The rules of the road: navigating a candidate-driven job market for both employers and job seekers

empty road with a turn up ahead sign

Unlike the streets of downtown Kansas City, roadblocks and detours to the perfect role are a thing of the past for many job candidates (well… somewhat). Essentially, today there are more jobs available than candidates applying for them. So, it’s important that we arm both candidates and employers with the information they need to be successful in their next search.

As experienced recruiters in the Kansas City area, we’ve seen it all, and have helped candidates and local companies navigate various market conditions over the last three decades. Below, we break down what it means to be living through a candidate-driven market and an employer-driven market—and how to be successful in both.

Who drives the hiring market?

To keep a car on the road, the driver must have their hands on the wheel at all times. The same goes for the hiring market. It needs both candidates and open positions for things to run smoothly, and to keep the economy afloat. And when there are more of one than the other, the market can become competitive for both sides. Here’s why:

Employer-driven hiring market: There are more job candidates applying for jobs than employers with open positions, so employers have the upper hand. In this job market, employers can often take their pick of favorite candidates out of a pool of applicants, and don’t have to provide competitive pay or other perks to convince the applicant to accept their offer.

Candidate-driven hiring market: There are fewer job candidates applying for jobs than open positions, so candidates have the upper hand. During this type of job market, candidates often have many options to choose from, which makes the market more competitive for companies looking to fill their open roles. Often, this means employers will need to offer more perks or higher pay to convince candidates to accept their offer.

Employers: how do you avoid becoming the road less traveled?

As an employer in a candidate-driven job market, it’s imperative to focus your efforts on both employee retention and presenting competitive offers to the talent you want to hire. Candidates have more employment opportunities to choose from than before and convincing them to take the role you have available may become challenging. While average salaries are increasing and are a great place to start when making an offer to new talent, it’s not the only perk that could help you in today’s market. Work-life balance became a priority for many candidates during the pandemic, as well as the flexibility to work from home and opportunities for continued education.

Candidates: how can a co-pilot help you navigate the market?

With power comes great responsibility. Knowing you have the upper hand can be stressful if you’re not confident in your ability to navigate a job search process or feel your negotiation skills aren’t strong. Deciphering the culture of a company can be tough as well when you’re presented with a job description and a conversation with only a few of its employees. Our recruiters have worked with Kansas City area companies for more than 35 years and can share insights on which opportunity will be the best fit for you—from the people to the work and everything in between! In many cases, candidates we work with also don’t feel comfortable asking for a higher salary or more perks on their own—and they’d prefer a recruiter negotiate on their behalf. At Morgan Hunter, we can work alongside you throughout the entire process.

Work with a recruiter to find the right fit

Working with a recruiter can be one of the most beneficial tools when navigating the job market.  At Morgan Hunter we help connect employers with quality candidates and guide applicants through the hiring process to ensure they find the right fit. If you’d like to learn more about what it’s like to work with our recruiters, or want advice on today’s job market, contact us today.