While some industries were faster to recover from the most recent economic downturn than others, there’s little argument that the current state of employment has massively improved across all industries and sectors. However, for many organizations, the problematic reality is that recovery doesn’t necessarily mean that they can return to old standards and ideals. Demand for top talent is soaring, and the rules of the game have shifted significantly. As a result, many are challenged to find better candidates in a competitive market.

Consider this: The national unemployment rate has been hovering at or under 5.0% throughout 2016. This rate is almost at pre-recession levels. However, the average duration of a job vacancy is at 28 days – almost a full week longer than a decade ago, before the downturn hit. In fact, that number is over 47 days in health services and over 42 days in financial services. Furthermore, the most recent BLS data shows an estimated 5.8 million job openings with only 5.3 million hires. Clearly, there’s a major talent gap, leaving companies struggling to fill their open positions with qualified candidates.

The even greater challenge is that many candidates are all too aware of this reality. It’s a candidate‑driven market that gives an advantage to jobseekers across all industries. So how do employers overcome this challenge?

Build a Stronger Employer Brand

When competition for talent is high, there’s no understating just how essential a differentiated employer brand is in attracting that talent. It dictates how potential employees perceive your company, as well as how many potential employees are aware of your company and the opportunities you offer.

Building a strong employee brand requires a holistic approach. It starts with establishing a great place to work for your current employees; a workplace that engages and supports team members and delivers an overall satisfying employee experience. From there, branding your workplace, mission and values across your website, social media profiles, career sites and job descriptions is a must.

Essentially, it’s all about making your company into an enticing place to work and standing apart from your competition. The stronger your employer brand, the more – and better – candidates you’ll attract.

Focus on the Candidate Experience

We recently discussed why candidate experience matters in employee background screening, but it’s absolutely vital throughout the entire application and hiring process as a whole. If there are too many steps in the application process – as opposed to the simple alternative of uploading a resume – it’s likely that potential candidates will fall off half‑way through the process. Or, if their main point of contact throughout the hiring process doesn’t reflect your company’s employer brand, they may end up with a bad (and inaccurate) impression of your organization.

In a candidate-driven market, your hiring process must reflect the needs and preferences of your desired candidate. That means keeping them engaged and informed, while providing a convenient avenue for regular communication.

The candidate experience is about building a relationship with potential employees. If, on the other hand, the candidate feels like their resume is going into a black hole or that they’re just another number, they’re going to be wary about the company that makes them feel that way. Ultimately, a better candidate experience helps companies find better candidates in a competitive market.

Speed Up the Hiring Process

Finally, a faster hiring process is key. Although you don’t want to rush through the steps and end up making a hurried decision, a concise, streamlined process will help you combat competitive offers your best candidates may be facing. This streamlining requires a better resume screening process and a thorough and efficient interview process.

It also means choosing background screening services from a partner who can deliver rapid turnaround times without sacrificing accuracy. In this competitive, candidate-driven market, jobseekers are frequently seeing multiple job offers, and it’s often the company that moves the fastest that will win the competition.

How to Find Better Candidates in a Competitive Market

The short supply of quality candidates is a challenge we see in every market. Finding the skilled people you need takes an innovative approach and the right array of tools and resources. Establishing a stronger employer brand is one strategy; making sure your applicants and candidates feel heard is another. On top of that, ensuring that your hiring process is streamlined is vital.

At easyBackgrounds, we aim to make one of the key factors in your hiring process that much easier. From high volume recruiting to intermittent hiring, our background screening services are superior. Let us know how we can help you today.