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Thriving in the Candidate-centric Era of Recruiting

As any recruiter will already tell you, there is an exciting transformation taking place. New technology tools, better availability of data, and best practices honed over years of painstaking matchmaking have produced a golden age for recruiters – and the most successful ones are finally putting the candidate front and center in the discussion. Particularly in technology and digital fields, candidates are increasingly calling the shots, and they’re a very demanding audience.

A Brief History of Recruiting

Like most technology- and people-oriented professions, recruiting has evolved rapidly over the years. The first era in recruiting featured static job postings and agencies that charged hefty fees to track down candidates. Candidates had little control over the process and often just threw resumes over the wall in the hopes someone was paying attention.

Then came online job boards such as Monster, Indeed and Dice, giving hirers a centralized repository for listings, but producing a lot of noise from unqualified candidates and long review-and-reject cycles. Recruiters often wondered if their role was more of an administrator than a value-added talent acquisition professional.

The third era of candidate sourcing on platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor ushered in a sense of hope for recruiters as they finally had the tools to seek out passive candidates and fine-tune their pursuit of qualified job seekers. Unfortunately, even these next-generation frameworks gave no insight into true candidate intent; they generated spam and produced aggressive recruiting tactics that left prized candidates feeling disenchanted.

Now, the dawn of the candidate-centric model of recruiting is upon us, and it’s transforming the way recruiting professionals and candidates interact, find perfect matches and create a more fulfilling hiring environment for both parties.

Demand for Skilled Workers Is Higher than Ever

The shortage of qualified tech talent today is an ongoing challenge, and the gap is projected to get even worse with a million fewer applicants available for computing jobs by 2020. Tech candidates are feeling the pressure from recruiters, receiving on average one new outreach per day (count ‘em, that’s 365 per year). Recruiters, too, are increasingly overwhelmed, making as many as 80 phone calls a day and sending an average of 13 messages on LinkedIn just to get a phone screen. Both recruiters and candidates deserve better, especially in today’s on-demand business environment where individuals demand personalized attention and instant results.

So What Defines Candidate-centric Recruiting?

The candidate-centric era of recruiting will certainly be a boon for candidates themselves, but it also offers a revolution for recruiters.

Look Beyond Just Qualifications

These days, it’s not enough to simply have the right digital skills and technology qualifications. It’s also about organizational fit. Candidate-centric recruiting demands digging deeper into each candidate’s persona, values, interests and work style. Introducing like-minded employees into your existing workforce contributes to better team chemistry and a workforce focused on the same organizational goals.

Personalize Each Candidate Experience

No one likes receiving a job pitch for a role that misses the mark and seems like spam. The experience should feel like a one-on-one interaction, personalized with proof that you know who the candidate is and what he or she is looking for. Leverage a deeper knowledge of each candidate to customize your messaging, avoid the force-fits, and position your role as a great opportunity for that particular candidate.

Passive Recruiting is Becoming Passé

Passive-style recruiting that popularized LinkedIn has proven to be a time-consuming, unpredictable and hardly-scalable method, and a “candidate” who isn’t actively looking for a new role is a tough nut to crack. The new model of recruiting features a universe of active job seekers with easily identifiable attributes and precision tools to help recruiters dig deep into candidate intent and context of skills to fit the specific role and work environment.

Transparency Means a Fair and Open Process

Market data is now readily available for both recruiters and candidates to see salary benchmarks and market trends to make the negotiation process as transparent as possible. Tech candidates know they’re a hot commodity, so let them know your company is on the right side of compromise.

Know Your Brand

Recruiters who truly understand the nuances of their company’s products, the dynamics of how technology teams operate, and the unique corporate brand that differentiates the company in the marketplace build a better sense of trust with candidates. Tech candidates can see through a bad pitch, so be as prepared as any top salesperson would be. Establishing good rapport with candidates is especially critical for long-term pipeline management.

Candidate-first is the new mantra of today’s top recruiters. Driven by intelligent, automated systems and armed with the right tools and best practices, recruiters can improve quality of hire and thrive in this challenging era.