Valuable Tips for Hiring Managers in a Tight Job Market

Recruiting is a frustrating business - especially in a tight job market. As far as hiring is concerned, we’re in a seller’s market. In many cases, candidates can afford to be choosy.   Skilled employees are in big demand, so hiring managers need to remember: it’s not just about candidates trying to sell themselves to you.  You need to sell yourself – and your company – to them.

Don’t drag your heels

Hiring a new employee can be a complicated process.  Often there are multiple people involved in the decision, each with their own agenda.  And these are busy people who have to make time in their schedules for interviewing.  

The hiring process can get drawn out for weeks - or longer - with many rounds of interviews, especially if there are multiple candidates in the process.  Don’t let this happen. Or at least minimize it as much as possible.   Encourage the interviewers to make interviewing and hiring quickly a priority - be frank with them.  If the candidates are strong – and you wouldn’t be considering them if they weren’t! – they will have other irons in the fire. You risk losing them when the process drags on.

Be in touch with market demands

Hiring Managers and HR people negotiating salaries with candidates have to understand that there is high demand  in the market at many levels right now for candidates with specialized experience. So you must adjust accordingly.

If you want to make a terrific hire, money talks. Yes, job fulfillment is an important part of the candidate’s decision, but candidates know that making a job change is one of the few times they have the chance to negotiate a significant pay raise. It doesn’t happen as easily once they’ve joined the company. They’re going to strike while the iron’s hot.  

Pay up

With that in mind, hiring managers should crunch numbers and consider inflation as well as the tight hiring market.  If you are currently paying someone $120K – and that salary was set when the person was hired two years ago - and you want/need to replace them, their replacement is probably making at least that salary now (or more if they’re particularly good).

If they’re going to make a move, these new candidates will want a bump up from $120K – a significant one.  And strong contenders are in demand.  So the reality is….if you’re replacing an employee with a great new hire, you’re going to have to ante up.

Keep in touch

Throughout this process, busy hiring managers typically only get in touch with the candidates - or the recruiter who’s working on the search and dealing directly with the candidates - when there is something to tell. If the hiring process drags out often that means there are long gaps with no candidate contact – even with the front runners.  

This is a mistake. Even though you’re busy, keep in touch - or ensure the recruiter is keeping in touch - even if it’s just a quick note to remind the candidates of your interest.  You need to do some wooing – treat them like they matter or they’ll be be the ones who lose interest.  

Consider changing it up

With so much work being done by computer these days, hiring managers should consider allowing new recruits (as well as current employees) to work remotely. Working in sweatpants in the comfort of a home office can be very appealing to some candidates - even if it’s just one or two days a week. It could even be a deal-breaker with some offers.  

Admittedly this can be a challenge depending on the needs of the job, but chances are some of the work can be done off-site.  Some bosses are loathe to relinquish the control of overseeing their employees, but, typically, employees will turn it up a notch to prove to their boss that  working from home does work.  Also, a lot of productivity can be lost on the commute.  Some of that time could be spent getting more work done from home - which inevitably will benefit the manager in charge.


If working from home is just not possible, at least consider flexible hours for people whose rush hour commute threatens to push them to the edge of insanity.  Or for those working around kids’ schedules.  Or those just wanting to improve the “life” part of their work/life balance.

It’s a process

Hiring managers need to remember that getting a great candidate is a two-way street. You need to show candidates that you’re a progressive and open-minded company.  Any one - or several - of these key  factors could be just the tipping point (s) you need to weigh the scale in your favour.

For related articles see below.

Susan Rogers Executive Recruitment provides search and recruitment services to connect companies with top Communications, Public Relations and Public Affairs experts.

Image by Amy Hirsch:

Don't miss these other posts: