Top 10 biggest recruitment trends in 2020
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Recruitment Trends in 2020

LinkedIn’s 2020 predictions for the world really got us thinking.

How will the macro trends, determined by such a rich data set (their entire 2019 content) play out in the world of recruitment?

The last decade has been the most transformative the recruitment industry has experienced. From the tools we now use, the processes we apply to even the language we speak – it has all changed.

A so-called RecTech revolution has impacted the way we attract, acquire, onboard, understand, manage & even reward talent. The cumulative impact has been a technology network effect. That is, not investing or engaging online is simply no longer an option.

Given that each company, department, and job can require its own unique approach, the need to enable more people with these technologies and tools has never been so apparent.

However, when you contrast all of the influencing forces impacting the job market economy against the vast range of solutions providers out there – it’s frankly mind-blowing! And depending who you talk too – better or worse than ever.

 

Has RecTech wrecked us or just rewired us?

Keeping up with this pace of change and interpreting it so that you can hire or get hired in the most effective & efficient way possible – seems impossible.

However, the attraction, development and retention of the best talent are still listed as a massive concern for the vast majority of CEOs. As Mark Benioff, Founder and CEO of SalesForce, explained;

“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do”.

The emergence of “employer”, “personal” and now “career” branding further demonstrates a radical shift in the world of recruitment.

So that’s my prelude, now let’s make sense of what I believe are the top 10 most significant trends.

 

 

 

1. Evidence based recruitment to become the new standard

There are many stages within the recruitment lifecycle where better decisions could be made. Unless you are on the OJ Simpson trial, the best choices are based on real evidence. In the world of business that proof is in the form of extensive data sets, aka “Big Data”.

The evidence-based recruitment trend will mostly be delivered by technology. AI, Big Data, Machine Learning, Predictive Algorithms & other cognitive technologies are going to enable this shift.

Thinking more intelligently about how we do what we do, based on facts, without slowing us down – will only make us better.

 

2. The top perk that professionals will want.

Several significant 2019 surveys confirmed that the perk that professionals appreciate and desire most – is time.

Expect the following “time perks” to continue and expand:

  • Flexible hours
  • Burnout breaks
  • Remote working
  • Coworking spaces

With cloud computing the norm and collaboration tools like Asana and Slack, the time sink of commuting every-day is being addressed. There is no more unequivocal evidence to support this than the adoption of Microsoft 365.

Even the company most synonymous with the desktop & office has its head firmly in the cloud.

 

3. What prospective employees value most.

Anyone born pre 1980 will remember a corporate world of reputable and trusted brands to work for and the concept that a “job for life” being desirable.

However, between 2000-2010, Gen X and Y shifted employee mindsets towards a “cool culture” as the most influential factor when looking for a job. Initially, this manifested itself in the form of egg-shaped chairs, casual Fridays, ping pong and a beer fridge.

Over the last 10-years, we have seen cultural trends evolve even further. This reflects the influence of the millennials, many of whom – now in their thirties – are calling the shots. And it’s more likely to be double expresso over tequila shots.

 

This generation has shifted corporate culture from “cool” to “caring”

The beer fridge has been switched out to a smoothie machine and healthy eating options. Company happy hours? How about discounted or subsidised health club memberships and access to a range of wellness and mental health-related initiatives.

The newer generation genuinely cares about the environment and want to work for companies that take environmental issues and corporate responsibility seriously.

They also have no time for management speak, waffle words and lip service. Any divergence in the public image and the company culture will be exposed by employees anonymously via social media and platforms like Glassdoor.

Even a whiff of “David Brentitus” will be remedied with a level of ridicule that Ricky Gervais would be proud of. In an era where the Clickarazzi can make even the smallest infection go viral, keeping it real is the only way to win.

An authentic & caring culture might seem like a “nice to have” to many leaders, but the trend towards “must-have” is in full effect. If you want the minds of the next wave of bright young talent, you must first understand their hearts.

We have effectively moved from a ‘Cool’ to ‘Caring’ culture. The working environment has replaced the ‘family’ in terms of ‘who will look after me’.

 

4. Brexit

At the point of writing this article, we are just a couple of days away from the 31st Jan deadline.

Markets do not like uncertainty, and the employment market is no different. I think 2018 took the brunt of the Brexit negativity with companies investing more in talent acquisition in 2019. However, this bad break up is not over.

Brexit is the single most potent force that could affect the stability of the British economy over the next 12months. Continued whispers of an economic recession refuse to go away. And subsequent caution and procrastination may resume when it comes to spending money on talent acquisition.

I am, however, relatively optimistic that we will grind out an acceptable deal with Europe and secure a good trade agreement with the US & other international partners. Hopefully, in 12 months, uncertainty will be replaced with optimism and Boris saying, “I told you so”.

 

5. Plugging the skills gap

Internal training, upskilling & reskilling programs combined with a far more proactive long term apprenticeship and graduate recruitment program that recruits from ground level up, seems to be the only reliable and sensible approach to plugging the skills gap.

Continuous increases in salary and the use of contract workers can not be the long term strategy. The competitiveness of organisations will continue to suffer if labour costs and price pressure are not rationalised with more proactive and forward-thinking workforce strategy.

