If you follow workforce and generational trends, you know that candidates — especially millennials and Gen Z — are more focused on experiences and environment than just earnings. And in this candidate-driven market, they demand to be treated as equals. This ultimately means staffing agencies and companies must start treating candidates like customers. No strong sales organization would expect to close a deal or land a client on the first interaction — yet we expect that when it comes to candidates.

Couple this with the shift in the traditional work relationships between employers and employees. With the gig economy, more than one-third of workers are currently engaged in an alternative working relationship. The reality is that, with the convergence of a hot economy and a generation of workers who understand their value and leverage, you need to rethink your sourcing and recruiting strategy. So, the question is: How do we navigate this new paradigm?

Here are some strategies that have worked for HireTalent. Get noticed. The first step to winning over quality candidates is making sure they know you exist. Recruitment marketing is essential to this and is the first step in proactively engaging talent. Market to candidates the way you would market to your customer. Now more than ever, you have to add value beyond just releasing and posting a job.

Do you like memes? Who doesn’t? Leverage your social media accounts to entertain and attract candidates to your pages. Share useful industry facts and articles for jobseekers and tips for improving the workplace, but also take the opportunity to showcase the culture and mission of your company. Sponsor events that your target candidate pool would attend. Through proactive outreach to the larger community, you can catch the eye of active and passive talent alike.

Differentiate. While you’re at it, decide what your company stands for and highlight your differentiators. As the talent pool continues to heat up, so does competition. This is why it’s more important than ever for your company to stand out in the crowd; showcase your differentiators and attract talent who are driven by something more than just a paycheck. Talent is looking for an employer that offers a supportive, inclusive, collegial and empowering workplace. Align your core values with something candidates and employees feel passionate about. Create an environment where your contingent labor population feels included and a part of something.

Add value. Having the attention of your target population is only half of the battle. It is crucial to add value by being a consultative partner. Most candidates aren’t living and breathing the world of talent acquisition, so they rely on professionals in the industry for insights into the market of their specialization. Listen to what they are really looking for in their next role and share any knowledge you have that may further their career — whether it is through your company or not at that time. Always keep the long-term relationship in mind and prove yourself as a trusted partner in any of their job search journeys.

Listen. Pride yourself on knowing your client, their culture and business, and on your listening skills. Candidates want to work with an agency that they can trust, build a relationship with, and one that shows genuine interest in their career goals and is well-informed about the environment they will be working in. Provide as much information as possible on company culture and don’t forget to listen to your candidates, just as you would the client.

Keep in touch. Continue to engage with employees while they are on assignment to make sure everything is going well and learn more about what they’re working on. Consultants are usually happy to share what they are working on and what their experience has been like so far. By continuing to build the relationship with them, you are learning more about your client. Staying up-to-date on everything that is going on with them will set up a better chance for redeployment and referrals down the line.