Back at the beginning of 2015, Martin Ellis, our Headhunter, wrote about the changes in the job market. At the time, he predicted that candidates would have the upper hand in an industry lacking skilled candidates. We can see this being more and more the case, as he explained in his blog:

  • “Many candidates now have employment choices – especially the good ones – so if you get the sense that somebody is good, don’t dither. Show some eagerness and zip and make the offer as soon as you dare. It’ll make you look decisive (and let’s face it, that impresses most people) and you’ll get your nose in first.
  • Employers are now regarding staff (especially sales staff) as an investment, rather than a cost. The change of mind-set is driving more companies to take on more people in the confidence it’ll pay off. What was once caution is now almost (but not quite) reckless largesse.
  • Current employers are now being far more protective about keeping their existing staff. In the last six years I’ve not experienced one counter-offer to an employee who’s handed in their notice – that’s now happened 8 times in the last 5 months. The “best” counter offer I’ve seen was one employer offer a warehouse worker an increase of £7,000 on a basic of £15,000 just to avoid the disruption their leaving would cause.
  • Candidates are being far more careful over their terms and conditions. Until recently, you couldn’t see candidates for dust to sign any offer letter that landed on their door mat, but now they’re reading them, and asking questions – and not just about money – pensions, healthcare, holiday entitlement and working hours are all getting a thorough going-over.
If you’re an employer, you may not have spotted these changes because you’re not recruiting every day. But trust me (honest guv, the cheque’s in the post and I’ll love you in the morning) it’s happening. You’ve got to be ready for this:
  • If you’re going to second interview, do it quickly. Wait 2 weeks and the trail will have gone cold. You’ll have to start again.
  • Be more open to transferable skills. Where you could be very fussy about skills and experience, it now doesn’t apply so much. If you have got somebody good who can add real value to your organisation, grab them with both hands. But don’t rush to employ a fool – any idiot can do that.
  • Get your written offer ready in advance. And make sure it’s one that hangs together in more than just basic salary, and also make sure your offer stands up in today’s competitive market. It will get dug over, so be ready for it.
Overall, salaries aren’t increasing at the same rate of the labour market, but in my recent experience, that’s masking some moving trends, especially in customer-facing roles. Don’t get caught out making an offer that’s too low as you won’t get a second chance.From my perspective, in recent years employers have got used to taking their time over recruitment decisions. It was an understandable luxury, but the market has changed, and you have got to respond.Speed is of the essence.”

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