In a rapidly changing, technology-driven world, it is very easy for individuals to get left behind. The government must anticipate this problem and policy must keep up with reality – even if it’s virtual.

New technology entrants focusing heavily on next-generation features, including social and video learning, microlearning and learner engagement have disrupted the traditional LMS (Learning Management System) market over the last few years.

Look for the emergence of Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs) to see where this market is heading in the future.

 

6. The role of AI in recruitment (and recruitment tech)

AI continued to make a significant impact on the recruitment environment last year and is set to continue for years to come.

Just as robotics has shifted mechanical tasks away from human beings, AI has the potential to impact so-called knowledge workers. Reskilling programs that are run either within colleges or the workplace can help address these issues.

Any company that fails to see the overall and ongoing role that variants of AI will bring to the table will undoubtedly get left behind. Burning Glass has demonstrated that AI is no longer a buzz in this industry – it’s in play today.

2020 will “clearly see” more technology platforms embrace and incorporate AI. Also, watch out for a new variant of AI dripping into our consciousness as Quantum AI joins the conversation over the next few years.

“Quantum recruiting” – you heard it here first!

 

7. The new-look independent recruiter

Independent recruiters and HR professionals that deliver recruitment services directly to corporations will start to benefit from the lower costs of Talent Acquisition and HR Technology. While most already understand the benefits, they are put off by what the perceived investment would have on a “Me Ltd” business model.

The reward to the (early adopter) recruiters will be that more clients will that want to work with them. The independent recruiter model makes sense in the right situation. By adding a technology benefit (usually reserved for teams), it will make even more sense and therefore more money for the freelance professional.

The advantage to the client will be a deeper external recruitment partnership that can provide a more comprehensive range of recruitment & HR services.

Advanced recruitment platforms and tools such as Smart Recruit Online can become the cornerstone of the independent 2020 recruiter’s service offering.

 

8. Wellbeing, Mental Health, Diversity & Inclusion

High on the agenda for many companies are issues such as wellbeing, mental health, and diversity.

We believe that 2020 will trend away from a reactionary box-ticking approach to these critical issues – to a more proactive mindset.

Depression and anxiety alone cost the global economy more than $1 trillion in lost productivity every year, according to the World Health Organization.

As the millennial’s move from the management to the executive level of the corporate world – expect their values and concerns to permeate only further.

 

 

9. Highly configurable centralisation recruitment software

Most of us are aware of and probably already use an ATS or HRIS system for managing recruitment activity.

What you may or may not know is that ATS and HRIS systems don’t really do meaningful talent attraction. Or at least they do it poorly and in most cases are actually counter-productive to a direct hiring strategy. They also offer minimal configuration and customisations are usually very slow and very expensive.

Unwitting users are often stuck with a complicated, over-engineered one size fits all platform for several years. Modern recruitment platforms are cloud-based, plug & play, and acts like a configurable web application rather than a website. Think of a mobile device where each feature that you want to use is downloaded and activated like an app.

Next-generation software platforms are designed to be far more proactive and effective when it comes to talent attraction. They are simpler to use, provide a better candidate experience and cost a fraction of the price of an ATS or HRIS service. However, before you rush to throw away your ATS. First, look at whether the system you are considering can complement what you already have.

 

The recruitment ecosystem is fragmented. Centralisation systems are evolving to help users embrace and utilise the ever-changing best in class tools and services.

Despite the marketing hype, the idea that a single technology platform will be the “total” end to end solution – now and forever – will continue to trend towards nonsense.

A single dashboard that consolidates and generates management information from a dynamic technology stack should be the preferred end game.

 

10. Tech providers to deliver complementary services

I will paint the scene. You sign up for an expensive ATS or HRIS. Once the system is installed and you’re trained to use it, it’s as if the vendor no longer has any interest in you.

But now you’re signed up for the next 3 years. And that’s the SaaS model and good luck trying to get someone on the phone who can actually help.

Sound familiar?

Servicing models that take a proactive role in ensuring that users continue to get the most out of technology will be the trend as customer churn becomes the focus. Customer acquisition is only as powerful as customer retention when it comes to growth.

Beyond ‘services’, expect a commitment to performance becoming a vital feature of the current business models. This will, in turn, change the mentality of the vendor in terms of the ongoing development & support of their technology and customers.

Vendors becoming accountable for what their tech delivers is what the market wants.

Solutions providers understand that adapting and supporting an evidence-based approach to the processes that are applied will influence and optimise desired outcomes when using their systems. And we are back to prediction number 1 – Evidence based recruitment will become the norm.

Article was written by Mark Stephens and Simon Billsberry.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers a multi-award-winning talent acquisition software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable cloud-based platform integrated with multiple screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can do for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book a demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


5 Signs That You Are Interviewing a Bad Candidate
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

5 Things To Look Out For During An Interview by Mark Stephens

When interviewing applicants it can sometimes be easy to get carried away and miss the warning signs, especially if you actually like the individual sitting in front of you. However, recruiting the right people means ruthlessly discarding those that don’t meet the minimum standards.

