Job Hunters are the New Consumers: How Recruiters Can Cope with a Changing Talent Landscape

What’s that line, “change is inevitable,” right? Well that change has come to the recruiting world in a big way, and as recruiters, it’s up to you to work with these changes and keep the talent pipeline into your company open, and flowing.

Below you’ll find a combination of things we feel you should be aware of, the kind of information you’ll want in the back of your head as you prepare your next job listing or awareness marketing campaign, mixed in with concrete suggestions for ways you can thrive in the changing talent landscape.

It’s a candidate’s market out there.

This isn’t hyperbole, there are currently more openings than there are candidates to fill them. This is only the second time in 20 years when this has been the case (and last time the internet was still in its infancy and not nearly as useful as it is today).

People are leaving their current roles, often without having something lined up, in record numbers as well. These folks know the situation with openings per candidate and are confident they’ll find a new role in short order. The trick here is to position your company and the roles you have available in front of these job seekers while they’re still employed, meaning they’re in the passive job seeker phase.

That way, when they do pull the plug on their current position, they’ll seek you out to inquire about openings, rather than you needing to track them down via outreach or scouring job boards. Remember, in this market it’s on you, the recruiter, to keep your company profile in the spotlight in order to get your seats filled with quality applicants.

Keep your EVP in the spotlight.

This is the concrete advice to follow up on the general info presented above. The way to ensure these passive job seekers keep your company in mind is to keep your employee value proposition in front of them as much as possible, without being intrusive, of course.

With so many candidates to choose from, often with nearly identical technical resumes, recruiters need to focus on the ‘soft’ side of the page. By looking at how a candidate fits with your company culture, how they react to your employer brand, and how they take to your employee value proposition are the new yardstick to measure quality by.

The first, and potentially most important, step is to keep up your awareness campaigns. Let them know how much you love your job and your company by being authentically engaging on social media, and when they’re ready to move, they’ll seek you out!

And the numbers back up this strategy. According to a Glassdoor survey, the top 10 reasons gen Z list for liking their company are all EVP related (the respondents used phrases like “work environment,” “flexible hours” and “good pay” in describing what they love). Seeing as how this is the largest cohort you’re going to be recruiting in the next 5-10 years, it pays to focus some energy here. And speaking of Generation Z…

You need to understand Gen Z and their needs/wants.

This is the biggest cohort to enter the job market over the coming years, so it will pay dividends to get to know them now. The top things to know this generation:

They’re mobile, so you need to be too

They move quickly, and once they make up their minds, they act

They crave the human touch when interacting with companies

What does this mean for your recruitment marketing efforts? Several things, actually. First, it means you need a solid presence on social media, as well as a good mobile aspect to your company website (onsite job listings, etc). It means you need to be sure your intake/interview process is streamlined, according to a survey conducted by Robert Half International, nearly a full quarter of applicants said they lose interest in a company if they don’t hear anything regarding next steps in under a week.

It also means that it’s time to rethink your use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in your screening process. Since a lot of people in this cohort have technical resumes that more or less match, it’s difficult to sort them by algorithm. You need to get a feel for how they’ll match up with your company culture, and culture is something that AI just can’t do well.

This doesn’t mean ditch it, don’t misunderstand, it simply means maybe rethink how and where you use it. Consider a chatbot on your listing pages (as but one possibility). This way you can see how the candidate responds to questions and interacts with your bot, before committing the time and energy to talking to them person-to-person.

Broaden your search parameters.

Bearing in mind the ratio of openings to candidates again, it may be time to re-expand parameters that in recent years have been narrowed to cull the herd a bit. Many companies are finding, with the increases in online education options (such as MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Classes), they need to cut requirements for higher education as this no longer indicates a candidate with a better skill set.

As an aside, many companies in certain states are also finding they need to cut drug testing, as Marijuana is now legal in 10 of the most populous states.

It can also help to limit the number of times a candidate is required to come in and meet with yet more people. Overly long intake processes can easily frustrate applicants, leading to them walking down the street to an employer who will make than offer on site.

Study your competition, then differentiate yourself.

This one starts with knowing the basics, like compensation, and goes all the way to getting to know their EVP in greater detail. Follow them on social media to see what they’re advertising in the way of an employer brand. See how they interact with their audience. Maybe take what you find and advocate for updates to your companies compensation packages so you not only stay competitive, but shine in comparison!

With the talent market as crowded as it is today, you need to be vigilant with your awareness campaigns, your engagement with your audience on social media, and with updating your own EVP in order to stand out from the pack. You want the quality candidates to come knocking on your door when they’re looking to make a move, not your competitors.

Tarina Pop, is Head of Recruitment Marketing at SmartDreamers (, a recruitment marketing automation platform that helps companies engage with candidates across the web, powering up their employer brands and building brand gravity in the process. SmartDreamers was founded in 2014 and currently operates in Europe, the US and the APAC region.  


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