As an industry, recruitment is constantly evolving – and applicants’ standards for potential employers have changed over the years, too
The good news is the internet, social media, and tools such as video-calling software have made it easier than ever to reach the perfect candidate for a role no matter where they are based. But alongside these technological advances, somewhere along the way the power dynamic between an applicant and employer has shifted.
Historically, recruitment was often a one-sided process. Candidates were expected to showcase their skills and impress an employer to land the job. These days it’s less clear cut. We’re currently in a candidate-driven market, which means there are plenty of jobs but not enough qualified people to fill them.
This means job hunters can afford to be picky – and in turn, they expect more from their potential employers. But how to live up to those expectations and attract top quality talent?
Make the application process inclusive
Recruitment and retention within local government will always have its challenges – the usual obstacles of pay rates and career progression haven’t gone anywhere. But employers can improve their chances of hiring the best candidates by marketing themselves as a great workplace right from the beginning of the application process.
A good recruiter will be able to work with you when posting the job specification, to help minimise the risk of accidentally excluding someone from applying who could have made an excellent addition to the team.
There are a lot of potential stumbling blocks here that a recruiter should be able to advise on: they could include oversights such as not using gender neutral terms in job ads, not including information about how you promote diversity, and having a website that isn’t accessible to people with certain disabilities.
Being flexible and understanding when arranging interview times with applicants – who are very likely to have other time-consuming commitments – can also make a positive early impression with the people you’re hoping to hire.
Explain why applicants should want to work with you
Job adverts used to be fairly basic, and not stray too far away from the employer’s requirements for their ideal candidate.
Nowadays, the most effective job ads will do a much better job of marketing the employer: the team’s vision, strategy and inclusiveness policies are all potential ways to appeal to applicants.
Opening up your applicants’ pool to people who live outside the area also creates the opportunity to sell the job on its location. You could work with your recruiter to make sure your ad briefly covers the local area’s highlights – get this right and it could end up making all the difference for a candidate who’s happy to relocate and is feeling torn between two offers.
Be honest about the culture, and open to change
A workplace culture is often a key deciding factor for job hunters. As recruiters, our job involves speaking to hiring managers and other team members to get a real feel for what the culture is actually like, then relaying that to candidates.
Sometimes, this could mean the employer has to face some challenging truths – it can be hard to admit changes need to be made, but a good recruiter can help guide you through this sometimes difficult process.
A positive culture will allow employees from different backgrounds to feel safe, respected, supported, and included within the organisation. Employees don’t want to be made to feel as if they are ticking a quota, but rather that they were hired for their skills and ability.
The best recruiters can help employers think about these key areas and ensure processes are brought up to date, whether that means offering a safe haven for team members who need a place to pray or ensuring wheelchair users can access the building.
Work with specialist recruiters to benefit from vital industry knowledge
The better your recruiter understands your field, and all the specific challenges that come along with it, the better placed they’ll be to hire top-notch employees.
Whether it’s pressure from Ofsted or changes to adult social care legislation, specialist recruiters undertake ongoing training and development to ensure they can always see things from the clients’ perspective.
Engaging with the recruitment process reaps rewards
Everyone wants to attract the best talent, and a good recruiter can help you stand out from the crowd in a competitive market.
It’s worth remembering openness and honesty between recruiter and employer is a two-way street – fully engaging with the process will help us to help you and ensure everyone is happy with the outcome.
Yasin Din is Senior Consultant at Tile Hill