A year after the United States began recording record sales, exhausted recruiters are putting everything on the table.
The recovery from the pandemic economy has proven to be a market for job seekers, with nearly 48 million people leaving jobs last year and 76 million taking new ones. Yet the job market currently has 11 million openings, according to recent labor statistics data, and about two jobs for every person looking for one.
“While the job market today is a golden age for workers, it is a ball of coal for recruiters unable to adapt to the new world we live in,” says Pete Lamson, CEO of Employ, the parent company of several recruitment brands.
To compensate for this, recruiters are scrambling to hire by announcing skyrocketing pay brackets, throwing buzzing perks and putting everything on the table to hunt down a candidate – before someone else picks them up.
Big paydays are front and center
Pay transparency is gaining traction as companies in some states and cities, like Colorado and soon New York, are required to include their pay scales in job postings. Angela Copeland, senior vice president of marketing at Recruiter.com, says more and more forward-thinking companies are advertising to attract talent.
And the groups are also increasing. Copeland recently heard of someone being poached by a competitor and being offered three times their current salary – they weren’t even actively looking for a new job, she says, “and the original salary wasn’t bad.”
Most people negotiate a raise with a new job, she says, but “going beyond that and being really aggressive like that is a new phenomenon.”
Advertising a high salary is very important for companies trying to find workers in person, says Erica Thomas, a technical recruiter in Palm Coast, Florida. If she’s courting someone who works remotely for a job that will require her to be onsite, “we might not be going anywhere,” Thomas says. But if she names a high enough salary range, that might be enough to entice them into an interview. “If I say, ‘you’ll be there and the range is $118,000 to $130,000,’ now we’re talking. You might be interested in going there for that amount of money.”
“You have 4-8 seconds to grab a candidate’s attention, whether they’re actively watching or passively watching,” adds Thomas. “People want to know the bottom line: how much they will be paid.”
Companies ‘without a doubt’ with buzzing benefits win
Higher pay and remote work are table issues for many job seekers these days, so employers are scrambling to offer the latest and greatest, says Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. This includes the introduction of a four-day working week, flexible working hours (popular among carers), paid leave with allowance (attractive in a high inflation environment) and reimbursements on labor costs at home such as telephone and internet bills.
Last year Crystal Brown-Tatum, a Dallas-based human resources manager, began rewriting all of his company’s job descriptions to lead with benefits first. After all, people know what job and company they’re applying for, so why waste valuable time when it could be touting all the perks they have to offer?
McDonald says there’s “no doubt” that adding exceptional benefits to the package helps companies close their hiring window. According to a July 2021 Robert Half survey of more than 2,800 senior executives, 48% are offering signing bonuses, 43% are giving more paid time off and 40% are offering better job titles to attract new hires.
Lauren Rackley, 31, recently received a $19,500 relocation bonus to move from North Carolina to Florida for a new job in the pharmaceutical industry. She once had to move across the country for jobs, but never received more than $5,000. “It’s the best I’ve ever had,” she says of the offer, which allowed her to pocket all the funds she didn’t use for her move.
Leader with interesting offers
As a scout herself, Brown-Tatum sees “aggressive” competition from both sides. She’s taken two new jobs since the pandemic began and receives an average of two recruiter messages a week with what she considers a certified job offer — not so much an “are you ready to have a chat?” but more of a sales pitch like “we have this job we want you to take,” she explains. Shortly before our call, Brown-Tatum says she received such a message offering $40,000 more than her current salary.
It’s common for recruiters to try to get back to applicants within 24 hours of applying, Brown-Tatum says. With the rapid pace of closing deals, she’s seen as many as eight people leave a workplace in a month – all of which pulled in six figures apiece. “When people quit a $100,000 job so easily,” she says, “it lets you know how tight the market is.”
Recruit to the extreme
Recruiters expand their network on LinkedIn by looking for people with the right job title but relaxing the requirements for education, years of experience, or location. It’s actually a good time to switch industries, says Lamson. “There is mobility in the workforce if recruiters can look beyond checkbox requirements and more to a worker’s ability, aptitude and attitude.”
They also pounce on people who have recently changed jobs to see if everything is up to their expectations. If not, recruiters hope, perhaps they would consider another move?
But they struggle to be targeted and personal while trying to expand their reach. Copeland has seen an increase in recruiters using LinkedIn to send video messages to prospects, lasting up to 3 minutes, inviting them to apply. “It’s a really different approach and it takes a lot of time,” she says.
In some cases, recruiters might be willing to reconsider former candidates and conduct negotiations that they had previously rejected.
Deanna Havrelock, 25, lives in Medicine Hat, Alberta. She applied for a job as a production supervisor at a food manufacturer earlier this year, but was told it would be a contract position with no benefits, bonuses or relocation assistance (she is currently at 5 hours drive from the factory). It didn’t sound like a “safe offer,” she said, so she turned it down and said she hoped to join the company eventually.
Earlier in April, she saw the position was still open and applied again. The recruiter called her a few weeks later and made her an offer with a full-time salary, benefits, bonuses and money for relocation – all she wanted before, but she was told. say no.
Havenlock hasn’t given them an answer yet. She is also a candidate for an HR position within the company, which could have better hours and more room for negotiation.
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