Here are 5 critical items to look out for when you run your next interview:

 

1. They haven’t prepared for the interview

As an absolute minimum, any individual attending an interview should have visited your website, know a little bit about you, and be able to explain what it is that you do. If they don’t know these basics, then how can they put forward a strong case as to why you should hire them?

 

2. They don’t ask questions

Some people are very good at responding to interview questions and articulating what they think you want to hear, but anyone that is serious about establishing a successful career with you will have plenty of questions for you and not just at the end of the interview. Each time you ask the applicant a question, this is a great opportunity for the best candidates to respond with questions of their own.

 

3. No depth to their answers

Weak candidates and those that might have expanded upon the truth in their CV’s have very little depth, and this is relatively easy to establish. Behavioural interviewing techniques will allow you to ask several layers of questions around the original question and when people lack genuine knowledge, understanding and experience, they tend to come unstuck. When you take this approach they generally start to waffle. Look for eyes that look to the candidate’s right when responding. This is an obvious sign that they are tapping into the creative side of their brain to make up an answer.

 

Candidate Behaviour

 

4. They see their job as 9-5

Some jobs are for plodders, but when most of us recruit, we want dynamic, energetic, self-motivated people who can take on responsibility and treat your company and customers with care and attention and grow with the company. The reward for this is longevity, stability, respect, progress, responsibility and remuneration that should increase appropriately. To progress faster requires more educational input and that should not stop within the confines of a working day. People who do not invest in themselves, through self-learning, reading, courses and training will only ever likely be plodders.

 

5. They don’t accept responsibility for their mistakes

During the interview, you’ll want to ask about a time when they had to handle a difficult or awkward situation at work and how they resolved it. You can also ask them about their previous working relationships, especially those with managers that might have held them back.

People who blatantly blame others for their own lack of success or failures will bring that blame culture and mentality into your organisation.

 

Screening

Getting applicants to complete a behavioural assessment ahead of an interview is a great way to help identify cultural and behavioural areas of potential conflict.

At SRO we use a fantastic tool called Prism Brain Mapping, that allows you to benchmark the most critical behavioural and cultural elements associated with the job and when candidates complete a questionnaire designed to encourage them to highlight the behaviours that are most critical to them and that motivate them, we get a clear indication of where those areas of potential conflict are.

These tools are an amazing interview aid and encourage the recruiter to dig in the right areas and uncover the areas of risk relating to that candidate, in regards to the job you are considering them for.

Many online tools that can be activated within your talent acquisition system will help minimise the risk of hiring the wrong people and help to ensure that interviews stay on point.

About the Author:

Mark Stephens

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last seven years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

His company, Smart Recruit Online, have been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months and currently hold the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable software platform integrated with multiple selection and screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book a demo

 

 

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


Is this the most highly endorsed recruitment service in the UK?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Is this the most highly endorsed recruitment service in the UK? by Mark Stephens.

Having successfully completed more than 500 customer feedback surveys in the last 5 years, we can now confirm that 98% of all Smart Recruit Online (SRO) customers gave the maximum 5 out of 5 ratings against their onboarding and customer support services. 94% of all SRO users gave a 5 out of 5 satisfaction rating for the platform capability and ease of use, and 91% of all SRO users gave top marks against the quality of applications and against successful outcomes achieved.

 

Talent Attraction

 

Leading the way for Customer Service

Also, over 400 individual customer testimonials received to date confirm these numbers, with the majority referring to SRO as the most effective method of direct hiring that they had ever experienced and many sharing how they felt about the ease of use and extremely high levels of user adoption. Almost every testimonial received, refers to the exceptional levels of customer experience, with one national company Director, even going as far as saying that it was the best customer experience that he had ever experienced in over 50 years of business management.

 

Discover what we can do

We know that it is difficult choosing the right recruitment solution in what is a complex and fragmented market place with hundreds of tools, methods and services to choose from, but if you are looking for evidence of what genuinely and most consistently works best, backed up by existing customer endorsements, then SRO would like to provide you with a personalised online walkthrough of how we work, with no obligation to buy. After we complete your walkthrough, we will provide you with a full proposal and an option to run a 3 month free trial of the platform, tools and support, in order to establish your own evidence and a business case for using SRO.

If you already use an ATS, then we can demonstrate how we are able to convert your ‘recruitment management system’, into a genuine ‘Talent Attraction system’ and if you are already using another online service, why not take our ‘Pepsi challenge’. In a recent trial, we achieved nearly 10 times the number of quality applications for a national security client in the first few months.

 

More about the author

Mark Stephens

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last seven years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

His company, Smart Recruit Online, have been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months and currently hold the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn

 

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

To book a demo with us and learn more about how our technology can transform your recruiting process, click here.

Book a demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


Is the traditional CV now dead?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Is the traditional CV now dead? by Mark Stephens.

An article that I read this morning encouraged me to share a few thoughts and insights on this topic.

Increases in attrition levels and longer bedding in periods before new hires become productive are becoming more commonplace, and can often be traced back to poor or inadequate recruitment practices.

 

The limitations of a CV

Most of us understand that if you want to evaluate prospective candidates properly, then you will need to dig far deeper than the traditional CV.

