How to Stand Out in a Candidate-Driven Labor Market

Stand Out in CrowdAccording to a Global Recruiting Trends Survey, “The ‘best’ candidates are hired within their first ten days in the job market.” For every qualified candidate who’s searching, there are multiple positions open, and the gap between skilled candidates and client needs grows wider every day. Recruiters are discovering an increasing need to seek passive candidates, and thriving in this kind of market requires savvy, diligence, strategy, and hard work.


Set aside time to know your clients

In order to sell a company to a candidate, you have to believe in the company. Make sure you can explain, in detail, why the talent you are pursuing should choose this particular client. To do this, you must be intimately familiar with the essential information about your client. Educate yourself well enough to be able to answer the following questions about each client:

  • What makes their company an ideal place to work?
  • How do they “live out” their mission statement as a company? Their goals? Their values?
  • Do compensation, benefits, flexibility, and employee referral programs hold up to industry averages?
  • Do they value personal and professional growth?
  • Are they service minded? How do they “give back” to their community?

Know your candidates

Candidates are looking for recruiters who take the time to listen – to gain a clear picture of who they are and what they want in a position. Build the candidate’s confidence in your abilities by showing that you value and understand them. Learning who a candidate is begins before you first make contact, manifests itself in your approach, and continues throughout your professional relationship.


  1. Learn as much as you can about a potential candidate before you contact them.
  • Use LinkedIn to identify patterns. Where are they working now? Where did they work in the past? Have they consistently worked for the same type of company? Have they made a significant career change?
  • Research their social media What does their activity on social meida convey? What types of forums draw their participation? Is their input serious, humorous, formal or informal? Don’t make sweeping judgments, but you can gain significant insight on a candidate from their social media presence.


  1. Personalize your approach. Skip the generic template and speak to the person behind the resume.
  • Be personable – invite relationship. Show the candidate that that they matter as an individual, not just as potential talent. Place value on more than their education, skills, and experiences. Listen to their career goals and dreams. What work cultural fits their unique professional personality? What are the three things that matter most to them professionally?
  • Be willing to share yourself. In order to truly build a relationship, you must also be vulnerable and personable. Connect and then build on your connection.
  • Be clear, concise, and transparent about the position you are trying to fill. Share the great and the not-so-great aspects about a company. Candidates are fully aware that no company is perfect and want to make a decision based on the whole picture. Making the company sound like a magical land where nothing ever goes wrong is a quick way to lose the candidate’s trust and confidence.
  • Respect your candidates’ current employment. Be willing to work around their schedule.Respond promptly to your candidate’s questions, feedback, etc.


  1. Communicate. Communicate. Responsive, transparent communication ensures a positive candidate experience, which will help you build an ongoing relationship. If you get communication wrong, another rectuiter is likely waiting in the wings to scoop up your candidate.
  • Use the communication channels that the candidate prefers. While different generations tend to have different preferences, don’t fall into the “stereotype trap.” Take the time to find out each individuals’ preferred method of communication.
  • Err on the side of over-communication to ensure the candidate has all necessary information about the process.
  • Show respect for the candidate’s time by responding promptly to any inquiries.

Successful recruiting has taken on a whole new format. The candidate-driven market requires a new philosophy and approach. Stand out from the crowd of other recruiters by having a deep understanding of both your candidate and your client. Understand what each will bring to the match and be ready to explain a perfect fit when you find one.