it all comes down to competition. So we’re seeing countries go at it in this case, but we’re going to segue that with companies. The hiring environment is very challenging. There’s a lot of people on the market. How do you stick out amongst, 3, 4, 5 options that potential employees are looking into? Yeah, absolutely. We have a high level number of openings across the board. I think this is the most openings we’ve seen in a workforce where there’s more openings than there are people. So all the more reason to really take that self-reflection. What are we doing? Where do we need to go? And when you’re a candidate,

just from when I’ve talked to people, I feel like it’s more urgent now that

“Oh, I have interviews. This many here. I’ve already gotten offers from these companies.” The process seems to be speeding up and intensifying a lot more recently. Thousand percent. I have a few candidates that just got looped in with like first-round interviews when they already are in finals with others. They’re actively looking and until they sign on the dotted line and sometimes even after they already do, they’re still open to other opportunities.

So how do you really stick with them? And that’s what we’ll dive in today. Things that companies can do to provide better value to candidates. What can a company do? What makes them competitive in hiring? Obviously we know the main one that comes to everyone’s forefront of their mind is compensation.

You know, benefits package, that actual offer. But past that, there are some other real key points that people are looking at in terms of how can this be a best fit for me and how can this company be competitive? One I’ve heard a lot more recently is what’s the career growth for me? What’s the progression?

People aren’t just looking at this next role. They’re looking at the next role, the next two roles, the next three roles, and ideally longevity. Yeah. Yeah. And it steps back to our last episode with gaps in employment. Like we’re finding that people, they don’t want to have these job hoppers. And the environment is they get looked past because of the job hopping.

So how do you get into a position where you can be somewhere long term? And that’s something that they really evaluate. Is there a clear cut career progression is there advancement? What does that look like from a timeline standpoint? One of the biggest things, next to compensation and benefits and all that, is that career progression.

They want to be able to see themselves there for the long haul and have the company grow as they grow. Yep. And speaking of staying there for the long haul, another thing that we’ve seen a lot more recently that is a major factor in these decisions is where they’re physically working.

With Covid, we went remote for a year, a year and a half, some people two years, and we’re still fully remote. A lot of companies have started moving back into the office, maybe in a hybrid setting. A lot of companies have made the commitment to go fully remote. So that plays a huge role. I’ve had a lot of people who have been forced back into an office five days a week, and that’s just not what they’re about.

Or they moved away and they can’t physically do that anymore, and so they’re looking for fully remote opportunities. Fortunately, my current client has those, but not everyone offers that. Talk through the main pros and cons of that in terms of staying competitive.

Yeah. We’re starting to see that remote is preferred. Especially once you’ve gone into a fully remote setting. It is very challenging to go back. What kind of blows my mind is in some sense, is companies hired fully remote folks and then they’re letting them go because they’re not willing to come into an office that’s not even located in the same state.

It doesn’t quite make sense to me. If you’re hiring remote, you should plan that person or those people being remote for the long haul. And if anyone’s local and you do some hybrid or something, that’s one thing. But that part of it definitely can leave a bad taste in candidate’s mouth. But as far as preference, yeah. I think it’s very challenging to get people who want to come into the office.

Not to say that they’re not out there. I’ve spoke with plenty that are open with hybrid who are like, you know what? I just maybe don’t have the best setup at home. There’s kids, there’s roommates, whatever. An office environment helps them stay focused. They go in for their eight hours a day.

That’s where they do work. And then at home they’re by themselves or their work life balance is easier to manipulate or to handle. So I get both ways, but from a hiring standpoint, it’s something that-

Get a gauge. Is this a role that can be done remote? Does it have to be in office? There’s a lot of points that can point to either side. Yeah. I’m with you on the side of can this be done remotely? I think that’s a big question. And the main thing, I don’t see a world where a hybrid situation is that much of an issue. My main concern from a hiring standpoint is just the size of the candidate pool you’re working with. When you’re changing from remote to even one day a week in an office, you’re suddenly knocking out for the US the vast majority of your candidate pool, people who aren’t in that metro area that you’re hiring for.

