There is no such thing as a traditional job market anymore. In the wake of the pandemic, many candidates are rethinking their career goals and personal priorities. They’re looking for something new.

With an abundance of open roles and job seekers looking to make a change, it’s a buyer’s market. Like it or not, companies need to adapt their recruitment and retention tactics to this new reality.

Candidates Want Remote Work Options

After getting a taste of remote work when companies were forced to close their office doors last year, many candidates are looking for ways to maintain this improved work/life balance post-pandemic. The Great Resignationis being driven, in part, by candidates leaving employers who are making them return to the office in favor of remote opportunities. For example, after announcing that it would allow 90 percent of its workforce to work from home at least part-time, the real estate tech company Zillow saw job applications rise by 50 percent.

And going remote has its benefits for companies, too. Organizations are no longer tied to their local markets when it comes to searching for talent. Remote companies can open the floodgates and search for experienced candidates across the US or even abroad.

Being open to remote work allows a company to gain a competitive edge in recruiting top talent. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the office entirely. After all, having a physical office is important to promoting company culture and team cohesion. That’s why many companies are opting for hybrid work environments that allow employees to split their time between the office and working remotely.

The Human Element Is Essential

While many companies can say their hiring processes are quick, not many can say theirs are efficient. The typical hiring process relies on automated screening tools that evaluate candidates’ resumes based on keywords. While this method of vetting candidates may help narrow down the talent pool, it doesn’t necessarily produce the best matches. That is why it is essential to retain the human element in hiring.

Recruiters and hiring managers can’t pass the entire task off to automation; they must take time to personally review applicants. This is especially important right now, as so many candidates are making career changes. Many companies are seeing increasing numbers of applicants who do not necessarily meet the traditional prerequisites of a position. While a traditional automated screening system would filter these candidates out, a human could find the diamonds in the rough who may be great fits despite their unconventional backgrounds.

Every applicant has a story, and while technology can surely help with the hiring process, it can’t read between the lines — and that’s where a lot of the most vital candidate information hides.

Rethink the Interview Process

Before the pandemic, when it was a seller’s market, companies had the flexibility to stretch out the interview process and take their time with hiring. Now, candidates can afford to be pickier because they have more job options, and companies are hurting for talent. Employers need to sell candidates on their opportunities quickly and effectively.

If you get an experienced candidate to interview, you can assume your company is not the only one they are applying to. While it’s crucial to move a candidate through the interview as fast as possible, it’s equally important to make a personal connection with that candidate — even if the hiring process is taking place via video calls.

Have candidates meet with different team members to get multiple perspectives on the company and a feel for the company culture. This can add a personal touch to the interview process and make candidates feel more connected to your company and your opportunities. That sense of connection can be a make-or-break factor in this job market.

Show Candidates They Matter

Candidates are looking for something that sets your company apart from others. While working from home is a big differentiator, companies can and should go even further than that.

For example, companies that have shifted to remote workforces have saved tremendous amounts of money on real estate and associated expenses. Companies can put that money back into their businesses and employees, perhaps by bulking up benefit plans, offer additional time off, planning company retreats, or allocating quarterly bonuses. These are all great ways to retain existing employees attract the attention of new talent.

In such a tight labor market, companies must differentiate themselves from their competitors — and the best way to do that is to meet the needs of prospective candidates. While finding top talent may always pose challenges, it’s not impossible with the right recruiting process.

Brian Moore is CEO of Loyal Source Government Services.