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How To Attract the Best Job Candidates in the Post-Pandemic World

Dive In
  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Bromstein

But candidates and their needs have changed over the past year. Here’s how to attract the best job candidates in the post-pandemic world.

The workforce is in a state of flux all over North America.

A lot is being made lately of companies in all industries being unable to find qualified job applicants. And, not only can’t employers find workers, people are quitting their jobs in droves, in what the media has dubbed “the great resignation.” A record four million people in the U.S. quit their jobs in April, and according to one survey, an incredible 95% of workers are currently considering changing jobs, and 92% would be willing to switch industries to find the right position.

Is there a disconnect between the volume of available candidates and the claims that companies just can’t find good employees? Perhaps. One thing we do know is that there has possibly never been a better potential pool of candidates from which to choose.

But candidates and their needs have changed over the past year. People have realized that life is too short to be working long hours for too little money and suffering through terrible commutes for companies that could just lay them off any minute. And as we (hopefully) emerge from the pandemic lockdowns for good and the economy reopens, they’re not going to put up with it anymore.

Here are five things you can do to attract the best job candidates now — and always.

Pay people more

Too many companies ask too much of their employees and want senior-level skills for entry level wages. Employees are getting wise to this ridiculousness and are demonstrating that they have had enough. Some are blaming COVID relief benefits for people’s newfound resistance to working for less than a livable wage, but the flipside of this, as we’ve heard again and again, is that if employers just paid this living wage, that might very well fix the problem. Find a way to restructure your budgets so you can afford to properly pay the people you need to do the jobs.

Give employment guarantees

People are tired of living under the threat of layoffs. Companies like to complain that young people are always job hopping and will jump ship at a moment’s notice, but why should they be loyal when their employers aren’t? In this Forbes article, Phillip Braun, a clinical professor of finance at Kellogg School of Management, suggests offering employment guarantees. “Giving no-layoff guarantees to employees, perhaps after a probation period, would increase engagement and reduce mistrust,” he writes.

Offer opportunities for advancement

A few years ago, I conducted a survey asking people, “All things being equal when it comes to salary, benefits, and location, what do you consider most important when evaluating a new position?” The most popular response was “opportunities for advancement.” People are looking for positions that allow them to grow their careers, but further research found that 88% of people have to change companies in order to move up the ladder and that a vast majority of companies will look for outside candidates before promoting from within. Nobody wants to feel that they have nowhere to advance. Offer opportunities for advancement or you will miss out on candidates and lose your existing employees.

Allow employees to work when and where they like

A flexible work policy is no longer a nice to have. It’s a necessity. For years, Canadians have butted heads with bosses over remote work while they have told us that our jobs simply cannot be done remotely. But the pandemic has proven this to be a lie in a wide range of industries. Not everyone is going to want to continue working remotely but surveys are consistently finding that, for those who do, it will be a dealbreaker. Moreover, there’s often no need to insist on specific working hours. As long as the work gets done, what do you care? If your company does not absolutely require onsite work (like construction or food service), relinquish some of that imagined control.

Improve your candidate experience

When you provide a simple and positive candidate experience, you get more and better applications. This means not making unreasonable demands in your job postings or making people jump through so many hoops that they give up. It means not ghosting and being clear about requirements and where you’re at throughout the process. Companies don’t seem to realize that not only will candidates abandon a negative process, they’ll tell their friends about it, often loudly on social media which negatively impacts your employer brand. And when people hear that your candidate experience is bad, they’ll stay away. Treat others how you want to be treated and you’ll see benefits.

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