5 Tips to Improve Communication in the Recruitment Process
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

HR professionals need to balance a couple of very big essentials during the recruitment process. Speed and proper communication are two of those that can be challenging to implement at the same time.

Effective communication, however, plays a role in boosting effectiveness. By zooming in on the right candidates and making the onboarding process seamless.

Talent shortage is a massive issue today and almost 73 per cent of employers report difficulties in filling positions. At the same time, employee engagement is lower than ever before. Disengaged employees cost businesses up to 550 billion dollars per year – a massive amount that can be reduced through better communication about expectations and roles on both parts.

So, what does it take to make the recruitment process more informative, more tailored and more effective? Here are some of the strategies that HR professionals can rely on to improve their communication efforts.


Data Collection

Good communication is heavily dependent on going into every meeting fully prepared.

Luckily, various technologies can be employed today to gather relevant data.

The recruitment process needs to be digitized and optimized, reducing the paper clutter that HR professionals go through. When the right HR software is utilized, it can also analyze current metrics and candidate trends. This will ensure better preparedness over the course of the recruitment process.

Gathering information about candidates to advance is equally important and there are multiple strategies to employ for the purpose.


Online Communication Is More Important Than Ever Before

Everyone is online – a fact that recruiters need to account for when communicating.

If seniors can meet each other online on dating websites, recruiters also have to be present across platforms to streamline and speed up the collection of information.

Social media platforms like LinkedIn have already pretty much become the standard in the recruitment realm. It’s also common for companies to employ live streaming and video calls, making it easier for candidates to schedule interviews in a comfortable way.

The current worldwide situation and the coronavirus pandemic are changing the way we live and the way we work. It is anticipated to have a profound effect on the ways that interviews are being carried out and onboarding is occurring.

Making use of digital technologies right now will exponentially maximize communication capabilities in a cost-efficient, tailored way that all businesses can benefit from.


Maximising candidate engagement


Automation for Some Immediacy

Certain aspects of recruitment process communication can be automated, freeing up human resources for the more strategic tasks at hand.

When a human being has to go through every single step, some processes can be needlessly prolonged. This is why tech can be employed once again to automate a few steps and give HR professionals a breather.

Here’s a very simple example of how communication automation can occur.

After a person has sent in an email with their application, they could receive an automated response. The automatic email can shed a bit more light on the company culture, the onboarding process and the additional steps that the candidate will have to go through in case they’re considered relevant for the position.

While this is a very basic example of how recruitment communication can be automated, it paints a clear picture of how everything can be sped up and simplified for the purpose of simpler, quicker and more efficient processes.


Always Have a Timeline for Replies and Processes

Many people who apply for specific positions complain that they never hear back from recruiters or that they hear back too long after the initial contact.

Every recruiter needs to set strict timelines for responding and for staging out the recruitment processes.

Having automation in place will take a lot of the administrative burden off your shoulders. This way, you can focus on setting a timeline for responding and completing every single step of the candidate filtering out process.

While such timeframes are more or less guidelines, they create a sense of urgency and move the communication forward. Our minds are wired to perform better when a deadline is in place and the rule does apply to corporate communication.


Clarifying Roles within the Hiring Team

The final tip is purely organizational but it can have some impact on the quality of communication within the recruitment team itself, as well as with candidates.

It’s very important to clarify the role of every single member of the human resources department.

Very often, there are implied roles and responsibilities that may be taken on by more than one person. Not only are such processes ineffective, but they can also lead to reduced productivity and serious mistakes down the line.

If there’s a lack of clarity, the department will need to address this internally before a recruitment campaign is initiated. What’s the role of the hiring manager? Does the team have a senior leader at all? Who’s leading the interview process and how are they communicating with everybody else?

These are just a few of the key questions that need to be addressed for proper responsibility allocation. When recruitment team members have a clear idea about their role in the department, they can start communicating more effectively with everyone involved in the process.

Improved communication can speed up recruitment and save a company tons of money. The recruitment team must work to address any ambiguities as soon as possible. Such processes are far from expensive and when carried out correctly, they can contribute to profound operational efficiency in the future.


Author’s bio

Ben Brown is a freelance writer and a content manager at dating site DoULikeSenior


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

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Ben Brown

Ben Brown is freelance writer and a content manager at dating site DoULikeSenior with top notch communication  skills. He enjoys learning new things and learning more about people from all over the world. His passion and diligence enable him to consistently grow and improve both himself and his career.

De-biasing language in job adverts
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

The wording in job adverts can discourage certain segments of the population, but here’s how to de-bias them


Are you looking to recruit a ‘dynamic leader’ or a ‘committed people person’? Chances are you’re just looking for the best person for the job. But the choice of language used in the job description could be alienating and dissuading the best – and most diverse – candidates from even applying.

