Successful Recruiting Starts with Understanding Today’s Candidate
December 4, 2023

By Brittney Kessler, Client HR Services Specialist

When talking about the labor market, you may have heard the phrase “it’s a candidate’s market.” Although change may be in the wind, this continues to be the trend as job seekers seem to have more options and bargaining power than employers. In this market, can employers create a win-win environment for themselves and candidates? Is it time to re-think the recruiting strategy?  Let’s take a closer look.

As you think about your hiring plans for the new year, offering transparency into what it means to work for you will help a candidate make the best decision for them. To create a win-win result, candidates and employers need to align on values, working arrangements, and management style, as well as compensation, skills, and personal attributes. Create a process that showcases all that you offer, share what you need, then discover what your candidates are looking for and identify where you match up. Keep in mind that it’s unrealistic to believe that every area will be a match, so know what can and cannot be compromised to help guide your decisions.

Another factor that will help you develop a relevant and effective recruiting strategy is understanding trends and candidate behavior. Below are five trends that candidates are looking for in their career beyond a competitive wage, as compensation still ranks high on the list.

  1. Stability – Whether candidates are worried about the current state of the economy and its outlook or have post-pandemic concerns about the company’s future, many applicants cite stability as a major factor in their job search.
  2. Customized benefits – There is a wide generational spread of candidates in the workforce today, and each generation is looking for something different. Offering a variety of benefit options and plans to fit the needs of candidates will be critical for your competitive edge.
  3. Flexibility – This doesn’t just mean remote or hybrid work arrangements. Being able to offer some level of flexibility to allow employees the ability to adjust their schedule when needed is highly desired.
  4. Professional development and career advancement – Most candidates are not looking to take on a role and stay in that position indefinitely. Applicants want to know that the company invests in development of their people and promotes from within.
  5. A healthy workplace culture – Candidates want to work somewhere in which they feel appreciated, valued, respected, and heard. Having an open door and fostering an inclusive and ethical culture is especially important to many candidates.

The “candidate’s market” environment has led to some challenging candidate behavior trends for employers to be aware of:

“Ghosting” is the sudden and unexplained disappearance of a job applicant during the hiring process. There is no magic wand to combat this behavior unfortunately. All the employer can do is follow up when they say they will and communicate as effectively and as often as possible. Examples of ghosting may include candidates who don’t show up for agreed upon phone screens or interviews (onsite or virtual) and candidates who don’t respond to requests for a second interview or don’t appear for their first day.

Candidates considering multiple offers. You may want to believe that you’re the employer of choice for applicants, however, candidates today are shopping around. It’s important to gain an understanding of what matters most to each candidate and help them see where your opportunity aligns with their goals. The interview process is your time to “WOW” the applicant by providing a seamless candidate experience and being aggressive about showcasing your company’s “positives.”

Candidates accepting and then rescinding acceptance. It’s important to stay connected to candidates through the entire process from the first interaction until they are an employee and beyond. One gap in communication that often exists is the time between an accepted offer and the start date. Although a candidate is excited about the opportunity, they still may be nervous or a little apprehensive to make a change. And they may be getting a counteroffer or offers from other employers that seem enticing. Hearing from you often as their first day approaches will keep them engaged, provide opportunity to ask questions, and reassure them that they are making the right decision.

While these are just some of the trends we’re seeing in today’s workforce, we are at a pivotal time in the world of recruiting, and more changes may be on the horizon. Your recruiting process needs to continue to evolve with the times, and understanding candidate behavior is a key element in successful recruiting.  Take time now to revisit your recruiting process to be sure you are aligned and ready to tackle this critical function.

Navigating the labor market can be challenging, but our Miller Cooper Client Recruiting team can help. For information on our recruiting services or for help in refining your process, reach out to us at

Compliance Corner

HR Alert: Annual anti-harassment training is required in several states and municipalities. Even if not required, it is strongly recommended. There’s still time to complete the training!


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