As the unemployment rate holds steady at 5%, twice as many employers are trying to fill jobs and there is a lack of qualified candidates applying. We are working in a candidate-driven market where companies are finding it more difficult to fill certain critical roles. Attracting the right talent to fill positions has become problematic. In this kind of talent market, candidates can be more selective about the companies they work for, their salary demands, and more. Top performers are rejecting job offers more and more frequently. When candidates hold more power, companies need to adjust their hiring practices if they are to fill their open positions quickly and effectively.

A company’s approach to recruiting is more crucial than ever. Most candidates are aware of their high demand in the market. Clients are looking for the best fit, but are taking too long in the hiring process to make a decision. Then again, even when an offer is made it is commonly not in line with the candidate’s needs and expectations. In this market, candidates have the upper hand and they know it. Applicants with desirable skill sets and experience are able to be picky when deciding who they choose to work for. Candidates are expecting more from companies they are applying to; from their interviewing experience to the employee package offered.

So what can a hiring committee do to combat this problem?

Focus on the approach. The recruiting process has become more than screening a copious amount of resumes and candidates; it now involves hunting for the first-rate candidate. Transparency is key to a successful hiring strategy. Ensuring realistic expectations about the hiring timeline and what the interview process entails provides the support a candidate is looking for. Transparency creates trust and respect between the recruiter and the candidate.

Be ready to compete. About 30% of the time, when a candidate turns down an offer, it is because of money and benefits. Companies must be more competitive when it comes to compensation packages as well.  The reluctance of many companies to offer competitive salaries to potential hires is impacting their hiring abilities.

Consider the timeline. The rate at which top performers are rejecting job offers continues to grow. Even when an offer is extended quickly, 37% of rejections are because the candidate has accepted another job. While it is crucial to hire the best person possible for the job, it is important to remember that right applicant for your company is probably also the right candidate for a competitor.

Think about using external recruiting sources. Companies are feeling the pressure of the candidate-driven market. Competition is fierce for the top-notch candidates. Outsourcing recruitment efforts can help attract and retain the specific talent and leadership needed. Recruiters focus directly on specific

in-demand positions, allowing them to address all the details and produce qualified candidates faster. Recruiters that focus on niche fields are also more likely to have a more developed pipeline of candidates that are readily accessible which can ease and hasten the hiring process.