What candidate shortage?

Posted on Wednesday, November 1, 2023 by Alison Humphreys - Award winning NED and strategic advisor

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know there is a surplus of vacancies over candidates willing to move.

Consequently, there is noticeable pay inflation going on – including in the recruitment sector. But while some recruiters are ghosted by candidates, or they accept extraordinarily generous counter-offers, others have been able to enjoy the demand from clients, and convert it into profitable business.

Want to learn the difference? Read on…

First, when a lot of recruiters say “there are no candidates out there”, what they are really experiencing is a shortage of people willing to engage in a specific live role after one contact. The best recruiters, though, have always built their network of quality people, whether they were interested in moving or not.

So when the right opportunity comes along, they aren’t starting with a search of LinkedIn. They are starting with a well-managed network that know this recruiter is not going away.

Second, when they do get a referral or introduction to a great potential candidate, they interview them properly. They find out what their ambitions are, what about their career trajectory they would change if they could. And whether the constraints they have are real or not.

It’s pretty clear that the art of interviewing has been lost, or possibly confused, with “qualifying people for jobs”. I can hear it when I listen to calls recruiters make. I can see it when they drop out of a process because they were due a big bonus where they were or weren’t prepared to tolerate the commute.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I know that the balance of power has tipped sharply towards the candidate. I also know that there are some jobs (e.g. healthcare, bleeding-edge IT, for example) where not nearly enough people have been trained. These are truly candidate-short markets.

But for many, if not most, sectors, there are still plenty of candidates. They are a lot pickier, though, and they won’t put out on the first date.


Alison Humphries is a highly experienced MD and NED, with 35 years at the top of the recruitment sector.

She advises directors and owners of recruitment businesses on strategy, finance, sales and management to maximise performance, enter new markets, prepare for sale and work more efficiently. 


Copyright 2021 © Recruitment Leadership

You may not, except with the express written permission of the author, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system. Recruitment Leadership

Previous PostNext Post