How Can We Hire Great Candidates in a Candidate Scarce Market?

We are in a Candidate scarce market.

Well, a lot of us are (including HR and recruitment companies like our own).

So how can we hire great candidates when there aren’t many out there and there’s lots of competition for them?

The detail of the strategy you use to address the issue depends on who you are and where you fit in your market.  Whether you’re an industry leader, a boutique company or fit somewhere in the middle.

But in white collar industries, the levers used in all those strategies will be:

  • Quality of Work,
  • Career Opportunity and
  • Reward for Effort.

In addition you will need a strong and attractive underlying culture that candidates can touch, feel, understand and believe in.  According to Daniel Pink,  a respected author on work, management and behavioural science, that culture must:


  • Have a greater purpose than just making a healthy profit
  • Give staff the opportunity to master their craft and,
  • Include the ability for people to operate autonomously.


Every role in every industry has a minimum requirement for Reward for Effort that all players have to meet.  Once this salary “gate” is achieved and if your organisation’s culture matches the values of the candidate it is then the combination of the 3 factors above that will finally determine the attractiveness of your offer.

Each candidate will have their own ideal combination of these factors and their own perception of what “good” means for each factor.  So, the ability to understand the candidate’s requirements and then tailor your offer to match them, while maintaining your own requirement for productivity etc may well determine whether you snag that next great employee or not.