Recruiting in 2018 - how to attract the best talent!
3rd January 2018

I first wrote this blog article in 2015 but the demands of recruiting and the market remain the same, if not even tougher!  Please see below for our guide to recruiting in the current market and attracting top talent to your business.  

Recruiting in the current market

Ah, the recession! How I miss thee..... 

Ok, maybe not. BUT things were certainly ‘easier’ for us recruiters and hiring companies in the tougher economic times and recruiting staff would have been a much simpler process for a lot of the clients looking to hire. 

Now when I say ‘easier’, I say this tongue in cheek and please let me clarify what ‘easy’ meant during those turbulent years - candidates were available in abundance, recruiters were willing to drop to ridiculously low fees for clients, businesses had their pick of the candidates, there were no budgets/funds for counter-offers, there were always lots of job seekers in the market and the fierce competition for jobs allowed some clients/recruiters to behave as they pleased with no fear of missing out on a candidate or having to worry about  poor candidate experience during the recruitment process.  

Those in recruitment fortunate enough to have a strong base of loyal clients would still have made lots of placements and I’m certain would have found it far simpler to attract candidates to their clients’ vacancies.

The recruitment market has changed. Not to say it wasn’t before, but it is hard. It is frustrating. For recruiters AND clients. More jobs = more choice. More choice = more missed opportunities to hire. More missed opportunities to hire = more frustration and a greater impact on your business. And so the cycle continues.  Candidates find jobs quickly. Clients miss out on candidates frequently. Recruiters have to work harder (and hopefully, smarter) to make a placement.  

So, finally I get to the burning question!  How can we ensure that the best talent is hired by YOUR business?

Salary – it sounds obvious, but salary will play a massive factor in a candidate’s decision on whether to join your business. When was the last time you reviewed your salary bandings? Are you still looking to pay your new starters what you did 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years ago even? If you haven’t reviewed your salaries in recent years, now is the time to do so. Or allow yourself extra budget to enable you to act on counter offers. Businesses are currently doing more and more to keep their valued staff. From counter offers to promotions, training and career path mapping. So please ensure your salary is at least market rate (ideally it needs to be more to obtain the candidates you really want). 

Benefits – does your business only offer 20 days annual leave per annum? (and you have to take 3 at Christmas?!!) Do you offer a bonus or benefits scheme that is attractive to prospective candidates?  Of course, not all companies can offer a full range of exciting benefits, but if you then offer the minimum holiday allowance without a chance to achieve a higher earning potential, who wouldn’t take the job with an extra week (or more) holiday to spend with the family if the role/salaries are comparable? We are seeing businesses that have not adapted to ‘modern benefits’ miss out on candidates time and time again.

These candidates are even falling out of recruitment processes at briefing stage as the questions we hear more and more at the very first stage of a recruitment process are “what is the salary? And what benefits do they offer?” There is more choice for top talent. Do your best to at least get them through the door for interview by making your vacancy/company an attractive prospect.

Speed of hire – believe it or not, despite telling clients that good candidates are not on the market for long, hiring managers/recruitment teams are still surprised to hear that a candidate is no longer available 2+ weeks after submission. It is a huge mistake in this market to be sitting on CVs for too long. We know time is precious. We know there are time constraints and diary issues. But if a recruiter tells you to move quickly as the candidate won’t be on the market for long, it is not because they are looking to make a fast buck – it is because that is the truth. Top talent is in demand. There are more vacancies and more choices available for candidates. You snooze, you lose!

Candidate experience/recruitment process – this should be at the forefront of every company’s mind in this market. But sadly, it is not. Once upon a time during the recession, clients could behave as they pleased and candidates would still accept their job opportunity. Guess what? That same person is probably now moving on because of that! Or when you come to recruit now your reputation as an employer might have been tarnished by your previous actions (candidates talk! Especially within a niche/insular sector, small town etc). It shouldn’t matter if a candidate secures the job or not, we must do our best to make it as smooth an experience as possible – after all, why shouldn’t it be?

There are some key things which enhance the candidate experience and will allow you to obtain top talent, either now or in the future:  recruit as quickly as viable, be personable, don’t include ridiculous tests or interview questions that aren’t relevant, always provide constructive feedback within a reasonable period of time, keep all parties updated, offer a competitive salary/package, don’t make the candidate feel like you are doing them a favour and sell your business and  job opportunity to applicants!

Brand/company reputation protection – as above!

Counter offers – the scourge of many recruitment processes at the current time. We are seeing counter offers being made frequently, late into the process and often with added promises of development, training, progression - companies are doing more to retain their best people.

A lot of candidates accept counter offers as a short term remedy to what is often a long term problem (i.e. they want to move companies) and inevitably find themselves looking for a new role 6-12 months down the line, albeit with now highly inflated and potentially unrealistic salary expectations.  Allow yourself extra budget for this, or if possible don’t pin all of your hopes on one candidate to avoid the heartache of a counter offer being accepted or the candidate finding a role elsewhere. Ensure you have given yourself every opportunity to attract that candidate to your business and you hopefully won’t kick yourself about the ‘one that got away’.


Think Specialist Recruitment is an independent support staff recruitment agency based in Hemel Hempstead and working across the Herts, Beds and Bucks area. Founded in 2011 by Chris Jones, we specialise in permanent, temporary and contract recruitment with areas of expertise including: administration, customer service/call centre, PA/secretarial, Human Resources, sales admin/sales support, accountancy & finance, marketing and IT Helpdesk, across all salary levels.

Please contact us should you wish to discuss your recruitment requirements or hiring processes and we would be delighted to discuss – [email protected] / 01442 450585


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