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I have recently returned from a trip home to the Philippines to see family for the first time in several years.
The market was more or less the same when I got back from my trip - candidate shallow.
To add to the existing high demand and short supply model, there is also an uplift in the transition of those who are used to temping but are now focusing on permanent opportunities.
This is mostly thanks to increasing salary ranges for permanent employees and clients being more lenient about expectations of qualifications and experience, making the contractor talent pool even smaller.
One thing I have noticed occurring more frequently in my client conversations is complaints of candidates being unapologetic about last minute backouts from processes. It seems that money talks and there is very little regard for anything else, so candidates unapologetically “ghost” offers, renegotiate them or reject them based solely on the rates offered.
The finance contracting market seems to have become somewhat analogous to internet dating. Swipe left and right, it’s all about whether you have the looks (or skills) and the rest is unimportant.
For the candidate, it may seem that money is key and very little else matters.
This prevailing attitude for both clients and candidates seems to have replaced more engaged, open discussion.
On the one hand, we could criticise candidate behaviours as being much too transactional.
However, in a candidate-driven market, we can hardly blame this behaviour when the client side of interviews also remains far too transactional, especially in the contracting marketplace where skills/guns for hire are very much the expectation.
I hear reports of candidates being grilled technically for 30 minutes and then being offered a role, only for clients to be disappointed when the candidate isn’t interested.
Perhaps it’s time to rethink how to engage contractors in the interview process.
Here are my top 7 tips on how to bring more aspects of the permanent recruitment processes into contracting recruiting.
These help to enable more transparent, engaging conversations with potential contractors which should make for much more enjoyable conditions for us all.
Above all, the contractor will join the best leader who is able to outweigh the importance of matching or bettering their expected rate of pay. You might not be able to compete on the financial side of the deal, but you can at least ensure you present yourself as the leader who is most desirable to work with. Someone who can help enhance the career prospects of the contractor in their next role by virtue of the experience they gain with you.
Don’t just ask “what can you do for me” but think also about what is in it for the contractor. What skills, experience, training, development, access to new tools or technology, fringe benefits, or flexibility will also be involved? Talk openly about it.
Vision is key. Whether the role is short, mid, or long-term, understanding the value that the role has to the overall purpose/mission of the business is critical to engagement. If there is no sense of meaning or purpose, it's no wonder the candidate feels little emotional connection to the role.
Money is obviously a driver; but the reason candidates take one job rather than another is often more about opportunity, the likelihood of the success of the project and/or the longevity of the assignment. It’s critical to convey these in your interview.
Don’t forget to talk about what is great about working for the company. Often contractors are assumed not to care. This is just not accurate – contractors can often be indistinguishable from the permanent people in the organisation, especially from a cultural perspective and so are part of the vision you are creating. What do you do on a day-to-day basis as a group that feels great and should be discussed?
Organisations are considering hiring people permanently who intend to migrate to Australia via remote processes. We should be open to this for contractors with specific skill sets too, especially those planning to arrive shortly.
Contractors share the basic needs of wanting a sense of being part of something, seeing progress through their efforts, having choices in how they work, being treated fairly, having set objectives, and knowing they are significant to the team or organisation’s mission. Make sure these things are clearly outlined.
The talent market is certainly short. However, I believe that more engagement with prospective candidates/contractors in the interview process will inevitably lead to fewer ghosting issues and wasted time recruiting, which is surely a win for everyone concerned.
I am currently working on a number of roles within the finance space. If you are interested to find out more, contact me today for a confidential chat.
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