3 Ways Hiring a Candidate is Just Like Buying a House in Today's Market

Sep 23, 2021

Anyone who has gone house-hunting in recent years knows how grueling the process can be. First, they spend hours scouring listings for the perfect home, and they’re stunned by the low number of listings -- not to mention the prices of homes in the neighborhoods they love. Then they decide to tour some houses that suit their needs. Finally, after a few days of deliberation, they decide to make an offer -- only to find that the house has already been sold. Dazed and disappointed, they start the process all over again.

Hiring managers are having a similar experience in the search for top talent in today’s market. Here are three ways that the hiring process currently looks a lot like the house-hunting process.

Demand Far Outstrips Supply

Put simply, when it comes to both houses and candidates, the market is razor-thin. A decade ago, companies had all the hiring power. But the combination of the ongoing labor shortage and economic uncertainty caused in part by the pandemic has meant that the supply of skilled candidates is low. Hiring managers who are used to receiving hundreds or even thousands of applications for high-level positions are struggling to understand that this is a candidate-driven market. To succeed in building their teams with the best available talent, managers should adjust their processes to focus more on the quality of candidates than on the quantity of applications they receive.

Time is of the Essence

While supply is low, it’s not non-existent. Just as there are houses for sale, there are also candidates who are open to a career-enhancing move. However, even a brief period of hesitation can cause a hiring manager to lose out on a strong prospect. Managers should be careful not to spend too much time deciding between two candidates or considering casting a wider net. Otherwise, by the time they make an offer, the candidate may have moved on to another opportunity. The key is to act quickly, making an offer as soon as possible once a strong fit is determined. And if the hiring process can’t be streamlined for rapid decision-making, then managers need to communicate clearly and frequently about their interest in the candidate to ensure they stay interested and open.

Costs Exceed Expectations

There’s no way around it: sticker shock is a fact of life for those looking to buy a home or hire a new employee. Not only are strong candidates being scooped off the market more quickly than hiring managers expect, they are receiving top salaries for their roles. Negotiating over a few thousand dollars can easily cause a company to lose out on a great candidate. Even if a candidate accepts a reduced offer, it can start the working relationship off on the wrong foot and reduce the likelihood of long-term retention. Hiring managers should adjust their budgets to allow for the current market value of candidates, and prepare to put their strongest offer forward when they identify someone they want to hire. Low-balling a great candidate isn’t worth the risk that they’ll walk away to a competitor within hours.

Buying a house and hiring a new employee are both huge investments, and as a result, they can be stressful, overwhelming, and pricey in the short term. But the best way for a hiring manager to ensure that this investment is worth their time (and money) is to plan ahead, be realistic about the current candidate market, and make timely decisions when they come across an exceptional candidate. Securing a great hire may require an up-front investment, but companies who invest wisely will reap the benefits of the long-term value that the right candidate will provide.

About the Author

Jerry Wilkins

Jerry began his career at Kimmel & Associates in 2001. His hard work and dedication were recognized in 2005, as Jerry was named a Vice President, serving the Southeast in general construction and development. In 2015, Jerry was promoted to Executive Vice President. He also serves on Kimmel & Associates’ Board of Advisors and is Head of the Leadership & Professional Awareness Program.

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