There’s a massive candidate pool out there. Maybe specifically where you are, I’m in Cincinnati, you’re in Chicago. It’s much smaller when you start fishing in it. When you have to get people into an office setting. Yeah. It’s like pulling teeth in some cases.

We’re working for a client right now, working on six different roles. Four out of the six, I believe are hybrid roles in the Tampa area. The other two that are high-end, RVP roles, are fully remote. And we’re just seeing way more traction on the remote aspect because it’s a wider pool. I mean, it makes sense. It’s a numbers thing. We’re hopefully slowly getting them to start opening the other four to saying, “Hey, maybe a little bit wider region. Maybe not fully remote as far as all the way on the other side of the country, but couple surrounding states where there’s in the same time zone.”

So, that is almost a topic in itself, the whole remote versus hybrid versus in office. We could talk about that for at least one full episode. Jumping off of that one-

One that kind of goes hand-in-hand with that is a culture standpoint. We’re at a place where a lot of people care much more about the company culture. And what their work environment’s going to look like. Not even physically, but just with their coworkers, teammates, the mindset of the company. That’s become a major selling point for a lot of people. Yeah. And as it should. People should not just take jobs because of compensation.

Now, if someone’s offering you a lot of money, way more than you’re even asking for, it should be taken into consideration. But there should be some flags as to why they’re looking to pay someone double what they’re asking. So the culture is great. It’s something that has to be looked at. It’s very tough to get a gauge if you’re not working there. But that’s what the interview process should be, is to ask those questions. Get a feel for the people that you’re speaking with and ask their experience. I think there’s some ways to uncover things that aren’t just A, B, and C. There’s some underlying things that you can maybe do to look into it.

And another one of those is looking at reviews. I think that’s another thing that companies can do to make themselves more competitive is learning from them. It also can speak to a culture. Oh, absolutely. Company reviews from current employees, previous employees, people who have gone through the interview process, clients, customers, and they’re all out there.

And so keeping a consistent process and maintaining a strong level of engagement. We talk about as recruiters, the candidate experience. Whether or not you hire someone is a big part of it. But for those who you don’t, at least maintaining that positive rapport, the reputation. You never know who they’re going to talk to. Where they’re going to put that on the internet. And at least from the client I’m working with currently, referrals are huge. It’s a big part of their business, in gaining clients and gaining employees. And so it’s a big factor in terms of we need to maintain a positive reputation, word of mouth, online, any channel that we can in order to keep ourselves competitive in the market for business and employees.

Yeah. And one of the things I advise for companies is to actually digest some of maybe those not so positive reviews. Why are people saying that? There’s always going to be the one off disgruntled employee who wasn’t performing. And with the time they have on their hands, now that they don’t have a job, they’re leaving a pretty disgruntled review.

But on the flip side, there’s people who may have been good employees that are leaving genuine feedback that, yeah, may not be positive, but use it as a learning experience. Maybe thin out those bad ones with some good reviews and change. Because that’s huge. I’ve spoken with candidates who are like, it looks like three years ago there was not a great culture based on reviews.

And then it seems like it’s only gotten better. They’ve done research. It can get that in depth with candidates. And how they decide on which interviews to go with. So change. Do your due diligence. And don’t be stubborn. I guess that’s a huge thing. No one’s perfect. Got to take the good with the bad. Switching over from what makes a company competitive?

Let’s talk about those companies who don’t feel that they’re competitive currently. Or maybe they’re struggling to keep up in this faster paced hiring market. What can they do? How can they improve? How can they get competitive? I think it comes down to just evaluating. There’s a lot of things that go into that, but start with the interview process.

