How to recruit during low unemployment

The market has changed; we’ve hit a 42-year unemployment low. Candidates are getting pickier, and with so much competition out there, companies need to step up their game in order to compete for the best talent.

First things first: don’t panic. No seriously, stop panicking, and throwing money at candidates like there’s no tomorrow in an attempt to buy their love. It’s silly at the best of times, and ultimately, you will end up pricing yourself out of the race altogether.

Your candidates are still out there, however the vast majority of them are now passive. They need to be coaxed out of their comfy chairs into your comfier ones, which takes a bit of patience, and some expert-level candidate management. Disclaimer – make sure you check that your salaries are in line with market averages first. If they are not, well, at least now you know what’s going wrong…

So, if you can’t throw money at the problem, what can you do? We suggest you take a long hard look at yourself!
Okay not yourself; you as a person, I’m sure, are perfect. But your benefits packages, employer branding, and candidate experience will need a quick spruce up.

Let’s cover the candidate experience issue first, that should be easy enough to fix. How long does it take you to reply to their application? Are you giving specific, tangible, and constructive feedback? If you’re taking too long to reply, and responding with “no thanks” when you do, all you’ll get is bad press. And no, not all press is good press in the candidate market.

The easiest way to improve your candidate experience is to prioritise recruitment. When you’ve received some applications, move quickly. With so much competition out there, people won’t be sticking around to hear from you six weeks down the line.

Moving one along on the difficulty scale now: benefits packages. What do you actually offer your employees? Pension schemes don’t count. And your Christmas party will not sway people over into your ranks, however great it is.

You don’t have to offer all the things under the sun; try asking your current team members what they want as it could be a good indication of what your applicants might be after.

Last but by no means least is your employer brand. Get a blog going on your website. Tell the world why you’re so great to work for (don’t make things up though). Take pride in your job specs, and your social media pages.

And obviously not everyone can take their team out to Maldives as a sales incentive, but getting them out for a drink on Friday will create a bit of a buzz too. Take care of the details, and the bigger picture will paint itself.

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Originally published 24th July 2018