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Home > News > Recruiting in a candidate-led market – watch our webinar recording

March 24, 2022

Recruiting in a candidate-led market – watch our webinar recording

Found any needles in haystacks lately?

Right now, the balance in recruitment feels out of kilter. With nearly 1.25 million job vacancies in the UK it has become a buyers’ market for candidates considering a job move – and they are definitely window-shopping for the best offer out there!

We brought together experts in recruitment to share the strategies that are working for them right now. Follow the link to watch the webinar recording.

Our speakers were: 

• Emma Gunton, MD of Waddington Brown HR Recruitment. Working with organisations to recruit HR professionals in Suffolk, Essex and Cambridge

• Nicola Rogers, Talent Acquisition Manager at Redgate Software who support 91% of companies in the Fortune 100

• Ruth Cadman, HR Director at Harwich Haven Authority who are responsible for safely navigating the largest container ships in the world into port at Felixstowe.

Between them they are managing niche roles, emerging technologies, heritage industries and, central to all of that, the changing behaviours of both candidates and hiring managers.

So, what were some of the key insights they discussed?

Treat your candidates as consumers

Both Nicola and Ruth spoke about how potential recruits are researching companies more now than ever and having a clear presence of who your organisation is, what you stand for, what you offer and how you make an impact is crucial. Ruth pointed out that employees want to believe they can learn, aspire and achieve in a new role – that purpose means more to them, as well as earn a wage.

Coach hiring managers to be part of the outreach 

It might not feel natural for all hiring managers, but Nicola made the point that peer-led conversations have a dramatically positive effect when you are recruiting into skilled positions.

Hiring managers being visible on networking platforms, being open to conversations and approaching potential candidates has higher cut-through in some industries. Hiring managers actively sharing information about their work, achievements and the company culture also creates the positive return when candidates are doing that research on you.

Know where your candidates are, and place yourself there

Put yourself where your potential customer is. Treat recruitment in the same way that your marketing team would be positioning content for customers. The chances are the candidates you are looking for are in a job, and therefore not looking at job boards. Placing awareness of your organisations opportunities into their social networks is the ‘pull’ you need rather than the ‘push’ of traditional job ads. This then nurtures potential candidates much further in advance too.

Invest in the interview experience 

For some roles you really do need to spend time, sometimes on multiple days, to assess the skills and behaviours of a new recruit. Rather than this being an onerous exercise for the applicant, Ruth spoke about the investment they have made in their interview process for marine pilots. Candidates meet and learn from some of the best marine pilots in the world, who work with them on navigational simulators over several days. The interview process has become a learning workshop where, whether the applicant is successful or not, Ruth reports candidates come away feeling they have all improved their confidence and capability. They now have a waiting list for this highly specialised role.

What can’t your company do because of empty vacancies – what is that worth?

Business critical activities can be disrupted with open vacancies – so if you are going to market with a salary and package, spending time working out what the real cost to your organisation is will strengthen your argument when you need to attract specialised or scarce skills.

Are you not able to move on certain projects? Are your sickness rates going up because of shared workload pressures? Emma spoke about having those direct conversations about the impact of not making that recruitment a priority.

Straight re-hires are a missed opportunity 

What if you took away some of the transactional activities from a skilled role – freeing up more time for that person to do what they were trained to do? Instead of needing more of the skilled roles, you might then need different automation technology, or more generalist skills that have a wider recruitment pool.

Simply replacing like for like without looking at the opportunity to make your recruitment easier is a misplacement of energy.

Candidate motivations need to be explored

The last two years have forced each of us to examine what really brings us joy and motivation. For some of us that means more hybrid and remote working, for others they’ve realised they love the distinction between work and home.

Advertising a role where flexibility is based on outcomes rather than replacing one set of working rules for another gives your organisation a ‘people first’ perspective.

It’s the work upfront that brings success

The time you spend now with hiring managers before going to market with a role will save you so much time later down the line:

  • Who do we really need?
  • Could the role work in a different way?
  • Do we need to tap into a specialist recruiter’s network for this role?
  • What are the real ‘red lines’ for someone’s skills and experience, rather than a wish list
  • What are the what if’s when it comes to compromises? Thinking these through now stops the to-ing and fro-ing
  • What does you hiring manager really know about the job market – and how you can help them understand how to behave differently.

This work is particularly pertinent for hiring managers who are expecting a shortlist of patient candidates who will wait for an interview day. They’ll be off the market well before that day comes.

If you see one person, and that one person can solve your problem. Hire them. 

If you are recruiting for an HR role in Essex, Suffolk or Cambridgeshire, talk to our specialist team. Contact us on 01473 359159 or email enquiries@waddingtonbrown.co.uk