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5 Best Practices to Close Top Talent in Our Fast Paced Market

Authored By Alaina Lightfoot

“The Great Resignation”, “fast paced market”, “candidate’s market”, you’ve probably heard some version of these challenges voiced frequently in the last few months. For employers with hiring needs, it can seem daunting to find a way to beat the current market circumstances and stay ahead of the competition. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of strategies to help companies get the competitive edge they need to close on top talent.

A Clearly Defined Hiring Process

“Can you tell me more about the hiring process?” This small question that most recruiters hear at the end of an initial conversation can actually have a significant impact on a candidate’s desire to move forward with an organization.

In this fast paced job market, having a clearly defined process that can be communicated easily to candidates is essential. Odds are, the candidate you’re interviewing has anywhere from two to three other active opportunities on the table, and being able to share your interview process can help them manage their timelines, and their expectations.

However, even more critical than having an interview process mapped out prior to starting your search, is having an interview process that is efficient. Taking five to seven conversations to understand if you want to move forward, while your competitor may only need three, is not going to do your search any favors.

Look for places you can consolidate your hiring process. Is it possible to have a panel conversation? Or to combine two half hour interviews into a single one hour time block? Understanding the areas you can shorten your interview process is going to help you get an offer in front of top talent faster than your competitors.

Providing Feedback Within 24 Hours

Yes, even if it’s a candidate you don’t want to move forward with! The reality is, word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool and how you treat candidates throughout your process can make or break your access to top talent. If someone is considering your company but hears from a colleague that they were left in limbo without timely feedback, it’s not likely that they’ll want to throw their own hat in the ring.

Additionally, with the fast pace of the market, companies are finding ways to get candidates feedback sometimes even within the same day! By the time you decide whether or not you’d like to progress that candidate in your process, another company may have put them through the second, third, or even final rounds of theirs. Communicate with your recruiter whether or not you want to move a candidate forward within 24 hours of your initial conversation for the best chance of staying competitive.

Being Transparent About Salary

Odds are, the data on the average salary for this type of role within your company is already available to candidates somewhere online. However, it goes a long way with most job hunters to hear it directly from the company within the initial conversation or even the initial outreach message.

Having transparent conversations around salary goes a long way to establishing trust with a candidate, and can also help mitigate systemic inequality when it comes to pay scales. While a salary isn’t everything, it is a huge part of the decision making process for most candidates, so give them the knowledge they need to start that conversation early and ensure it’ll be a strong fit.

Knowing Your Candidate’s Timeline

While there’s a lot you can do to be proactive in increasing your odds of closing top talent, understanding where they are in their search can make a world of difference. In this case, the tried and true ARPO method can save you a lot of hassle:

  • Activity: How many other companies are candidates speaking with? Are they actively searching or just engaging with opportunities passively?

  • Rank: Where does this opportunity stack up for the candidate against their other options? Why?

  • Process: How far are they in the interview process with these other organizations?

  • Offers: Are they anticipating any offers within the next week or two?

Asking a candidate these simple questions during their initial interview can help establish open lines of communication around the candidate’s timeline. Top talent can afford to be choosy, so being aware of their timeline as well as being able to work around it will go a long way.

Educating Your Recruitment Partner on Your Competitive Edge

Before you conduct a single interview there’s a key piece to this puzzle that we’ve not yet addressed: actually finding top talent.

While there are top candidates out there actively searching, many more will be passively open to opportunities should something interesting present itself. You can do a lot to help your recruiter by giving them the selling points that will really hook a candidate’s interest.

Make sure they understand the ways in which your company stands out from the competition, how you’re disrupting the market (especially if you’re in the tech space), and any other information that makes your company stand out in a market full of “great new opportunities”.

Candidates may be receiving multiple messages every day from recruiters for a range of different roles. What will help your recruitment partner have the best chance of securing that top talent’s interest is to ensure you’ve given them the big picture on why candidates would want to come work for you over anywhere else. After all, at the end of the day we want folks who are passionate about the organization and its goals.

At the heart of things, we have to remember that candidates are looking for a best fit role at a company they’re truly invested in. While we may not win them over every time, understanding what candidates want and need in the current market and being compassionate towards that can make a critical difference. If all else fails, fall back on the golden rule. Thinking about what you would want from a potential employer in a job search can help you build a process that makes top talent grateful you found them.


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