You will also need to go beyond a telephone interview, and if you want your onsite face to face meeting to be effective, then you will need to do a lot more ahead of that interview, to evaluate the prospective employee that you are meeting with.

Few people will argue against the opinion that a CV is a one-dimensional document, that I like to think of as a business card, but rarely, if ever, will a CV tell you everything that you need to know about someone, before hiring them.

And yet more than 50% of hires in the UK ever go much beyond the CV, before moving onto a telephone interview and then to a face to face meeting.

 

Time for change

Deloitte, in its 2019 Global Human Capital Trends Survey, showed over 70% of employers cited recruitment as a critical business issue, and if you go back a few years to the last CIPD survey of over 1000 business owners, over 90% stated that the recruitment of staff was the most critical issue influencing effective growth within the organisation.

So it is slightly disturbing that so many recruiting businesses, fail to apply the right level of due diligence.

Recent surveys indicate that current national attrition rates are massively up and are, of course being affected by the current record low unemployment rates we are experiencing, but there is also a lot of evidence to prove that there is a direct correlation between employment longevity & new hire productivity, and the quality of due diligence performed during the applicant screening process.

 

Talent Attraction

Collecting the right information

Here is a selection of the most common forms of due diligence that can be delivered as part of your assessment process:

– Industry and Job Knowledge Tests

– Competency-Based Assessments

– Skills Assessments

– Gamification or Task Orientated Tests

– Cognitive Ability Tests

– Critical Thinking Test

– Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving

– Numerical Reasoning

– Aptitude Tests

– Cultural Alignment Profiling

– Behavioural Alignment Profiling

– Emotional Intelligence

– Team Fit

– Personality Profiling

– Presentation and Communication Profiling

– Background and Reference Checks

 

In reality, it is impossible to consider running too many of these tasks, which is why consideration needs to be given on a per role basis as to what due diligence is most appropriate to the position being recruited for, in order to provide an effective holistic assessment of the prospective employee.

The traditional CV should at best form part of a well thought out set of screening tasks and references that contribute towards the interview selection process.

Better screening can also remove the need for multiple on-site interviews, which, in my experience are often costly and unnecessary.

Decisions at face to face meetings are also often heavily driven by gut feelings, so it makes sense to do the formal groundwork before-hand.

By adopting a good talent attraction and recruitment management system as the centrepiece to your recruitment strategy, will also contribute towards applying better practices as it makes it easier and more effective to issue and draw conclusions that assist in making the best hiring decisions.

 

 

More about the author

Mark Stephens

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last seven years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

His company, Smart Recruit Online, have been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months and currently hold the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable software platform integrated with multiple selection and screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book a demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


Health, Wellbeing & Mental Health Community goes live
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Health, Wellbeing & Mental Health Community goes live by Mark Stephens.

 

Its time to take action

As a nation, we are travelling head-first into a national crisis around mental health, with the NHS and GP’s already overloaded beyond their capacity.

Subsequently, without the resources to cope, individuals are being signed off work and prescribed antidepressants at an alarming rate. This is leading to an ever-increasing number of sick days, thus impacting individual businesses and costing billions of pounds in revenue losses to the economy each year already.

Businesses cannot rely on the government to address this issue. The solution sits within the realms of corporate responsibility and unless we each take action to address this very real issue, we will undoubtedly suffer the repercussions through disruptions to workflow and productivity ourselves.

However, there is a reward for adopting a more caring culture that supports a genuine and practical approach to the wellbeing of staff, as businesses will inadvertently be establishing a more attractive cultural brand that will appeal to the future talent that they would like to attract.

 

Health and Wellbeing Events

Together with our trusted partners, we have come together to create a Health and Wellbeing Community, which will help you to address this issue. Our core team already contains more than 50 CEO’s, experts and practitioners and we are aligned with more than 50 organisations providing practical solutions across diet, health, fitness, alternative medicines, DNA research, holistic solutions, financial debt resolution, company benefit schemes and more.

Our efforts will be directed towards running regular health and wellness-themed events across the UK for Senior HR, business owners and individuals who are responsible for corporate wellbeing initiatives within their business. Giving you the chance to attend and meet with peers, practitioners, suppliers and industry professionals to hear personal stories and establish meaningful relationships.

The purpose of this group and ultimately these events is to educate businesses on how to support staff from the perspective of both mental & physical health and to share and generate practical ideas to take into your business. Ultimately leading to increased staff retention, productivity, and overall business success.

 

Health & Wellbeing Group

 

A successful launch

The launch of our Health and Wellbeing event a few weeks ago was hugely successful, hosted by Bannatyne Health & Fitness and professionally run and organised by the team at Business Live UK, we are pleased to say that the feedback has been outstanding and we are looking forward to announcing the next set of dates and locations as we take this event on a UK wide tour.

If you work in or around HR and the company you work with are looking at health, wellbeing or mental-health initiatives, then these events offer a fantastic way to explore what and who is out there providing meaningful resources and solutions. Our events are hosted in a totally relaxed non-sales environment, with free food, drink, great speakers and of course collaborations alongside industry peers.