Are you seeing a lot of drop off in there? Is your process six steps? And by step three, people are either accepting other roles or they’re just losing that excitement. And thinking of other things. Like, no one wants to get the sense that they’re putting in work on interviews and preparing and studying, and then getting told they’re not going to be moving forward. It sucks. You have to make it seem worth it throughout the whole process. And if you’re seeing people falling off, you have to adjust. Maybe take six steps and make it three or four. Maybe combine some steps. There’s certain roles that you really do need to have a longer process.

I’m talking director of sales. Ones that hold a high amount of responsibility. But to have, let’s call it an entry level sales development rep or an entry level recruiter. Like you don’t need to have 10 steps. Six steps. Like you should be able to gauge really on personality, ability to do the job, within three or four at the very most. And that might include assessments. That might include mock interviews. However you want to do it. One of the biggest parts I would point to, besides the obvious, if you’re not paying enough and your culture has a reputation of not being very solid.

Yeah, absolutely. And then on my end, I would say the interview process is big. But you gotta look at your other internal processes while you’re at it. You gotta look at your ATS system. You gotta look at key stakeholders on the internal side of what they’re doing. And really, for me, I’ve seen a lot of issues where the process gets bogged down and slowed down by the hiring manager itself.

They’ve gone through the interview process, they’ve interviewed candidates, and then there’s this lull. Last week we had Thanksgiving. I didn’t expect to hear anything from managers at the end of last week. I don’t want them to work then. But you’ll get these, week or two, I’m sure you’ve experienced it, where the hiring manager isn’t prioritizing recruitment. That’s fine. But if you are focused and you need these people, you say, I have a need. We’re overworked. We need people. If you prioritize recruitment for a month, maybe two months, you’ll get the people in the door. And you won’t be overworked anymore. Maybe it’s educating hiring managers more on the importance of a consistent process. And really hammering home the idea of candidate experience.

You work a lot with sales people, you know firsthand, and they know firsthand, what it’s like to engage and get positive reviews from the people they’re trying to sell to. So why should this be any different, from a hiring perspective? And getting them to prioritize recruitment is definitely one that would help the internal processes. Would help the interview process, I think as a whole.

Yeah, it’s shocking to hear that sometimes you’re getting looped in by a recruiter at a company who’s the one kind of sourcing some of this outside to companies like Hirewell. And the hiring managers, in my world, the sales manager and the recruiter are not on the same page.

One person saying, yes, we need these people. The other one is painting a different picture and it becomes a pretty big cluster of a mess. That definitely can be improved. Really just communicating. Get on the same page. So when you do loop in a Hirewell, you can give them direct this is what we’re looking for and let’s get the ball rolling.

It’s not always that pretty, unfortunately. But it seems like a small thing that can go a long way to having success when you’re looking for talent. Yeah, for sure. Two minute drill time. I guess with today in the honor of World Cup, we can call it stoppage time today, but two minute drill. Take us home.

Louis, what do you got for us? The biggest thing is do your homework. We’re expecting not only us, but clients are expecting candidates to do their homework. Doing research on their company. Looking up LinkedIn’s. Companies should do the same. What’s been working in the market? What’s the right compensation for this level of employee?

It goes both ways. And if you’re not willing to put in your end of the bargain, candidates will that. If you’re paying 10K lower than everyone else, that will rule you out faster than anything. So do your homework. Do your research. And make sure that you’re not doing things that are going to make you uncompetitive.

Let them happen naturally if that’s the case. Absolutely. You touched on it earlier in the review side. You gotta learn from what you’re seeing out there. Learn from others in the market. You’re not going to just become the most competitive. Or you’re not going to fix all your problems overnight.

Continually improving is the easiest way to get more competitive. Take a look internally. See where you’re at. Find little ways to improve here and there. And over time, the process and your processes will become naturally better. And so take it one day at a time. And like you said, hold yourself to the same standards that we expect from candidates. So I think that’s a great point.

Thanks everyone for tuning in again to the Hirewell Hot Corner. On behalf of myself and Louis, we always appreciate the continued support. Join us again in two weeks for our next installment. And as always, stay classy LinkedIn.

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