Why you’re missing out on great candidates

Are you missing out on great talent? Let’s take a look at why that might be happening.

You’re not the only one. It’s a candidate’s market, and that means workers in many jobs and sectors can pretty much have their pick of who they want to work for and on what terms. This means you have to bring your A Game. When everyone is after the same thing, obviously is it going to go to the people who have best positioned themselves to get it.

Why don’t people want to work for you?

There’s usually a finite number of reasons people will decide they don’t want to work for you that come down to not enough pay or perks and a bad candidate experience. These individual factors might mean different things to different people, but, ultimately, it’s about offering more of what people want than the other guys.

Raymond George Consultancy took a poll on our LinkedIn page asking “Why are companies losing out on great candidates?” The top answers were neck in neck and all of equal importance. These were:

Lack of hybrid/ remote work options — 30%
Low compensation — 30%
Delays in the hiring process — 31%

Most of us already know that candidates want remote work and better pay but companies still aren’t offering them. Why? Fear and habit. But these are fears you should get over and habits you need to get out of if you want to be competitive. Let’s look at each factor individually:

Lack of hybrid/ remote work options

A Microsoft survey conducted in early 2022 found that about 50% of leaders say their company already requires or is planning to require employees to return to in-person work full time in the next year. This is in sharp contrast to what people want, which is the flexibility to work remotely. Elise Freedman, a workforce transformation practice leader at Korn Ferry, told CNBC, “The companies who push for a full return-to-office could see serious ramifications if they don’t offer employees the kind of flexibility and environment they’re asking for … they’ll just leave.” Or not accept your offer.

Employers need to understand that, for many, the perks of working from home far outweigh your arguments against it. Commuting can take hours out of someone’s day and gas prices are out of this world (right now, anyway). Going into the workplace literally costs people. It also interferes with work-life balance and time with family. Many of us work in a global economy, across countries and time zones, and there is little to no reason to adhere to the 9-5 model anymore. In fact, it actually may work against you, since some studies suggest that people working from home are putting in more hours than when they worked on site, rather than fewer.

Managers like the idea of having people in the office so they can keep tabs on them, often arguing that they need to build a workplace “culture.” But, if, at the end of the day, the result is resentment, that’s counterproductive. This doesn’t mean you have to have a 100% remote working model, but it does mean you have to pay attention and try to work with what candidates want.

If 50% of companies are requiring people to work in office, it’s the other 50% that will win the war for the best talent.

Low compensation

It’s a mistake to think that paying your employees less than what they want or need is going to save you money. Paying people well is a key driver of success. Not only does it attract more and better candidates, it increases retention and loyalty. People who feel underpaid and unappreciated are always going to be looking for something better and, when they find it, companies have to fill their roles, which drives up costs. According to Manulife Financial senior strategist Stacey Grant-Thompson, replacing employees can cost as much as 40% of their annual salaries. Using the average Canadian salary of around $54,600 CAD as a benchmark, that adds up to about $21,840 CAD per person. In the UK, where the average salary is around £25,970, the cost would be  £10,388.

Expenses associated with turnover include “the cost of lost business in terms of disruption when an employee leaves; a loss in terms of training; the departure costs themselves; disruption to productivity; and the expense of hiring new people.”

Paying people well can increase profitability. During the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses froze or cut salaries while others, like Greek yoghurt manufacturer Chobani, chose to raise wages instead. According to Randstad, Chobani’s profits went up.

It’s also important to realize that we have to treat people well as well as pay them well. A high salary doesn’t make up for an abusive boss or bad employee experience. But when we pay people well and treat them well, they’re motivated to do their best, and that benefits everyone.

Delays in the hiring process

You can’t expect candidates to wait around for you forever. According to the Harvard Business Review, the average time-to-hire includes multiple interviews and takes around 43 days, but 62% of workers lose interest two weeks after an initial interview if they haven’t heard back.

A separate survey found that nearly 25% of candidates lose interest if they get no answer within a week after the interview while 46% of candidates lose interest with no status update from one to two weeks after the interview, for a total of 71%. Candidates expect the hiring process to wrap up quickly after one or two interviews.

This is a serious disconnect. If someone is looking for a job, given the choice, they’re not going to wait for a month and a half. You should not need six rounds of interviews to determine whether someone is a good fit for your organization.

Ways to speed up the hiring process include being clear about what you are looking for right out of the gate and ensuring that the senior team is aligned on the end goal, creating a great job description, being flexible about conducting virtual interviews, having an existing talent pipeline in place from which to draw, and having the best recruiters working for you.

Your recruiting talent will be the difference between landing the talent you want and missing out. To attract talent, offer people what they want, including remote work options and competitive pay, and reduce your time to hire. These three things will make a big difference.

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