If you stop to think about it, the hiring process is a lot like dating. At a job interview everyone dresses to impress the other person. The initial greeting is met with nerves and uncertainty before you both sit down together. You each take turns asking the other thoughtful questions about themselves while hoping the other person is interested in what you have to say. After the interview, there is that period of time where both sides wonder if they should call the other and how long to wait before making contact.
As the employer, you may find that one candidate you really do like and are ready to take the next big step. With great excitement you call the candidate hoping they like you just as much as you like them.
Then it happens. Rejection.
Your job applicant wants to break up with you.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, current unemployment rates as of November 2014 are at 5.8 percent. This is the lowest unemployment rate in the United States since July 2008. Statistics also show employers are taking longer to fill open positions with the average amount of time around 25 days. This year marks the longest lag in hiring times by employers since 2001.
So what does this mean for your company? With a stronger job market and employers taking longer to make hiring decisions, job seekers now have an advantage. Applicants now have the ability to turn down good offers because they have an even better one waiting in the wings.
If you place the hiring process back into the context of dating, what can companies do to find “The One”? The first thing companies need to do when hiring in a tight job market is to highlight the perks of their organization. Use these perks as a selling point for your company, just as you would highlight your best characteristics on a date. Do you offer on-site childcare, a fitness center at your facility or better benefits than a competitor? Even small perks such as free snacks in the break room will stand out in the minds of job applicants who are faced with a choice between job offers.
Employers also need to recognize that in the current job market an interview is not one-sided. The start to a good relationship requires mutual interest of both parties. “A company has to keep in mind when interviewing a candidate, that the candidate is also interviewing the company. Job seekers want to see if this is a place they really want to work and to have a career,” said Drake & Company Account Executive Lynette Peck.
As job seekers now find themselves with multiple job offers to choose from, it likens itself to deciding who to take the next step with when dating multiple people. If an applicant has more than one offer, they may not even try to negotiate with potential employers for something better. Make your first offer, your strongest offer in order to put yourself in the forefront of an applicant’s mind. Another important factor to consider is to make a decision quickly. A job applicant with multiple offers probably won’t wait around for your company to decide between candidates.
The key takeaway for companies hiring in the current job market is to court potential candidates. With other employment opportunities available to applicants, it is important to demonstrate why your company is the best choice in a tight market. Show off your perks, offer strong benefits and aggressive compensation package, and be eager to take the next step with candidate you think is “The One” in order to build a strong relationship right from the start.
Stephanie Beirne Leuer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can connect with Stephanie by email, and you can find Drake & Company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.