For Hiring Managers across Australia, it's been a topsy turvy 12 months, to say the very least. They have gone from having very few available roles with an abundance of talent in the market in March 2020 when the pandemic hit, before seeing things start to pick up towards the back end of the year. So queue January 2021— new budgets were approved, candidates were keen for a new challenge, and the nation looked as though we had come through the worst of the COVID and lockdown induced turmoil. Suffice to say, over the last few months — as the shark-like recruiting feeding frenzy continued — the healthy pool of available candidates has started to dwindle.
What we are left with is a very different looking market with many candidates now in long term engagements, and those still actively looking are considering multiple options and being presented new ones every day.
So where the !@#$ are all the candidates? And how did we slip into a Talent-short market seemingly overnight?
To understand ways of combating the difficulties of a candidate short market, we first have to understand what factors are causing this effect and what we can do to work around them.
Let’s identify a few problems and some tips to keep yourself ahead of the game:
Working Holiday Blues
The number of Temporary Work visa holders (i.e. Working Holidays) currently coming to Australia is down 98.6% compared to this time 2 years ago. We've gone from almost 20k people per month to just over 200... Let that sink in!
This means that short-term and freelance talent pools have taken a significant hit, making it very difficult to manage overflow work requirements, sickness or personal leave requests.
What can we do?
This, unfortunately, looks like a problem that will not be easily solved. Mainly because of the uncertainty surrounding border closures worldwide. However, we can begin to work around this issue by strategic planning, forward-thinking, and maintaining solid relationships. If you are struggling to cover short term contracts, perhaps now would be a great way to upskill your current employees.
There are plenty of free training resources online (For example, Aquent Gymnasium) that could take a print graphic designer to an all-encompassing digital and motion designer.
Investing in your people now will go some way in allowing you and your organisation to react better to short term needs or issues that arise.
“It’s not you….It’s me.”
That statement is one thing every hiring manager and recruiter has heard at one time or another in their life. Recently, however, that conversation is becoming more and more frequent as candidates weigh up multiple opportunities. The recruitment process becomes similar to the hit tv show Storage Hunters, as recruiters stand around shouting offers and counteroffers, bids and counter bids at the wild-eyed candidate who can’t believe their luck.
Inevitably there can only be one winner and one role the candidate truly wishes to pursue. So how do you stand out in the crowd?
What can we do?
In a talent short market, relationships with potential candidates will become increasingly key to inspiring loyalty and being successful. Now, this doesn’t mean just be super friendly when you talk to the candidate initially and hope that carries you through a 4 - 6 week recruitment process.
Providing constructive feedback, having difficult conversations when needed, giving resume or portfolio advice and most importantly, following through on your promises or commitments — this is a sure-fire way to win the respect of your candidate!
Once you’ve built that relationship and the candidate is interested to hear more, you then have to come up with the goods and put exciting opportunities in front of them. Again this is all about the personal touch and showing why this role in particular is the best match for their skills as opposed to throwing 5 different job descriptions against the wall and hoping one sticks. Understand where your candidates can add value to this role, what challenges it will present them and the benefits available to them should they choose your role and present this to them.
In a world where active candidates on SEEK or LinkedIn are receiving a number of different brightly coloured and personalised introduction messages each day, it is important to consider your methods of attracting candidates instead of just generating them. LinkedIn Recruiter and other search tools can only take you so far, and while candidate generation for internal and external recruiters is our bread and butter, attracting candidates to you can be far more difficult.
When you post a job to LinkedIn or SEEK, you are then inundated by 30 - 40 resumes within a couple of days. You then have to wade through the inevitable sea of unqualified or unsuitable chancers in the hopes of digging out one or two good resumes, only to find out these candidates have applied to every job from Randwick to Devonport. Sound familiar?
What can we do?
In order to attract the right candidates, there are a number of different things you can do. You need to be engaging with people across your social network (LinkedIn, Twitter) regularly. Try mixing in a few things to build your personal brand. Videos are great as you can show a bit of personality, writing blog posts is also an excellent way to show you have your finger on the sector’s pulse.
The key here is consistency and variety — sharing and producing great content regularly will build anticipation and help your profile stand out, thus leading to better candidate engagement when you do share a job post. One thing is for sure, the monotonous posting of jobs has to stop!