With unemployment at a record low of 3.8%, we’re seeing a decreasing pool of high-quality talent combined with growing competition amongst employers for the best people.
In this climate, it’s therefore more important than ever for businesses to focus their efforts on candidate attraction and employee retention, to ensure they have the skills they need to thrive and grow – particularly with Brexit around the corner.
Here are a few things to consider, to make sure you’re attracting and securing the best talent on the market.
Work with your marketing team
Employer branding is critical to being able to successfully hire talent, especially in this candidate-short market. That means engaging with your marketing teams, whose job it is to make your business as attractive as possible to external audiences, including potential employees.
Work with them to finesse the content you are putting out into the world, putting emphasis on anything that shows why your organisation is a great place to work.
Also think about where you are promoting your business, for example, if you want to attract a diverse demographic, research where your target audiences spend their time and ensure that your brand is appearing on all the relevant channels.
Make sure your website, social media, job ads and other media portray your brand values and aesthetic. There is a lot to be said for a company that has consistent, well-designed branding, and it gives potential employees a great first impression.
Embrace tech and new media
Millennials are predicted to make up the majority of the UK workforce by 2020, so it makes sense to optimise your recruitment strategy to meet their needs, utilising video, mobile and social alongside more traditional channels. Can you create an easy application process on your mobile site, for example?
How about a chatbot to streamline applications and answer any questions candidates might have? Think about how your recruitment process looks to a candidate and you’ll gain a big advantage over your competitors.
Manage expectations through communication
It’s never nice to be kept in the dark when you’re looking for a new job. In fact, failing to keep candidates well-informed throughout the process can make them hesitant to continue with the process and more likely to look elsewhere.
To avoid this, establish early on what the candidate should expect from the interview process, including timeframes, points of contact, and the number of stages ahead of them.
Then, keep them engaged throughout, whether that’s checking in over the phone or via email, so that they know you value them and their time. If you can’t respond to every application, make sure there is an automated message set up to explain the next steps.
Make sure you streamline your hiring process as much as possible, as the best candidates are not going to be available for long. Bear in mind that the individuals you’re speaking to are probably interviewing for other similar positions at the same time (possibly with your competitors), so you need to move quickly once you’ve found your star hire.
Try to minimise time between the different selection stages as much as possible, while ensuring all hiring managers make sufficient time to meet candidates and compare notes quickly, to avoid any unnecessary delays.
Candidates want flexibility
Flexible and remote working are rapidly becoming one of the biggest differentiators for employers, with almost half of full-time workers in the UK currently working flexible hours.
As it becomes more of a norm than a benefit, it’s therefore important to consider how flexible working can boost productivity and engagement in your business, while also helping to attract high-quality candidates.
Flexibility comes in many forms: it could mean one day a week to work from home, or weekly late starts/early finishes – whatever works for your particular business. Once you decide, make sure you communicate this during the recruitment process, as it could be just what that star candidate is looking for.
Salary expectations are changing
More competition for candidates means higher salaries, as employers up their offers to secure the right person. In fact, it’s not unusual for candidates to command an eight to 10 per cent salary increase when they move companies, so consider whether this is within your budget.
Of course, this might not be possible for some employers, so if that’s your position, consider soft benefits instead. These could include flexible working options, training opportunities, gym memberships, breakfast baskets or regular social events, among others.
In essence, you need to offer a package that will make you stand out from other employers. Alternatively, consider hiring strong candidates who have slightly less experience, to stay within budget.
When candidates hold all the cards, you need to go above and beyond the usual recruitment and reward tactics if you want to attract the best.
Talented individuals are looking for tangible incentives to move from their current place of work and can expect to face multiple offers and counter-offers in the course of their job search.
Employers have to be smart and determined to outshine their competitors in securing the skills and energy they need to achieve their objectives. But those who get it right will feel the benefits for a long time to come.
David Morel is CEO of Tiger Recruitment.