The strangest times we remember – Low unemployment and the recruitment process
Many businesses are struggling to find the right people at the moment. If you are one of the many employers getting frustrated with low numbers of applicants or candidates that apply and vanish, you will understand what we mean when we say these are strange days indeed when it comes to employment.
What is going on in recruitment?
There are a lot of things impacting on why the employment market is so difficult right now. The seemingly constantly widening skills gap and the aftermath of the pandemic have all affected the recruitment world in a variety of ways. Hybrid working, 4-day weeks and rising costs have all also had an effect and; as if whatever force for chaos is at work wanted one last fling, we now seem to be heading for a recession. It’s a perfect storm of factors and frankly it is making life hard for anyone looking for new staff. Probably top of the list though is the very low unemployment level which means that every employer is now competing for the best talent.
So, what can you do to attract and keep employees in these challenging times? Well, as with a lot of these kinds of problems, a good place to start is by looking at what it is that you offer, how you offer it, and how your HR and recruitment processes can be improved to make things easier for everyone.
Some areas to think about when it comes to recruiting new people
- Is your employer brand working?
Your employer brand, the thing that makes up your unique employer offer, is more important than ever right now. When a candidate first interacts with your vacancy, they will most likely start with researching who you are and what you say to the world. Your Employer brand, as I am sure you know, is about your reputation and your values. It says ‘here we are, this is who we are and why we do what we do’ to the prospective candidate. Reviewing it is never a bad idea, but at the moment it is probably the first port of call if you are not getting the response you want to vacancies. Sometimes a review of your brand may not be comfortable, and it could eventually indicate a few changes are needed. However, survival is about being the fittest and that means ‘those most adaptable to change’. We suggest looking at your offer as an employer and the actual processes you use to employ someone and asking, ‘is this saying what we need it to say in order to attract the people we need?’.
- Can you make the time from advertisement to offer quicker?
Employing someone is a big decision for both you and the candidate. From their point of view, they are making a life changing decision. For you, a bad hire is costly and wasteful. Clearly then, there is no benefit to rushing things so that mistakes are made. However, there is a real benefit in making an offer as fast as possible. This is about scarcity of candidates in the end. When a commodity (in this case qualified candidates) is in short supply, the faster you acquire it, the less chance there is of someone else taking it. So, anything you do to shorten the process, from interview to offer, is going to help. The usual culprits for slowing down offers are out of date practices and unnecessary red tape surrounding paperwork. If you can streamline your process, then we encourage you to do so.
- Is it easy for the candidate to apply?
The odd thing about the current job market is that the approach is almost completely the reverse of the traditional one. In the past candidates were often expected to do a lot of the work in applying and interviewing. The boot is very much on the other foot these days. The easier you can make it for the candidate to apply, and then follow through on that application, the better. A good example is to ask questions such as, do you need two interviews to be held per person? Could one be done via video or phone? What about timing and locations for interviews as well? Could you do them after hours or nearer the candidates rather than in your offices? Are you asking for all sorts of information from a candidate that could be provided later? Putting yourself in the candidate’s place can sometimes be really revealing when it comes to how difficult it is to apply for a job. No matter how tempting the offer, if it is difficult to apply, you could push all the semi-passive applicants away and reduce your candidate pool.
- Can you be more flexible about ‘must have’ and ‘ideally have’
There is a big difference between the experience and skills that are needed to do the core role and the things that are ‘nice to have’. Naturally you want the best candidate but that could mean giving a little wiggle room in your requirements. Is it possible to train to competence in some areas? Could you upskill from within and then employ to replace more easily that recruiting highly skilled candidates?
- Is your salary offer market ready?
It goes without saying that candidates are going to want a competitive salary, but with rising inflation, additional cost of living and the increasing utilities bills, the right offer is more important than it has ever been. Benefits and conditions all have an impact of course but if your salary offer is wrong, they won’t matter because nobody will look past the inadequate remuneration level.
These are just a few of the things you can do to increase your attractiveness to candidates. We are here to help if you need us. Call us and we can talk about other ways in which your HR and recruitment policies and process can be tweaked to make sure you fill that key vacancy.