Transitioning into a job seeker ruled world: how to recruit in 2019

Transitioning into a job seeker ruled world: how to recruit in 2019

by Ankita Poddar 19/07/2019

Three things happened in quick succession.

First, my mentor asked me to stop being an ostrich and pull my head out of the sand. Up until that moment, my typical response to a job opportunity had been – ‘Thank you for reaching out. I am not looking for a change at this point of time. When I do start, I will definitely reach out to you.’ Apparently, after spending 4+ years in an organization, this is not the right answer. A better strategy is to engage with other organizations to stay in touch with the industry, as you never know what might interest you. Therefore, after some encouragement, I began to say yes to exploring opportunities.

Soon after, I engaged in conversations with two startups that piqued my interest. I was delighted that I was heeding my mentor’s advice. What I did not expect is the tedious uphill climb that begins once they ask – ‘Why are you looking to switch?’ Interviewer after interviewer expressed greater interest in investigating my reasons to change organizations over validating if I could actually perform the job. In a typical 45-minute interview (sometimes shorter), we spent 5 minutes in introductions and an average of 15 minutes over my reasons to switch. Many interviewers struggled to understand that I was exploring the organization through these conversations as much as they were exploring my fit in the organization. They believed that the conversation was a good use of their time only if the candidate was absolutely convinced that he or she would join the organization.

Then, I read this piece. I quickly realized that while the world had transformed into a job seekers market, organizations continue to struggle with this shift. I remember the days when organizations would disappear and candidates would chase. I love the shift in landscape and did what I always do – I made a mental note of pointers that organizations need to keep in mind to help maneuver this change. Imagine my joy when I was asked to share these with the world. While some of what I list is common knowledge, you might stumble across a nugget of gold. Else, refreshers are always valuable.

1. Invest in risk: Talent acquisition (TA) is a pro when it comes to dealing with risk. They know that there is never a guarantee that a candidate will join. While in the past, there have been many fish in the sea, that ocean is drying up quick and the team needs to embrace the spike in risk. Organizations as a whole need to accept that the best talent is not looking to move and that most passive candidates have no idea what they are looking for. Organizations need to continue engaging in conversations to help sell the role, organization and the people just as much as the candidate needs to sell their skills and attitude to the organization. Every interviewer needs to become as much of a marketer of the role as those in TA and accept that maybe just one in every 10 offers will be accepted. More importantly, they need to be willing to take the risk in order to find true gold.

2. Be humble: There is nothing more important than respecting the time of the candidate. If they are taking the time out of their schedule to explore an opportunity with your organization, ensure they have a frustration free experience. Schedule calls when suitable to both parties (not just for you), exercise flexibility, give them information on who they will be speaking to, ensure the interviewers turn up on time and keep the flow of communication going. If you find it acceptable to ghost candidates, do not be surprised when they do the same to you. In today’s world, if an organization wants great talent, they need to polish the chase and stay humble.

3. Focus on what is important: It is tempting to ask why they intend to leave their current organization, however, it isn’t really important. What is important is to figure if they are the right fit for your organization. If they are, then go ahead. If not now, maybe they will join a few years down the line when they are ready. I was asked this question by every single interviewer in the organization and I was tempted to ask, ‘Do you not speak to one other?’ This question is especially pointless if you are interviewing someone who works in HR. They have the answer down pat. It was a refreshing change when an interviewer did not ask me that question and focused on other aspects.

4. Close the loop: Do not disappear. No matter how frustrating the candidate, silence isn’t the answer. I have personally vowed never to work with recruitment consultants or organizations that disappear without a trace. Just as there are many candidates out in the ocean, there are just as many organizations. Put aside the excuses of too little bandwidth, automated emails and take the effort to provide feedback as to why they did not make the cut. Someday you might want them again and they will remember the ghosting. Just as I am sure, you will never forget a candidate who disappears on you.

Engaging with a job seekers market comes with its highs and lows. There is no greater joy than having a candidate realize that you have the perfect opportunity for them. You do not have to be the biggest bully in town to hire the best, nor do you need to offer the fattest paycheck. What you need is a little humility, discipline and genuine consideration. It is not impossible. I have seen some organizations crack the code. However, they are far and few in between. Can your organization find a name on that list? 

Ankita Poddar is HR professional based out of India. Identified as one of the emerging HR leaders in India in 2016,  Ankita's experience as an HR Business Partner gives her the opportunity to work closely with business leaders, innovate and execute on the behalf of customers especially in areas of people analytics, employee engagement, rewards and recognition and performance management. Ankita blogs about all things HR at Follow her on Twitter @ankitapoddar

Ankita Poddar

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