Swooping on Candidates

by Peg Bogema

The pandemic had a chilling effect on hiring in many industries. Even hiring for computer professionals went on a pause. But since about February 2021, hiring has come roaring back.

Hiring top technical talent prior to the pandemic wasn't any picnic. Great for candidates, but extremely challenging for companies.

Let's consider how the tight labor market impacts hiring.

First, post a job advertisement and see what happens. Not much. So just attracting candidates to your job can be challenging.

When you do attract candidates to your job, whether through a job advertisement or through a referral by one of your team members, they typically come to you with other irons in the fire. If your process doesn't move along quickly, you will experience candidate attrition. They get offers—offers that come with expiration dates—and they accept them (on the theory that the offer in the hand is worth two in the bush).

And then, if by some miracle you can get a candidate through your process before he or she accepts an offer, by the time you extend your own offer you are in a competitive bidding situation. Your A candidate is the A candidate for two other companies, each of which has extended an offer. As a result your A candidate can make side by side comparisons between salary, health care benefits, paid time off, etc.

This puts wage pressure on you, because if you want to hire your A candidate, you may have to raise the offer you extended to compete with the other offers that are on the table. But raising the wage for this candidate will put pressure on you to raise wages across your entire team—or at least amongst this new candidate's peers.

Most companies have not reconciled themselves to this wage pressure. I can guarantee you that if the talent market continues to be so tight, they will. Because if they don't, their teams will crumble person by person by person. Top technical talent would be foolish not to parlay this labor market into a career move, whether for improved wages or for a step up in title and seniority.

There is one simple piece of advice that Stout Systems gives its customers in times like these: when you find candidates you like, swoop on them.

The best position to be in is extending the first and only offer to a candidate. And then putting a very short expiration date on that offer. A good job opportunity with a good compensation package for a good company is tough to argue with. If you are the first and only company to present such a proposition to a candidate, you have a great chance that the candidate will accept. Why not?!

The more time you allow to lapse, the more likely it is that the candidate will accept an offer elsewhere or will have multiple offers to consider.

So short circuit as many of these ripple effects as you can by swooping on good candidates.

And don't hesitate to reach out to Stout Systems if you would like help finding great candidates. It's not easy, but we are finding them!

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