Recent research from Adzuna revealed that 60% of businesses showed significant male bias in the wording of their job adverts. This research was based on a study by academics Gaucher, Friesen and Kay, which found that job descriptions with more masculine wording were less likely to appeal to female applicants. It wasn’t for the most part that female candidates assumed they weren’t up to the job, the research found. Rather they – consciously or unconsciously – were less likely to feel they’d belong at such an employer and didn’t want to work for a company whose first impression was one of being biased in favour of men.

And so the debate on the issue is hotting up. The UK government recently announced a trial of gender-neutral language to define science, technology, engineering and maths apprenticeships to encourage more women to apply. A pilot will apply gender-neutral language to 12 apprenticeship standards.

But while most HR leaders are aware that biased language exists in job descriptions, many don’t know how to fix this. Part of the problem is an inability to identify biased language because of its subtlety. Words that seem innocuous are often rooted in societal conditioning.


How to use gender neutral language

A 2017 analysis of 77,000 UK job adverts by Totaljobs revealed ‘lead’ to be the most common male-gendered word used in job specs, while ‘support’ was the most used female-gendered word. According to Gaucher, Friesen and Kay, popular recruiting adjectives such as ‘ambitious, assertive, decisive, determined and self-reliant’ are male-gendered. While words like ‘committed, connect, interpersonal, responsible and yield’ are considered female-gendered. For instance, in a male-gendered job description, a company might be described as ‘a dominant engineering firm that boasts many clients’. Whereas the female-gendered version could read ‘we are a community of engineers who have effective relationships with many satisfied clients’.

So how can HR de-bias a job description to make the language gender neutral? According to Andrea Singh, HR director of BAM, the first step is to focus on gender-coded words. Job titles should be neutral and descriptive language should give equal weighting to male- and female-coded descriptors, she explains. However, Singh also points out that de-biasing a job description goes beyond replacing adjectives. Employers need to make sure that the requirements listed are actually necessary, because “women will typically only put themselves forward for a job when they meet 100% of the criteria”.

But with unconscious bias ever present there are questions around whether it’s possible for humans to conduct this de-biasing. Singh believes that with the right training it is. But she admits the best results come when software and learning are combined. “Technology brings information and suggestions to the fingertips but job specs need to feel authentic. The people writing and editing specs need to be trained to spot the bias too,” she says.

However, Richard Marr, co-founder and chief technology officer of Applied, doubts whether training a person to remove biased language can be as effective as relying on dedicated software. “The evidence is pretty weak that training is effective,” states Marr. “Processes trump training and tools trump processes. With training, you’re just expecting people to do the right thing.”

That said, the trouble with using software is that neither Applied nor its competitors AdPro and Textio currently extend their job description analysis beyond gender to include other demographics such as ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disabled or economically-disadvantaged candidates. Applied is working with Google to expand its analysis tool to incorporate ethnicity (and other dimensions). But until such tech is available removing gendered language from job descriptions can still have a positive impact on other diverse groups, Singh believes.

“I think language can be looked at in the same way. Masculine phrasing might also be off-putting for candidates from particular ethnic backgrounds where their culture doesn’t typically fit with this type of approach,” she says.

It’s a view shared by Marr. He explains that a job analysis tool will also assess the readability and density of a job description, scoring it for how many syllables, words and sentences it contains. His thinking is that the more readable the job spec, the more inclusive it is likely to be.

“There are heavy socio-economic correlations,” notes Marr. “If you look at people who have low incomes they will have less access to desktop computers and are more likely to rely on their phones and to live in a distracting environment. Each of those things adds a cumulative layer that results in something quite substantial.”

So there are certainly steps that can be taken. But, in an age in which many urge the need to move away from binary definitions of men and women, is so-called male and female language really meaningful anymore? Or is it just another theory to get bogged down by?


Looking at the impact of using more gender-neutral language


Adrian Love, recruitment director for the UK and Ireland at Accenture, certainly feels male and female language is still a ‘thing’. He points to Accenture figures showing an increase in female job applicants from 34% to 50% since 2014, thanks in part to the de-biasing of job specs.

“The impact has been very positive. But there are no silver bullets here. It has to be part of a wider inclusion and diversity programme,” he says.

It’s a similar story from Applied, with Marr reporting that the tool has helped trigger an estimated 10% to 15% swing towards female candidates. Singh also reports a significant increase in female applicants since implementing de-biasing.

“This shows that [using] gender-neutral language is affecting the talent we can attract,” she says, adding that de-biasing could now be taken further. “We now need to delve into the data in more detail… and analyse the next stages in the process to see if we have more women being shortlisted, interviewed and ultimately selected.”

After all, a gender-neutral job description can only go so far if, when a candidate is successful or unsuccessful in their application, the language in the feedback or job offer sees a return to bias.

Both Singh and Love concede that their job description writing tools are unable to analyse interview feedback. But this is where training comes into play, they say.

“Software raises awareness and can point out bias that people may miss,” says Singh, but it’s also important teams are trained to spot it elsewhere in recruitment materials.