The following video was filmed at the launch event; over 75 individual businesses attended along with 20 carefully selected industry suppliers, and our team of organisers, promoters, sponsors and speakers.

 

You can watch the video here

 

If you would like to join our Health, Wellness and Mental Health community, share ideas, get useful insights, engage with experts and stay informed about future events, then please join our community and group on LinkedIn: Here

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable software platform integrated with multiple selection and screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

 

Book a demo

 

More about the author

Mark Stephens

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last seven years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

His company, Smart Recruit Online, have been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months and currently hold the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


What Are the Hardest Jobs to Fill?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

As unemployment remained at its lowest levels since records began throughout 2018, many businesses recruiting staff felt the impact in the form of reduced applications and fewer ‘quality’ applicants. However, you may be surprised by the type of roles that struggled most last year and thanks to data provided by Indeed, we can now reveal the 10 jobs that proved most difficult to fill last year, based on the length of time that they remained ‘open’ or ‘vacant’. And also the 10 job titles with the highest number of hard to fill vacancies.

We also have average salaries being advertised against both sets of data.

Most people realise that there are shortages across many niche skills within their sectors and generally speaking the more niche or highly skilled the role is, the more challenging the recruitment can be, seems to work as a general rule of thumb.

 

Talent Attraction

 

However, more mainstream roles are also being affected, with unprecedented levels of competition, forcing businesses to get far more organised, recruitment savvy or raise their salaries and rates in order to compete.

The role that struggled most to attract applications and stayed vacant for longest in 2018 was that of an optometrist. which has subsequently proven to be the most difficult to fill, with 68.79% of ‘Optometrist’ vacancies posted on Indeed over the past year remaining unfilled for 60 days or more.

According to the Indeed data, just over half of all solicitor roles were still vacant after 60 days, and roles for surgeons was just behind on 46.32%.

The increased number of many roles that are struggling can be put down to a combination of unemployment levels, uncertainty around Brexit, a lack of the right skills coming through from the Education pipeline and the tech boom.

What surprises me most, when I hear all the noise around skills shortages and how businesses are struggling to recruit, even against mainstream roles, is the lack of any sort of strategic change taking place in order to adapt, or the obvious resignation to their own inability to recruit under the current conditions, also the lack of vision to work around the issues they face and very little long term strategy to future proof against a continuation of the problem, given that we have experienced successive years of skills shortages now.

 

Jobs with the highest percentage of vacancies that were ‘hard to fill’ in the past year

Rank Job Title % of vacancies that are ‘hard to fill’ Average Annual Salary
1 Optometrist 68.79 £50,000
2 Solicitor 51.4 £45,000
3 Surgeon 46.32 £41,000
4 Software Engineer 41.8 £40,000
5 Software Architect 41.78 £70,000
6 Front End Developer 40.31 £42,500
7 System Engineer 40.24 £37,500
8 Flight Attendant 40.06 £23,000
9 Software Test Engineer 39.86 £40,000
10 Full Stack Developer 39.76 £47,500

 

 

In the first list of roles provided by Indeed, that highlights those job titles that have suffered most from a long term inability to attract the right people, I do get that they have the double challenge of being both niche and suffering from a shortage of available talent in the market, but these roles have appeared in the top 25 most in-demand jobs for the last 2-3 years or more now and I believe that long term strategies to attract and grow direct from education, as well as cross-training people where possible, are required.

Business needs to come to terms with the fact that this is the status quo while we enjoy low levels  of unemployment within high tech and innovative environments

As a short term fix, companies will need to be more aggressive and dynamic in their approach to recruiting the talent that is out there, being more competitive on salary/package and certainly they will need to up their game and wow applicants throughout the application process. In most cases, there is some suitable talent available, but in order to deliver a successful recruitment campaign, organisations are going to need to do more to get found and then persuade those individuals to join their organisation. They will need to adapt and influence candidates to believe that it is their opportunity that stands out.

Indeed have also determined which roles have the highest number of ‘hard to fill’ postings and this presents a slightly different set of challenges that are for most companies a little easier to address.

Mainstream roles, such as ‘Cleaners’ account for almost 3% of the jobs currently listed on Indeed that are classed as ‘hard to fill’. However, a total of 11.53% of all cleaner jobs are being classed as ‘hard to fill,’ because the overall quantity of available and experienced cleaners is the issue placing this relatively unskilled role at the top of the list.

Support staff make up 2.15% of ‘hard to fill’ jobs, chefs make up 2.06% and customer service representatives come in with 1.91%, while care assistants complete the top five, making up 1.677% of all ‘hard to fill’ jobs listed.

 

Jobs with the highest proportion of all ‘hard to fill’ postings in the UK in the past year

Rank Job Title Jobs with the most ‘hard to
fill’roles(by % market share)
Average Annual Salary
1 Cleaner 2.95 £16,640
2 Support Staff 2.15 £17,680
3 Chef 2.06 £18,408
4 Customer Service Representative 1.91 £18,000
5 Care Assistant 1.68 £18,221
6 Customer Assistant 1.60 £19,396
7 Registered Nurse 1.12 £35,360
8 Server 1.05 £17,722
9 Delivery Driver 1.00 £18,616
10 Sales Assistant 0.97 £16,432

 

 

Among many of the roles where candidates are proving most elusive are actually entry-level jobs and what could be considered generalist positions.

