How to Hire Top Talent in a Tight Market – Is Flexibility in Work Location the Answer?

Share it

Forbes reported in 2022 that “companies find themselves offering remote and hybrid options as a strategy for retaining talent rather than for any performance considerations – after all, you can’t boost employee efficiency if you don’t have any employees.” Yes, but you are offering remote and hybrid work options and you still aren’t getting applicants. Why is it still so hard to hire top talent in a tight market?

Feel Good About Remote Work

Owl Labs’ 2021 State of Remote Work said 90% of employees report the same, or higher productivity levels working from home compared to the office, as well as 55% of respondents saying they are working longer hours remotely. Gallup research found that hybrid workers are slightly more productive. It seems that those working from home just simply spend more time working and as a result get more done.

Offering a remote or hybrid work option isn’t getting you top talent in a tight market though. What will?

Work with a Niche Recruiter

In talent acquisition you have multiple openings across multiple specialties. Pick the most difficult searches for you and your staff and farm those out to a specialty recruiter. They do day-in-and-day-out what you find yourself only having to do when there is an opening in that difficult to hire area, once a year or every two years. This will be the quickest and most effective way to hire top talent in a tight market.

If you can’t find a niche recruiter, working with a generalist recruiter will probably not be any quicker than doing the recruiting yourself.


Post every position internally first. Keeping your current employees happy and aware of promotional opportunities before the general market is aware will keep them loyal and excited about their career with you!

Advertising your opening shouldn’t just list the job duties and expectations. Sell your organization, the team they will be on, your pay scale…yes, be transparent!…your benefits, your work environment and growth opportunities. The large job boards can work but you will need staff to review and respond to the resumes and it may attract only those who want the job but aren’t qualified for the job. Specialized positions need a more targeted approach.

Search for passive candidates by tapping your network and keeping an open mind as to who could effectively fill the open position. Consider recent graduates who have to at least be phone interviewed to assess their maturity and their drive. Thee are all essential efforts to hire top talent in a tight market.

Tighten Your Process

Be responsive. Respond to every applicant promptly and personally even to those you are rejecting. Getting known for being a firm that resumes go to to vanish or being non-responsive is not a reputation that will help your talent acquisition efforts.

Be organized. Use technology to schedule interviews and to share information that will lead to informed interviewers and interviewees. Show flexibility in beginning the interview process with a phone or zoom call. Everyone’s time will be better spent and candidate’s are expecting it.

Be honest. Answer questions clearly and honestly. If candidates ask for feedback, be realistic and clear. No one wants their time wasted, and people are cognizant of their weaknesses. They may be impressed you assessed them correctly and offered the feedback professionally.

Be prompt. This is the number one complaint of candidates in the interview process. Non-responsiveness or late responses by companies to applicant’s resumes, to their interview feedback, even to making an offer loses the candidate when trying to hire top talent in a tight market.

Be competitive. Make sure your pay scales, your benefits, stock options and bonus plan are all competitive not just for your marketplace but for each of your different career areas. What is competitive for programmers might not cut it for data scientists.

Be creative. Be open to negotiating pay and benefits with promising applicants. You may need to design different packages for different candidates depending on where they are in their life. A parent of young children will prioritize different benefits than a young single applicant. Childcare, gym memberships, dry cleaning, food plans all can be options that can seal the deal.

Interested in working with the best niche recruiter in Pharmaceutical Commercial Analytics to hire top talent in a tight market? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Executive Recruiter, Eda Zullo, at ezullo@smithhanley.com.

Share it

Related Posts

traits of a great leader

Traits of a Great Leader

When someone ask you the names of great leaders do you immediately think of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk? Leadership for many is defined as

Read More »