The Quick and The Dead

If you want to hire the best candidates you will have to move at the fastest speed in 8 years.

I received a call from a candidate yesterday who was due to attend a first stage interview with a client this week. He has been ‘on the market’ for less than 20 days and had been through three stages with a Retailer within that period…and offered the job and accepted. The client I was representing had been on holiday and couldn’t free up the time to meet the candidate earlier. Just to reiterate the candidate was on the market for just 20 days. Also, while working on a shortlist for another role last month, 3 of the 5 candidates I had met were offered positions within two weeks of my initial interview.

It feels like the recruitment market has entered a ‘two speed’ phase. There are a group of employers who are moving at lightning pace to secure the best talent and there are a group of employers still of the belief that it is an employer driven market, that they can pick and choose the best candidates and that ultimately candidates should be grateful for the opportunity to work for them. Earlier in the year I predicted that we would be moving to a candidate driven market from around September but it seems we have got there a little earlier.

Between 2008 and 2013 employers took advantage of a candidate rich market where options were limited. It was not uncommon for recruitment processes to run for six months at middle management (let alone Exec) level with numerous stages. Senior candidates took more junior positions and generally candidates were grateful for an interview let alone a job offer. However, late 2013 and early 2014 saw a significant percentage of the redundant candidate pool reduced and as a result there are fewer candidates willing to take a ‘drop.’

This isn’t a long post because the message is pretty simple. If you want to hire the best talent on the market you will need to speed up. The economy has been improving for some time and there are a significant number of Retailers whom are either in early expansion mode, rebuilding or rebranding. The recruitment market in an upturn is much like the housing market, there are long chains at times, if a candidate resigns this often leads to another vacancy (whereas during the recession the position was often left unfilled).

Candidates do want to work for the attractive and/or niche brands but the fact is a formal job offer has a tendency to sharpen the senses. Many candidates still feel the market is quite slow, it isn’t, but this just serves to ensure that candidates accept the job that is offered to them first (we have blogged about this tricky decision here). However, the candidates that bide their time are getting multiple offers, not just two but sometimes three and I’m aware of a coupe of candidates that have had FOUR offers.

I will leave you with a saying that I feel sums up the retail recruitment market.

There are the quick and there are the dead



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