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Michela SyriePaul

Ontario Vice-President, Quantum Group

Isabelle Côté

Vice-President, Corporate Development, Quantum Group

Carly Poole

Corporate Training Specialist, Quantum Group

How The Quantum Group is Helping Employers Find Solutions in this Candidate-Driven Market


Despite lifting restrictions and skyrocketing demand for goods and services, global economic recovery efforts have been hindered in recent months by a wide-scale labour shortage. Companies looking to staff up are having a difficult time finding quality applicants. And when they do find one, they face another new hurdle — the need for increased engagement at every step of the recruitment process, to secure their hire.

“It is taking much longer to find candidates,” says Michela Syrie-Paul, Ontario Vice-President at Quantum, a leading Canadian recruitment firm. “The pandemic has led to a talent-short market, tighter than we have ever seen in our 53-year history.”

Where there’s challenge, there’s opportunity

The bottom line is clear. If employers want to compete for talent in today’s landscape, they must adapt to the new realities of the market and rethink the way they interview and onboard candidates.

The strategic recruitment experts at Quantum have been doing just that—reimagining and reinventing their talent acquisition methods and helping employers do the same. Serving the greater Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City areas, the Quantum Group has been connecting organizations with permanent, contract, and temporary talent in a wide of range of fields since 1968.

Interviewing, Reinvented

The interview has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last 18 months. Multiple formal, in-person meetings have been replaced by virtual interviews, offering greater scheduling flexibility and convenience. The ability to move the process along faster has been a benefit in many cases, allowing employers to make a move quickly when they find the right profile. Hiring managers must be prepared to expedite decision-making and be willing to streamline the screening process, however, if they want to lock in a candidate.

“We are working with clients to change their interview strategy, refine their internal processes, and make them more agile,” says Isabelle Côté, Vice-President, Corporate Development, Quantum Group. This includes cutting down on the rounds of interviews and eliminating unnecessary tests and projects. “Having so many hoops to jump through hinders candidate engagement.” 

And while virtual interviews offer greater flexibility, they also have several important drawbacks. For one thing, it makes it more challenging to sell your company, according to Syrie-Paul. “Candidates are no longer being greeted by the warm smile of your receptionist. You can’t impress them with your offices or give them a taste of the culture,” she says. Working with clients to define their unique attraction factors and employer brand, Quantum provides organizations with innovative ideas on how to get candidates excited about their company without seeing it.  

Another disadvantage that employers may fail to recognize is that the convenience of virtual interviews means people can afford to window-shop for jobs. With very little time or effort required, candidates can easily slip in two or three interviews on their breaks to check out their options. Interviewers can no longer assume that the person on the other side is genuinely interested in making a move, and the onus to impress has been overturned.

The key to winning the virtual interview game is engagement. In today’s market, Côté says if you are interested in a candidate, you have to let them know. “You have to tell them. They need to see it and feel it and you need to sell your organization,” she says.

Connections are at the core of what we do, as recruitment experts,“ adds Syrie-Paul. “It’s all about connecting our clients with the ideal profile for each role and then helping them nurture those connections to ensure the success of each new hire and, ultimately, the growth of their business.

Onboarding, Reimagined

Have a great onboarding program in place when a new hire starts? That won’t cut it in the today’s market. Quantum is now coaching clients to start onboarding the moment an extended offer is accepted.

Part of the reason for this is the growing threat of counter offers. “Although it has always been a part of our business, it used to occur only a small percentage of the time. Today, it is not unusual for candidates to be approached multiple times by senior management offering more money,” Syrie-Paul says

“Employers understand how difficult it could be to fill that spot,” adds Carly Poole, Corporate Training Specialist at the Quantum Group. “If a job interview has been online, it is much easier for candidates to walk away from your offer having not actually met you in person,” says Poole. “So right away, you want to send them their laptop and get them involved in meetings or invite them to an online staff social or meet for lunch on a patio. These are steps that have made a world of difference for our clients.”

Employers might even want to consider going a step further. “Think about sending a surprise welcome package or flowers before their start date with a handwritten note,” suggests Côté. “It’s all about creating moments of connection, so that they remain committed to your opportunity and show up on day one, excited to contribute.”

Once the employee is in place, make sure to build in regular social interactions into their onboarding. “I think a lot of employers are still apprehensive to be training somebody remotely,” Poole says. “You can’t just pop by and check on your new employee. And a new hire is missing out on that learning by osmosis by overhearing colleagues or just talking to them at their cubicle.” To recreate traditional team synergy in a virtual environment, Quantum recommends various training games, teambuilding events, and ice breaker ideas to its clients. 

These ideas can also easily be integrated as long-term retention elements to keep staff engagement levels high. Without in-office celebrations like birthdays, baby showers, and holiday parties, it’s imperative to keep building connections virtually.

“Connections are at the core of what we do, as recruitment experts“ concludes Syrie-Paul. “It’s all about connecting our clients with the ideal profile for each role and then helping them nurture those connections to ensure the success of each new hire and, ultimately, the growth of their business.”

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