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The Battle For Talent

Author: Dan Middlebrook
It Blog (1)

I think everyone will agree it’s been an unprecedented year emotionally, socially and professionally and as we (hopefully) begin to navigate our way out of the seemingly interminable social restrictions, we see that the employment landscape is almost unrecognisable from that of just two years ago.

Some sectors (eg. bricks and mortar retail, leisure, the arts) have been decimated and now face a huge challenge in rebuilding while others (eg. tech, healthcare and ecommerce) have benefitted hugely from the pandemic. One thing that’s been shared by most businesses is the acceleration of greater flexibility to work from home and the necessary moves towards digital technologies to enable this.

While it might be tempting to think that this uncertainty and the redundancies in the market place would make recruiting a “buyer’s market”, nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, the best people are still employed and likely even less open to offers than before - they really need their heads turning to consider a move.

How can you do this?

  • Use a true recruitment partner to help you not only locate and secure the best talent in the market, but also to help promote your brand and “tell your story” to the marketplace. Look for a specialist in your area – ask around, get recommendations and then ask those recommendations for examples of their successes for similar businesses. Choose one recruiter to partner with!

  • Engage with your chosen recruiter. Forward Role are as busy as we’ve ever been and this means we can only allocate time to businesses that really want to engage with us. We can only meaningfully help those who will talk through their roles in detail and allow us to advise them in terms of what the market can and can’t offer. This may mean us explaining your expectations are unrealistic and that some things need to be flexed to make the hire, but it’s our job as experts to tell you what can and can’t be achieved within your budget.

  • It also means committing to your recruiter – engage them on a retained or sole agency basis as this allows them to commit more time and resources to filling the role. The idea of having a load of agencies competing against each other may logical in terms of covering the market but in reality it likely means your role ends up at the bottom of the pile in each of those agencies!

  • Pay a sensible fee! Obviously businesses want to make savings where possible but cutting recruitment costs is not a sensible place to do it; whether it be driving agency margins down (reducing their buy-in) or in under-offering/low-balling candidates’ salaries it comes back to the old adage “if you think hiring someone good’s expensive, try hiring someone bad!”

  • Act quickly – the job market is red-hot at present and good candidates are likely in several concurrent processes. Make your offering stand out not only by engaging a recruiter who sells your business effectively but by acting quickly and decisively during the interview and offer process when you see what good looks like.

  • Be prepared for a counter-offer. Good candidates will get them. A good recruiter will have discussed this throughout a process and should be confident of how to handle it.

  • Offer more than just a job and a salary. Company culture is a huge draw and other soft benefits around the job offer can help too. Flexible working is pretty much an expectation now for office roles and if you can’t offer some degree of flexibility on start/finish times and some working from home, you’re recruiting from a position of weakness. Also, flexible benefits including buying and selling holidays, healthcare and wellness packages all position you as a genuinely employee-focussed business. This is becoming ever more important in differentiating your offer from the rest of the market.

In summary it’s a highly competitive candidate market and you need to stand out as an employer. By engaging the right recruiter and incentivising them correctly you can ensure you get their very best service and that they will promote you effectively to the employment market.

If you have a recruitment need or would like advice on hiring, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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