Recruiting in a Candidate Short Market – what you need to do differently for success

Ange Connor

There are not many businesses who enjoy recruiting. In the majority of cases recruiting means someone has left the business and you need to replace a person in your business. Recruiting is perceived to be time consuming, distracting from day to day business, costly from a down time, advertising and time perspective. Not to mention how much harder it becomes when you are in a candidate short, job rich market place as we currently are in Ballarat. Candidates are currently in short supply. It’s hard to find a candidate to meet 75% of your job brief, let alone meet 100% of the criteria. It’s also a job rich market place. This means that when you do find your ideal candidate they often have choices and are considering other options which leaves you competing to win that candidate to fill your vacancy.

This is exactly what is happening in Ballarat at present (and many other locations as well). We are experiencing a candidate short, job rich market place. Candidates are in high demand, they are hard to find and they have choice (multiple job offers) which often means salaries are driven up. Recruiting in a candidate short job rich market requires you to approach recruiting a little differently.

What should you be doing differently?

  • Utilising different avenues for sourcing and attracting candidates

In a candidate short market, simply placing an advert on an online jobs board or in the news paper or on your Facebook page is going to be less successful. Tapping in to the passive candidate market will be crucial for recruiting success. You are going to need to go out and drive applications in not sit back and wait for them to come flooding in because it just won’t happen. Think head hunting, using your networks and referrals; more targeted sourcing strategies.


  • A powerful WIIFM

If you are going to capture the attention of the passive candidate market you are going to need to focus more on the WIIFM (for the candidate). You’ll need to emphasise the benefits you offer, your company culture, the career growth and development opportunities; basically what sets the role and the business apart from where they are currently working. To do this you first need to know what motivates the candidate. This is definitely not just about paying a higher salary, if that’s all you focus on it will be hard to win the war on talent.


  • Be ready to move quickly

I have blogged a lot over the years about how top talent won’t wait and this becomes even more critical in a candidate short market. When you do find top talent, conduct a rigorous recruitment process however don’t let the recruitment process get delayed or paused because you get busy with doing business. Top talent will be snapped up and you’ll be back to square one. This also applies to wanting to interview other top talent as a comparison. I am regularly asked by clients about presenting a short list of three plus candidates. In a candidate short market that is not always going to be possible, unless you simply want to add a couple of names to the short list simply for the sake of it. In a candidate short market you may not get the opportunity to compare talent. What to do? Make sure you have clarity on the skills, experience, qualifications and attributes you want and then assess your one candidate against that and see how they score. They either meet your needs or they don’t.


  • Be Patient

One of the key challenges of recruiting in a candidate short market can be the time to fill your vacancy. Because the applications aren’t flooding in from your advertising, the time to recruit can take longer. It takes a longer period of time to identify the talent you want in the market place and to start engaging them in the opportunity. It’s easy to say be patient but when you have a gap in your business because someone has left it can put a lot of pressure on the business and your other team members. If it is going to take you a little longer to find the right talent it may be worth considering other short term options to cover the gap. This might include bringing in a temp. While a temp might not be able to cover the role in its entirety they might be able to take off some of the pressure to get you through.

Recruiting in a candidate short job rich market is not impossible; it simply requires a different strategy and game plan. Rolling out the traditional or taking the status quo approach is probably not going to give you the success that you want so be prepared to think a little differently.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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