Given there is already difficulty in filling these roles, there is rising concern among employers that post-Brexit constraints on the ability of EU citizens to work in the UK could make it even harder for British bosses to source workers.

Businesses will need to make sure that their recruitment teams are operating as effectively as they could, maximising exposure of jobs, through more expansive and more intelligent online advertising, influencing applicants to apply and then operating more efficiently, while nurturing and coercing individuals through the selection process.

Smaller companies should consider investing in recruitment management systems in order to compete for the best talent.

 

3 month free trial 3 month free trial, recruiting software

 

About the author

Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens has over 20 years of business management experience, across Sales, Marketing, Recruitment and Technology environments. Mark is a recent winner of the Chambers of Commerce award for innovation in business. He is a serial entrepreneur and is the founder of several companies including Smart Recruit Online and The HR & Recruitment Resource Library.

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last seven years he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

Mark also delivers keynote talks and training to recruitment teams in both public and private sector organisations, on writing better advertising copy, targeting passive candidates and understanding candidate behaviours online.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn

 

Offering support for both recruiters and on-site HR workforces, Smart Recruit Online helps businesses find and hire the best talent more efficiently. To see how SRO can improve your talent acquisition, campaign management, and candidate screening workflows, book a demo today. 

Book a demo

 

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


The Evolution of the Recruitment Sector
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

The recruitment sector is changing like never before and at a significant rate, with lots of new emerging technology and tools, a growing number of rare skills, demanding customers with varying objectives and significant changes to the way that candidates behave within the process.

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the Agency recruitment model is going need to adapt and change with it, or simply get left behind.

I’ve never been a fan of the contingency model and as a recruiter many moons ago, I learned quickly to move clients towards exclusivity or retained as quickly as possible. Having said that, according to figures provided by REC, more than 80% of agency recruiters still operate this way and offer very little or anything outside of that contingency model.

 

Talent Attraction

 

Skills shortages over the last few years have kept agency recruiters relatively safe, but as we see more spontaneous recruitment related activity and passive searching by candidates as a growing phenomena and a new breed of low-cost multi-functional ATS enter the market, I expect to see more and more companies execute their own direct hire solutions, either internally or via their dedicated recruitment partners.

These dedicated recruitment partners are I believe the modern day agency recruiter, who probably left their parent company to set up on their own and adopted a modern recruitment management system as the centrepiece to their flexible range of recruitment offerings.

The contingency recruiter of yesterday, cold calling clients, searching CV databases and networking on Linkedin, is being replaced with the modern day recruiter, armed to the teeth with the latest and best tools and tactics for finding people, engaging with them, screening them and placing them, not mention that they can do it faster and at a lower cost.

They don’t provide one single solution, they have several and are effectively a walking recruitment kit box that can adapt to each and every clients recruitment needs.

The modern day recruiter will still do contingency, but it’s just one of many solutions within their inventory and when they do offer that, it will be on a more exclusive basis. Effectively, they will start to get paid for everything that they do.

Is your recruitment agency ready or perhaps it already has a clear plan of action, so that your client base doesn’t start to erode away?

At the centrepiece to your strategy should be a technology solution that plugs into your CRM, taking prospects and turning them into customers, providing a range of solutions such as Media Buying, Candidate Sourcing, Screening, fixed price solutions, technology and tools (a good ATS/recruitment management system) and then your contingency, executive search and retained services.

 

 

We also need to train our recruiters to be more consultative and to develop genuine partnerships rather than the fluffy PSL type arrangements that insult you as a genuine business partner.

Mark Stephens has over 20 years of business management experience, across Sales, Marketing, Recruitment and Technology environments. Mark is a recent winner of the Chambers of Commerce award for innovation in business. He is a serial entrepreneur and is the founder of several companies including Smart Recruit Online and The HR & Recruitment Resource Library.

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment sector, both client and agency side. For the last seven years he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

Mark also delivers keynote talks and training to recruitment teams in both public and private sector organisations, on writing better advertising copy, targeting passive candidates and understanding candidate behaviours online.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book a demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


A new Breed of Recruiter for 2019
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

A new Breed of Recruiter for 2019 by Mark Stephens

The recruitment agency sector has always enjoyed growth expansion, as a constant flow of recruiters breaks away from their parent companies to set up on their own.

Many of these new recruitment agencies fail to establish themselves, but there is always a new batch of entrepreneurial individuals ready to give it a go.

It will be those start-up individuals that will, in my opinion, start the transformation of the traditional Executive Search agency recruiter into an Independent Recruitment Professional, that delivers a much wider range of recruitment solutions.

Agency recruitment, on the whole, is very one dimensional, with contingency or retained search being the primary or in most cases, the only offering.

 

Enter the independent recruitment professional of 2019 and beyond

This new breed of recruiters will provide a range of services and will support a much wider range of recruitment solutions in support of their clients.

The new breed of recruiter will have access to a range of recruitment advertising media solutions and will typically explore and offer more low-cost recruitment options with clients before the contingency word even enters the conversation.

