Employers Now Competing for Employees

By Gerald Walsh ©

Not long ago, candidates competed with one another for jobs. Now employers compete with other employers for good candidates.

A case in point: Recently, we conducted two searches for senior financial professionals for a client. After a two-month search, the company made highly competitive offers to two early-career, high potential individuals. Only after these offers were made did we discover that both of these individuals were considering competing job offers from other companies. It shouldn’t have surprised anybody: it happens all the time.

What our client did to get these candidates to accept their offer in the end was impressive.

First, they sought to understand the situation from the candidates’ perspective. Not once did they adopt a “take or leave it” attitude about their job offer. Instead, they met face-to-face with each individual to develop a clear understanding of what motivated each one. Through these discussions, they discovered two things:

First, they discovered that compensation was not a major factor in the decision. These candidates, like many other individuals their age, view money as important although not at the top of their list when considering job offers. Although in the end our client sweetened the pot and increased the offer by a couple of thousand dollars, acceptance of the offers was not based on money.

Second, they discovered that the key concern each individual had revolved around their own career development. Specifically, they were concerned about how they would develop new skills and experiences that would boost their careers over the long term.

Armed with this knowledge, our client was then able to map out for them what a probable career path would look like for the next three years. They spoke of new learning, added job responsibilities, training opportunities, and anticipated promotions. As both individuals were still early in their careers, this type of information was invaluable to them in their own decision-making.

The final thing our client did, which was very impressive, was that they really wanted the candidates to join their company. And they showed it! They displayed interest, sincerity and enthusiasm toward the candidates. As they were having these discussions, they met after-hours, in coffee shops near the candidates’ homes, instead of having the candidate go to their offices. They did a series of small things that showed big interest. Just like employers want candidates to demonstrate that they “want the job” so too do candidates want to work for “employers who want them.”

In the end, their strategy worked. Both candidates accepted their offer and joined the company.

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Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and writer. During a 25+ year career, he has interviewed more than 10,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @@Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn