Recruiting in a Candidate Short Market

New Zealand is currently experiencing a labour shortage across all sectors, which can be great for jobseekers but not so great for those looking to hire. If you’re in the hiring seat right now you may find you have less applicants to choose from, and those with the best talent are being snapped up quickly.

In recruitment we call this situation a ‘candidate short market’. If you’re looking to hire currently, our latest top tips can help ensure you find the right person for the job:

Decrease time to hire:

With less job seekers looking and more competition for talent, long or overly complicated recruitment processes run the risk of missing out on good applicants. To avoid losing the best candidates to other jobs, employers need to move the process forward as soon as the application close date arrives, if not sooner for any outstanding candidates that come though. Being agile with your timeframes can help ensure you attract and retain the best applicants.

Keep the communication channels open:

Communicate regularly throughout the recruitment process to keep everyone in the loop and interested. A lack of communication can leave the other party in the dark and likely looking elsewhere. Set expectations up front about how long the process may take, who will be involved, and what each step might entail (e.g. assessment tools, testing etc). Additionally, if you tell a candidate they should have a job offer by the end of the week, make sure that happens! As time keeps passing, the level of the candidate’s enthusiasm may begin to wane.

To avoid any last-minute surprises or disappointments, have open transparent conversations with candidates about their remuneration expectations from the get-go, particularly when it’s a ‘candidates’ market’ and they know they’re in hot demand.

It’s also a good idea to ask whether applicants are currently considering other job opportunities and what stage they’re at with these. This way you’ll know what you’re up against. Good candidates are regularly receiving multiple offers at the moment, but you may be able to speed your process up if you know you’re about to lose your preferred candidate to another employer!

Don’t wait for applications to come to you:

Consider headhunting/shoulder tapping. Due to the low number of applicants across the board, many recruiters and hiring managers are doing more extensive search/headhunting activity to find and approach people that may not have been looking but could be tempted if the right job came along. In a candidate short market, it’s often not enough to simply advertise and wait for the applications to come through. Actively approaching potential candidates is an effective way to ensure your opportunity is getting maximum exposure.

Promote the role and your organisation:

Job interviews are more than just asking the candidate lots of questions, it’s a two-way street where the applicant is also assessing the right fit for them too. Remember the importance of using the interview process to sell the job, organisation and potential benefits. With more competition for top talent than ever, hiring managers need to be clear about and able to articulate why candidates should choose their role over others.

If the hiring budget is tight, consider other perks your organisation has to offer. Data from Seek.co.nz shows that after a turbulent 2020, Kiwis have clear expectations around what perks they want from a workplace. Flexibility – both working hours and location – is a big request, as is mental health support, learning and development programmes, mentorship and coaching and car parks. There is also a trend emerging with talent wanting to work for an organisation with values that align with their own, and to work for organisations making a difference to the lives of New Zealanders and our environment.

Always be recruiting:

One way to help ensure you don’t go for long stretches without being able to fill your vacancies is to be continually recruiting for a pipeline of talent. This way you build a talent community to engage in your brand so that when you do have job openings, you are not starting from scratch and can save precious time.

You can find some tips about constructing a good job advert to attract applicants here, as well as more tips on making good hiring decisions here.

Needing help finding new talent? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team to see how we can help.

Good luck,

Kirsty and Nikki

Negotiating a Job Offer
Job Hunting while Working


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  1. Preetika PK Kumari December 1, 2021 — 9:11 pm

    I my name is Preetika kumari as iam looking for a full-time job in administration or logistics..

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