The independent recruiter of the future will appeal to a much wider range of clients and give the recruiter a wider range of revenue-generating opportunities. When the opportunity to work on a more traditional agency basis arrives there is likely to be far more exclusivity in the first instance at least.

 

Company Culture

 

Clients are savvy enough to realise that there are plenty of recruiting options to choose from before giving a vacancy to an agency recruiter, but they often do not have the time, resources or even knowledge of what the best solution out there and for them and this is where the modern independent recruiter can step in and fill a void.

Lower fees, but rewards that are paid more frequently and for all work done will become the foundation of the new breed of recruiters business model; with placement fees for contingency / retained executive search placements being the bonus payments that make the recruiters job more commercially rewarding and that will ultimately fund their future growth as a business.

I’m so convinced that this will become the norm,  that we have started developing our own range of tools and services to support this model, providing recruiters with functionality that replaces the traditional CRM, the multi poster, The ATS and aggregates the best in breed tools that are available to the recruiter, and even includes media buying services.

 

About the Author

Smart recruit Online CEO Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens has over 20 years of business management experience, across Sales, Marketing, Recruitment and Technology environments. Mark is a recent winner of the Chambers of Commerce award for innovation in business. He is a serial entrepreneur and is the founder of several companies including F10,  Smart Recruit Online and The HR & Recruitment Resource Library.

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last seven years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

Mark also delivers keynote talks and training to recruitment teams in both public and private sector organisations, on writing better advertising copy, targeting passive candidates and understanding candidate behaviours online.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn. 

 

More from Mark Stephens

If you found this article interesting or useful, then you might enjoy Mark’s last prediction article – 5 biggest behavioural recruitment predictions for the years ahead

Smart Recruit Online – partnered with Talisman Communications

 

Other recent articles published by Mark:

15 predictions for the year ahead

Interview no-shows and why they are becoming more common

Is simply “caring” the new ultimate strategy for business success?

Questions to Ask Your Recruitment Technology or Service Provider

The big disconnect between HR/Recruiters and the business

Measuring the cost effectiveness of your advertising channels

 

Offering support for both recruiters and on-site HR workforces, Smart Recruit Online helps businesses find and hire the best talent more efficiently. To see how SRO can improve your talent acquisition, campaign management, and candidate screening workflows, book a demo today. 

Book a demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


8 Reasons Recruitment Within the Health & Care Sector isn’t Working
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

8 Reasons Recruitment Within the Health & Care Sector isn’t Working by Mark Stephens

We’ve been working closely with more than 100 Health & Care organisations over the past 18 months, and we have gained significant insights and an understanding of the most common issues and challenges facing people recruiting within this sector.

Recruitment strategy is becoming vitally important across many industry sectors where there is a shortage of skills, but the care sector, in particular, seems to be in turmoil and many companies and organisations almost at the point of meltdown.

We have dedicated the last 10 years to developing recruitment solutions for business and established our own online service as the most consistently effective method for recruiting staff directly, without the use of any third party services, anywhere in the UK.

We are proud have become the UK’s market leader for online recruitment in nearly all vertical markets. But our solution is no miracle and in truth we are just doing things more diligently that our competitors.

What we do has been driven by research, the analysis of data and by developing a deeper understanding of human behaviours, when it comes to recruitment.

Around two years ago we started working with a few organisations in the care sector and our consultative approach uncovered a number of serious recruitment related problems that seemed endemic of the sector and yet the good news is, that once we applied our processes and solutions to those organisations we were able to make significant improvements towards resolving the lions share of their issues.

All sectors have common challenges, but the health and care sectors seem to have quite a few (more than most) and I wanted to use this article to highlight those that we come across most regularly.

 

Common Challenges

– A lack of funding for job advertising. (yet the same companies are using agencies to provide staff)

– Salary budgets are not competitive. (Yet the same companies are paying double to recruitment agencies)

– Seasonal talent shortages. (Even though they know its coming, many companies make no advanced preparation to deal with this)

– Lack of time/resources for managing recruiting internally. (Again leading to an overreliance on agencies)

– Unattractive/restrictive location for potential employees. (I was surprised how many out of town institutions struggle with this)

– High attrition levels, especially in the first 12 months. (Too many organisations are recruiting the wrong people culturally. Add in poor onboarding, training and a lack of a clear career roadmap, it really isn’t that surprising)

– High levels of competition for care staff. (There are staff out there and although there are not enough to go round, we have been amazed how many companies are doing recruitment so badly).

 

So here are the 8 most common factors that contribute towards making the recruitment of staff so much harder than it needs to be and a few little insights into where positive changes could be made.

 

1.Your adverts suck!

When we assessed over 200 Health & Care job adverts posted across the 5 largest UK job boards and measured them against the most essential criteria that determines whether a job advert is likely to succeed we found that 90% of those job adverts failed miserably.

Most adverts we read sounded like a job specification rather than an advert promoting a career move and most failed to follow any sensible structure. Nearly all the adverts were written using a very formal style or tone that was uninspiring, and the majority of job adverts did not place anywhere near enough emphasis on what the opportunity was for the prospective employee. Statistically we know that over 90% of job searches are performed by people who already have a job and these people will not apply to a job just because they think that they can do it. They need to believe that the role sounds better than what they have already got, or they will vote with their feet and they wont hit the apply button. Oh, and don’t forget to use a job title in your adverts that candidates are actually going to search for.

