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How to Stand Out in a Highly-Competitive Job Market: Build an employer brand, Be a great employer, Compensation and benefits package, and Have an employee referral program

HR professionals and recruiters are facing a challenge and are experiencing difficulty in recruiting candidates. There are various reasons for this including lack of experience and skill gaps. Competition from other employers is also a part of the challenge.

With regard to competitive job markets, there are two types of challenges:

  •     Industry-based competition: This is more related to the type of work that people do. For instance, the competition for tech talent in Silicon Valley is an example. Or if the position is highly technical then the competition could be higher. This happens when a geographical region becomes a hub for certain types of businesses.
  •     All jobs have general competition and people leave voluntarily. It could also be that a large employer arrives on the scene and creates lots of jobs. In some cases, it could be a skills gap leading to competition, like those with good supervisory skills or those with critical thinking.

How do you thrive in such a competitive job market? You cannot keep poaching employees. You have to rise above the competition.


For employer:

  1. Build an employer brand: Build a strong profile in the minds of future employees by establishing your company as a good employer. Good policies and a positive work culture will lead to a positive word of mouth building these employer brands. Your recruiting team can sell this value proposition to potential candidates.
  2. Be a great employer: Getting listed in a “best places to work” listing or getting a best employer award can catapult you to becoming a great employer. You need to build a strong work culture that radiates positivity. Also presenting in conferences and sharing your company’s best practices can be a statement and make you be seen as a great employer.
  3. Have a good compensation and benefits package: There is always a lot of conversation around compensation and benefits. As the job market gets more competitive, so does the compensation and benefits. You need to ensure that your compensation and benefits are fair from an internal perspective and also competitive considering the competition.
  4. Have an employee referral program: Employee referral programs can be a good source of good talent and it is also very cost-effective. Offer a monetary bonus that is fair considering your cost of recruitment and ensure a good flow of quality applicants. Also you could reach out to your alumni and contingent workers for both fresh applications as well as good referrals.
  5. Giving a realistic job preview: Most job seekers like to do some homework before they join a company. Having a career portal where employees can literally “see” a day in the life of an employee at your company will be very helpful. You could have a video with employee testimonials and have very readable job descriptions.
  6. Easy application process: It is important to understand what applicants go through when they apply for a job. Make the application process easy and friendly. Make your job openings visible in places where candidates are spending more time, namely social media. Also making job applications mobile-friendly is very important and will ease the process of applying for a job.
  7. Building a talent community: You no longer need to recruit only when there is a job opening. Competition has ensured that you are recruiting all the time. You need to keep job seekers engaged even if there is no active job opening by creating a community of job seekers. They can learn about the company and engage among themselves too.
  8. Promoting your brand: In order to promote your employer brand, you need to have among other things a great career portal, ensure that your job openings are visible on social media and make your website mobile-friendly. You must also be visible in the media and talk about your employer brand. Good word of mouth from current employees on social media will also have a positive rub off on your company.
  9. Training hiring managers: Learning how to interview candidates is an art by itself. Managers will need training to interview effectively. Once hiring managers understand the connection between cost per hire, turnover and the hiring process, they will learn the need to better the interview process.
  10. Consider boomerangs: Allowing former employees to return can be a very successful hiring strategy. When they leave, they learn new skills and return with a fresh perspective. Often this can be very beneficial for both the employee and the company. It is easier to address the issues that caused them to leave in the first place.


For Job seekers:

  • Make your resume and cover letter specific to the job description

Recruiters receive a large number of resumes and job applications, which they often sort through using automated systems. It’s critical to tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job you’re applying for if you want to stand out. This includes highlighting your relevant skills and experience, as well as using keywords from the job description.

  • Showcase your accomplishments and results

Don’t just list your job responsibilities on your resume. Instead, highlight your accomplishments and outcomes. Include information on your resume, for example, if you increased sales by a certain percentage or implemented a new process that saved the company time and money.

  • Networking and relationship building

Being a good employer and spreading the word about your culture, benefits, and jobs will be critical. You must be active and not back down in the face of competition.

  • Maintain a professional and courteous personality

When applying for jobs, it is critical to maintain a professional and courteous personality at all times. This includes responding quickly to emails and phone calls, dressing appropriately for interviews, and being courteous to everyone you interact with.

It can be difficult to stand out in the job market, but by following these tips, you can increase your chances of being noticed by recruiters and hiring managers.

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