Today’s job market is unlike anything we’ve seen in recent years. Candidates are in the driver’s seat. Compensation is almost as important as workplace flexibility. Hiring managers must move quickly with top talent or otherwise risk losing them in the hiring process. It’s a lot, especially when you consider the fact that nearly 33 million Americans quit their jobs since the spring of 2021. 

We caught up with Connor MacWilliams, ForceBrands‘ Senior Director of Executive Recruitment and Operations, to learn more about how companies can attract and retain talent, and ultimately rebound from the Great Resignation.

When it comes to securing top talent, you first have to capture the attention of job seekers. Marketing is one of the best ways to get in front of today’s candidates.

“Effective marketing strategies that showcase a strong employer brand are key,” MacWilliams says. “Behind that, once a candidate is engaged in the interview process, candidate experience is mission-critical to securing top talent.”

Because the candidate experience starts with the application and extends through the offer acceptance stage, hiring managers should engage with applicants at every touchpoint along that timeline. But how do you start this process when there’s so many passive candidates in today’s talent pool?

“The best way to engage candidates from the onset is to respond to their applications. Make sure everything beyond that touchpoint is happening in a timely manner; recruiters must be responsive and engaged in the recruiting process,” MacWilliams says. “Candidates are also more vocal about what isn’t working for them right now and hiring managers should be open to hearing that”

When it comes to identifying a lead candidate, there’s no time to waste. Recruiters and hiring managers must move with expediency and keep the conversation going. MacWIlliams suggests continuing the dialogue in between interviews with short communication, even if it’s just a text message. “It’s the small things that go a long way right now.”

The offer stage is critical in this highly competitive market. Come to the table with the best offer right out of the gate and expect the candidate to ask for more than you anticipate. As MacWilliams says, “Market-rate compensation takes the backseat right now.”

And finally, be mindful that much of the Great Resignation has been spurred by candidates having a change of heart around their work lives. If a candidate is not having a good experience during the recruitment process, they can choose not to move forward with you as an organization looking to hire.

Employers should invest in improving their candidate experience from an infrastructure perspective. As recruiting has matured and become more forward-thinking, employers should leverage recruiting services, software, or supplemental tools that can make an otherwise manual, time-intensive process more efficient. In turn, improving your own hiring and onboarding process will boost your employer brand. Because even more important than candidate experience is your employer brand.

Ultimately, when it comes to hiring, be smart, thoughtful, proactive, and engaged. Every detail matters.