 

how to write outstanding job adverts

 

2.Job adverts were usually posted on the wrong channels

Around 75% of all online job-related searches start in Google and it was obvious that most advertisers hadn’t tested their job title and location in Google to see which media channels were most likely to generate the best results.

The lion’s share of search traffic will click on one of the first four natural search results that Google or any other search engine generates.

Here is the wake-up call for the Health sector: Health and Care Job related search traffic clicking into more traditional job boards exceeds the number of people visiting NHS jobs many times over. In a survey of more than 100 applicants who had applied for a nursing role for an NHS trust, more than 70% said that they started their search in a search engine and visited several traditional job advertising media channels before going into NHS jobs. It might be free, but it isn’t where the majority of online search traffic is going.

 

3.Your Recruitment process is far too slow or long

Over 90% of candidates applying online are already in employment and according to significant research performed by Indeed, involving more than 250,000 candidates, over 70% said that they were assessing the company that they had just applied to by their experience of the companies recruiting and interview process.

In the care sector, if you take more than 48 hours to respond to a new application, there is a 25% chance that they are no longer available.

If you take more than one week to respond to an application even if it is to arrange an interview, then there is a 50% chance that the candidate is no longer interested.

This can get worse, especially for harder to fill roles and in many cases we discovered that typically a nurse who has just uploaded their CV into a job board, in order to apply for a job will have received more than 5 job related telephone calls within the first 48 hours.

 

4.Your Recruitment Strategy is all about you

Over 90% of people performing job related searches are currently in work. (yes I know I already said that but it needs repeating again). Passive applicants need nurturing and romancing to win them over, whether that is in your job advert or in the way that you engage with them during the recruitment process. If your adverts or selection process is all about screening out unsuitable applicants, then you will not attract the best candidates for your job or even if you do, they will potentially drop out during the selection process.

 

5.You are not performing your due diligence

There are two equally important factors that you need to assess candidates against:

The tools and processes for making these assessments need to be chosen carefully and must be deployed in the right way. By not performing due diligence you will undoubtedly run the risk of recruiting people that under-perform, become disengaged and ultimately leave. By delivering these tasks inappropriately you will put off some of the best candidates who will subsequently drop out of the process. High levels of attrition in the first year of employment within the care sector can often be put down to poor cultural and behavioural alignment and a bums on seat recruitment strategy.

 

6.The best applicants are not buying into you or your organisation

According to the CIPD, over 90% of business owners agreed that recruiting the very best people they could each time that they have a vacancy, was probably the most influential aspect to future commercial growth. So why do we not approach the recruitment of staff appropriately?

Do you and the organisation build a relationship with the best applicants? Were the best applicants invited in to tour the facility and meet other people as part of your onboarding process?

Are you genuinely in touch with what the most important aspects are for candidates deciding on what new job to take in your sector?

It is a massive decision for most people to quit their current job and so do not expect candidates to accept an offer just because you made it to them.

 

7.Your Recruitment process is counter-productive

If you are re-directing applications from your job adverts to a career page or to an application form, then you will be losing over 50% of the candidates that hit the apply button.

If you can get candidates to hit the apply button, then you have done the hardest bit, so why redirect them to a pre-screening questionnaire? If you are doing this, then statistically you are losing between 70 and 85% of candidates that wanted to apply to your vacancy.

It gets worse… Research proves that the most passive (and probably the best) applicants are the most likely to drop out.

I also want to add in to the mix, that multiple stage interview processes can also lose great applicants. Unless the level or the complexity of the role determines it (and that usually means the salary will reflect this too) then more than one face to face interview places the best applicants at risk. (I should note that on some occasions I would support a second interview presentation and a meet the team type exercise). However, for most roles getting the candidate to keep coming back is quite frankly unnecessary and reflects badly on the companies organisational ability.

 

8.There is a disconnect between the recruiting team and the business

Most Coalface recruiters will admit that getting the job filled quickly and efficiently is their top priority.

But how can a business deploy an effective process for always recruiting the best talent, when the people on the coalface are prioritising just getting the job filled?

Until the business starts to influence and reward the behaviours that change this mentality they will never achieve their objective.

 

About the Author

Smart recruit Online CEO Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens has over 20 years of business management experience, across Sales, Marketing, Recruitment and Technology environments. In 2013 Mark won the Chambers of Commerce award for innovation in business. He is a serial entrepreneur and is the founder of several companies including F10,  Smart Recruit Online and The HR & Recruitment Resource Library.

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last seven years he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

Mark also delivers keynote talks and training to recruitment teams in both public and private sector organisations, on writing better advertising copy, targeting passive candidates and understanding candidate behaviours online.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn. 

 

Offering support for both recruiters and on-site HR workforces, Smart Recruit Online helps businesses find and hire the best talent more efficiently. To see how SRO can improve your talent acquisition, campaign management, and candidate screening workflows, book a demo today. 

Book a demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


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