It seems to me that from now on, this is going to be a status quo of the candidate's market, except in case another crisis crashes it, which would also be temporary, like in the spring of 2020.

The need for employees is now greater than there are people in the field — especially the talented and hardworking ones. In Ukraine, we have a demographic hole in the 90s, many vacancies from the European and American markets, and a constantly growing demand for new employees in all areas. The situation seems to be similar across all fields, but IT, as always, is ahead of the rest. 

There are only a lot of middle-level managers, but few people need them, although, in March and April 2021, even they all got hired :)

Why is a problem with hiring occurring?

• In the companies’ eyes, 100% of the market considers their offers, but no more than 10% actually do. Recruiters work with passive candidates and get them interested in new positions. For each IT candidate in January-April 2021, there were at least 20-30 proposals per day. The candidates are so tired that they simply do not want to consider anything at all. The most outstanding product for you would be just another job offer for them. Fresh Djinni.co statistics: Weekly stats: 

Candidates = 14,866 (-631)

Vacancies = 19,642 (-985)Changing

• Job search is always stressful, so one would consider changing it only: 

1) they want a new challenge, new technology, more money; or

2) they need more sleep/change of environment. 

The majority prefers to maintain their status quo, so they are simply not interested in new time-consuming and energy-consuming proposals. My message is that nothing is wrong with your position offers, but it’s the lack of overall interest in creating additional stress and wasting time. “Why bother if everything works for me right now?” Even if not precisely everything does, the brain unconsciously evaluates the potential stress and chooses what is easier for it at the moment. WE have so much decision-making in our lives right now that we avoid doing it as much as possible, at least regarding employment, unless something catches our eye.

• Companies are looking for someone who will love their product as much as they do. In reality, almost no one will love your product/service that much. And that's okay. It would be too egoistic to think that everyone will be as involved in your business as you are. Yes, there are such people, but they are the exceptions, not the rule. People work with you while the job is interesting, profitable, comfortable, pleasant to them, or while they are too lazy to change something. It is important to accept that it is only normal for your team to change over time.

• Candidates used to prioritize product companies’ offers. Now, even those have become quite common. Moreover, people are signing contracts to work remotely with the United States and Europe. The market will no longer be the same. It is time to accept the new normal.

• Companies want loyal people from their competitors among product companies, which creates a dissonance because the point in loyal employees is that they don’t just leave their workplace.

• Interview rounds. Of course, not everyone can do one / two rounds, but more often than not because it happened so historically. I suggest you revisit the current process because many stages of interviewing are the very first bottleneck that prevents you from hiring quickly. If you cannot reduce the number of rounds, which is usually the case in large international companies, try to shorten the time between them. Your speed dramatically determines the success of the hiring.

• People will always choose the process that is simpler for them. No, they are not lazy. Their brain always chooses the path of least resistance where and minimal effort. UX fights for the user's attention in every product. Candidates are users too, and they will pick you if your UX is optimized.

• Culture of communication. More and more candidates, especially those aged 22-27, who have grown up with well-built psychological boundaries, choose a company based on communication. If, throughout the interviewing, you send a message like: “We are the best in our field, and who are you?” you will lose candidates. Fortunately, now people have higher self-esteem than they did in 2000.

• Territoriality. Despite not even a trend, but the reality of remote preference, companies are rabidly holding on to hiring people for offices. There is nothing wrong with offices, and some people do prefer to work in an offline setting rather than at home. Ideally, a hybrid model should exist, in which the candidate has a daily choice, including working from other countries with a convenient time zone for both parties. Ads like “Looking for a remote location, but only from Kyiv” are an oxymoron. 

• Age limits to people under 40. You hire a person to solve specific problems. Problem-solving requires skills and experience, not a young age. By filtering out candidates only by age, you deprive yourself of a potentially good and loyal candidate. People who are now 40+ have been using the Internet since the year 2000, and they are often more stable, value the work, and do not wander from one company to another every year. 

• Taking too long to decide on an offer. Now, to hire a candidate, the period between the interview and the decision should be no longer than one day. There is always someone who will hire faster.

Some strategies and tactics to still hire people 

Strategy:

• people need to be raised. Hire juniors, even if you are a product company with growth plans. Outsourcing companies have now realized that it is impossible to increase a headcount only by buying candidates out, so they conduct internships within the company and then choose the most talented ones.

