How to select the right candidates for your organization when the job market is tight.

Categories: Recruitment


As recruiters, we have our eyes on the constant flow of supply and demand within the job market. We aim to fulfill the needs of both emplolyees as well as employers. Throughout the years we see a constant fluctuation of the number of talented professionals as well as the number of vacancies. Of course, we understand that you look for the ideal candidate, but what if there doesn’t seem to be anybody checking all the boxes? Have you ever considered alternatives to the ideal candidate?

There are for instance tons of highly motivated candidates with an age over 40 who often struggle to find a new career opportunity due to their age.
Especially within the Fashion industry people over 40 often aren't’ even considered. Or how about the Millennial generation with a different perception about work compared to older generations. They, for instance, don’t like to be obligated to sit in an office on fixed times, because they might be productive on other times of the day. But both types of candidates certainly aren’t less motivated or less talented and could offer a great solution to staffing problems.

Know your motivation as well as your candidate’s

As an HR or hiring manager it is important to look at the needs of your organization, and also at the current situation within the job market. We see an increasing shortage of qualified candidates that check all the desired boxes, drafted up by an organization. But what if we have a solution that doesn’t check all preferred boxes, but a lot of others instead?

There are lots of strong and talented candidates that are excited to be offered a chance to show their worth. We often see though, that they have trouble making it through the first selection round because their profile is slightly different.

For a diverse and optimal mix of employees, it is good to reflect on your selection policy on a regular base and determine what matters to you most. Of course, everybody wants a new employee to be motivated and knowledgable, but we also see a lot of long requirement lists that candidates should comply with. How many of these requirements are actually important?

40 plus candidates

With more than a decade (or sometimes multiple decades) of work and life experience, these candidates took the time to build a valuable network within their area of expertise. In addition, they were able to further develop themselves and have a strong sense of their capabilities.

As recruiters, we often talk to candidates that fit the above description, and in addition, they are highly motivated to start a new job. Unfortunately, we sometimes see that certain assumptions are being made about why a person would not be the right candidate for a job. Let's
go over some.

“This person is so senior, they must want a higher salary that we offer for this job”
Besides the fact that not all older candidates will desire a higher salary, there are other things to take in consideration. By having an interview, you can figure out what a person is worth to you. The years of experience are not the only thing that a salary is based upon. Another important factor is what a person can do for your organization.

“This person will work with managers and/or coworkers that are much younger than he or she. I’m sure the candidate won’t be comfortable with that.”
Most senior candidates will have no problem whatsoever when they have to report to or work with coworkers that are much younger. When he/she feels valued for the work they are doing and can exchange ideas this will never be a problem. In addition, they bring a ton of life and working experience and this, in turn, helps them coaching younger coworkers.
This person is too senior, I’m sure he/she won’t be challenged enough in this job”
It is simply impossible to discover somebody’s motivation for being interested in a certain job. Certain assumptions that give reason to reject somebody for a position are often wrong.

Perhaps a candidate just likes to have less responsibility due to a personal situation or because they don’t have the need to take a next step in their career. A lot of our candidates say that the joy of a nice job is about what value they can add for an organization and not necessarily the job title they have. It is very likely that by hiring a more senior candidate, you will have a loyal employee who is experienced, and as a bonus, you don’t have to worry about filling the same position in a year, because they want to move on to another job.


The millennial generation has the reputation of being difficult to manage on the work floor. A thing we hear often from our clients is that there low retention amongst younger employees. This cost money, think about the cost of recruiting yet another candidate and getting a new person up to speed. When he/she leaves within a year, you have to start the process all over again.

Our experience learns that it can be of great value to conduct exit interviews, to learn about the reason for somebody to quit. On many occasions, we see that organization just assume that people leave because they get offered better pay somewhere else. Because we talk to a lot of candidates, we know that this is often not the case. Younger candidates value transparency about their career opportunities within a company, so they have a good impression of the steps they might be able to make.

Millennials want to keep learning new things and further develop in order to advance their career. When they have to wait too long to make a new step, they might get frustrated. Communication is key in managing expectations for both the employer as well as the employee.

Sometimes younger generations have a different perception of work than their older peers and don’t see work as being bound to a certain time or location. These days it is still pretty common for companies to expect their staff members to be around between 9 am and 5 pm, but it is very likely that this is not necessarily the time where people seem to be most productive. For younger employees, their work and personal life are often intertwined and they often see no problem in browsing Amazon during office hours, while doing some work in the evenings.

It is important to be aware of the motivations of certain candidates and to keep communicating, both by asking questions to learn about somebody’s motivation for applying to a certain job and to manage expectations.

Especially when the job market is tight, it can be beneficial to look at candidates that are not necessarily checking all the boxes of a job description, but who can offer so much more value in other ways.

Recent blog articles


Y van Vliet
Publication date
Comments: No comments