Skip to main content
EmploymentHuman ResourcesRecruitment

Candidates are Calling the Shots

By October 18, 2018No Comments

The tide has been turning for some time, and now more than ever it feels like a candidate’s market out there. In recent weeks I’ve seen bidding wars kick off over decidedly average candidates, egos growing disproportionately alongside; contractors who might have been scrambling for gigs six months ago now screening calls, too bombarded with need, and Average Joe reaching out for a tentative chat and finding numerous options that tick the boxes for ‘dream role’. Everyone everywhere is hiring, much to the glee of agency recruiters (and flying in the face of “news” items citing low business confidence). Businesses smart enough to see this are moving quickly to retain good talent. Counter-offers are par for the course, with many candidates not even having to reach that stage – as always, if somebody contacts me to gauge the market with reason being they are unhappy in their current role, I encourage them to address any concerns before we take things further. Encouragingly, the general response is positive – leaders are stepping up, career pathways formed, salaries massaged and contentment high.

Ironically, the space where there is perhaps most urgent need – Teaching – is chasing candidates desperately without letting them lead the market here. I get it, I get it; Government pays the teachers and therefore salaries are set. Negotiation isn’t on the table the same way it is in the private sector. But with announcements earlier this week that the Government will spend an additional $10.5 million to recruit 850 additional teachers for next year – bringing the total cost of this year’s recruitment drive to $40 million – surely there is something in the coffers to sweeten things for those still banging their heads against blackboards here in good ol’ Godzone? (And hopefully at least a little of that budget is going to our beleaguered Education recruiters?!)

It will be interesting to see how things shift in the near future, and how much recruitment processes may change. In my experience alone, I’ve seen candidate behaviour change significantly of late. Flexible working, good pay and swiftness of action are widely expected now, meaning the sliding scale of “unusual demands” has flexed and now, when a candidate wants something out of the ordinary, it’s really out of the ordinary., and egos have inflated – candidates know their worth, and those who flirt with integrity but don’t fully embrace it are playing the game to their full advantage.

Boundaries are being flexed and norms shattered throughout the People & Culture space. Is it just us, or is change afoot in all recruitment?

Natasha Foster

Recruitment Consultant at New Zealand firm Rice Consulting, shaking things up in the HR world. Photographer on the side, Te Reo student, rock climber and learner surfer. Most happy off the grid.