• Increase the number of STEM courses in schools. Open them not only in the capital or regional gymnasiums and lyceums but also in ordinary district schools in small towns.

• Help juniors still studying in universities or recent graduates get an internship or retrain and get their first job :)

• To large companies that want to develop their business in Ukraine — invest in education. However, instead of only opening courses and laboratories within the company or sponsoring universities, sponsor teachers’ education, STEM classes, Olympiads in mathematics and computer science.

• Introduce a course on job search at a university to students in their third year. Teach them to choose an employer and specialization, write a good resume, and pass an interview. Explain why you should start looking for internships and volunteering opportunities already at the university.

• Invest in girls' math education. Gender discrimination starts with school and the choice of a class inclination (STEM or humanities).

• Create work conditions that would attract specialists from neighboring countries and simplify the hiring process for them. 

• Maximize (to your abilities) the salaries for your current employees because they will still hunt for more money. Onboarding a new employee is always more expensive. If you lose a candidate, he is gone for at least two years - the average duration of work in one company.

• Respect, value, and acknowledge the performance of current employees. Praise and support them. People want their work recognized and appreciated.

• Whenever possible, hire people whose personal goals resonate with your business goals. For example, if they can accomplish their desired work within your company, you will be mutually helpful for some time and, hopefully, will also enjoy working together! :)

• Teach everyone involved in the hiring process how to do it correctly: from simply communicating with people to assessing competencies and conducting interviews. When I see how some interviews are conducted, I understand that there is zero chance to hire decent people with such an approach.

• Redesign the hiring process so that you hire the best specialists when they are available in the market and not just fill hot vacancies. Organize a process with internal and external recruiters so that you know in time when these best ones are avalilable for new employment. We regularly have great hot candidates, and it is terribly disappointing when there are no relevant vacancies for them. In a growing company, the best strategy is to hire good professionals right when you find them and on a regular basis.

• Teach both your recruiters and your hiring managers to conduct interviews correctly. The candidate's decision to choose or not to choose your company stems from the atmosphere you showcase during an interview, the questions you ask, the format you stick to. You can, and you most certainly should learn how to conduct interviews. 

• Hiring managers have to sell the company/project just as eloquently as recruiters do. It is a collaborative effort. You need an employee for your team, and he wants to see why you chose to work there. He is much more likely to join you if he understands why you are there.

• Don't hire toxic people. Never, even if they are top performers. Their toxicity will end up costing you more than the profits from their performance. With toxic performers next to you, you are always de-energized as though you wanted to shrink and dim your light. If it seems to you that something is wrong, something is definitely wrong.

• Project-based work is taking over the industry. The concept is that candidates will perform specific tasks for a certain amount of money. In Ukraine, a salary scheme will hold on for quite a while by inertia, but top specialists will increasingly be hired on a project basis.

Tactics:

• Give feedback within 24 hours after the interview with the candidate.

• Make an offer right at the interview if everyone liked the candidate. Assume that every candidate who comes to you for an interview already has several offers (which they usually do). Make hiring decisions not just quickly, but suddenly))

• Reduce the rounds of interviews to a maximum of two rounds, although one is always the best choice and no more than three hours with a break. I know companies who effectively use this scheme without losing efficiency.

• Pay an in-house employee for referrals to their colleagues whose experience is relevant to your vacancies. Referral amounts usually vary somewhere between $ 1-2K but may be higher, depending on the company's budget and the effectiveness of the referral program.

• Support and thank your recruiters. Nowadays, many recruiters burn out, as the average candidate pool for a vacancy is 500-800 people. If a recruiter works well, he communicates with most of these people, and it's damn hard (even through chatting)! Try to conduct 5 hour-long interviews a day, write a detailed summary on each candidate, and agree on the time that works for all participants.

• Everyones “favorite” question “Why should we choose you?” First of all, address it to yourself and answer honestly.

It may seem that I wrote this post solely in support of the candidates’ side of the process, but that’s not true. I'm honestly showing companies where the bottleneck can be.

Of course, you need to hire those who solve your problems, but no one will ever be perfect. The often heard “great candidate, but let's search for a bit longer” does not work with the hot market. You lose a good candidate and almost never find a better substitute because usually, the best is only a product of your imagination.

The post’s content is based entirely on our own team’s successful and dramatic experiences, so use our wisdom! We learned it the hard way ;)