Love agrees: “[It’s] not just about one action, it’s about looking at every element throughout the recruitment process. There are opportunities to drive inclusivity end to end, but job descriptions are important because they’re a gateway for candidates.”




Analysing bias in the Bank of England governor job advert


Later this year Bank of England governor Mark Carney will stand down. He’s the 120th white man out of 120 individuals to have ever filled the role, and so the institution has been heavily criticised for embodying a ‘stale, male and pale’ image of finance. By its own admission, it will fail to meet any of its diversity targets this year. So with calls to appoint a female to the position for the first time is the language in the role’s job description gender-biased?

Not according to Applied’s job description analysis tool. Following the appointment of diversity specialists to head up the search for Carney’s replacement, HR magazine analysed the job description to see if the bank’s commitment to diversity extends to its recruitment materials. It scored a respectable 84% for inclusivity and contained an equal amount of male-gendered and female-gendered words.

Marr says that language falls into two categories: agentic and communal. Agentic language is considered male coded. In this advert, agentic traits found were words like ‘confidence, decision, lead and determination’. The communal traits were female-coded words such as ‘responsibility, commit, communicate, and understanding’.

Marr argues that performance evaluation and leadership development should also be defined in a way that balances both sets of traits. “Companies often define success for leaders along agentic lines and measure performance and promotion that way, even though communal traits are just as valuable in leaders,” he says.

Written by Sarah Ronan for HR Magazine.


Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy. Our service also includes a dedicated copywriting service to advise on content and structure, and help you get the most out of your job adverts

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


Sarah Ronan

Written by Sarah Ronan for HR Magazine.

Now is the time for recruiters to overcome mobile tech challenges to satisfy candidate demand
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Mobile phone technology has evolved at an incredible speed over the past 10 years and recruitment is just one sector that has taken advantage of the flexibility and convenience mobile devices have to offer.

In our 2019 survey, which investigated the relationship between mobile technology and job hunting today, we discovered that 74.7% now use their phone to look for a job, compared to just 32.4% when we ran the same survey in 2014.

A 42.3% increase in just five years demonstrates just how embedded mobile devices have become in the recruitment process for candidates.

Yet, as we step into 2020, there are warning signs that it is time to step back and reassess whether the systems and technologies we use as a sector are fit for purpose going into a brand new decade.


The early warning signs

The warning sign is that while our survey showed exponential growth in the use of phones to look for a job. It also uncovered a small but significant discrepancy. Just 59.4% of survey respondents stated that ‘yes’ they would consider applying for a job directly via their mobile phone.

This 15.3% gap may not seem like a large number, yet it highlights a key area that many recruiters are failing to consider when trying to attract candidates: if the majority of candidates use their phone to look for jobs, then the mobile version of your recruitment platform had better offer a good user experience.

This clearly isn’t the case, as industry data suggests only 33% of job applications take place via a mobile phone. Where a client directs an applicant that is on a mobile device through to an application form or pre-screening page, there is typically a 60-80% drop-off.

So a desire to apply via mobile is one thing, but in practice, the picture is very different.


Common Complaints of Mobile Job Hunting

When asked what are the biggest limitations of job hunting on a mobile phone, the most popular complaint from our survey participants (29.8%) was, ‘The websites I use aren’t optimised for mobile devices’.

But what does this mean?

Poor mobile optimisation can cover many things that users find inconvenient, frustrating or confusing when looking at a website on their phone. For example:

  • The navigation tool is hidden or too small
  • Images do not adjust to the size of the phone – they may be too large or too small
  • The page takes a long time to load, especially when not connected to Wi-Fi
  • The text size appears too large or too small
  • Links do not work
  • Contact information – phone numbers or email addresses – are not hyperlinked so are not functional when clicked
  • Forms are difficult to complete

If your website suffers from any of these issues when used on a phone, then your website is not mobile-optimised.

The other complaints our respondents had were:

  • Not being able to upload my CV – 25%
  • The size of the text – 8%
  • Not being able to apply directly – 3%
  • Not having Wi-Fi – 1%




The Consequences of Inadequate Technology

A poorly-optimised website can lead to serious consequences. If a candidate grows frustrated with an online job application, they will simply stop and abandon the process altogether. While some may pick up the application at a later date on a desktop computer, recruiters must be aware that many will not.

This means that not only may it take longer to fill a job vacancy, but companies stand to miss out on securing the very best talent available. Additionally, an unwieldy website can give a poor first impression, which may also drive candidates away and into the arms of your competitors.


Gen Z talent

The age demographic at most risk of being turned off by non-mobile-friendly recruitment platforms is Gen Z. These 18-24 year olds are the most tech-savvy, with a huge 92.5% of those we surveyed stating that they look for jobs on their phones. The proportion of Gen Z who would actually apply for a job on their phone is 72.5%. While both of these statistics are higher than the national average, the discrepancy between these two figures is also much higher: 20%.

This is a dramatic shift in how younger candidates use technology as part of their job hunting. When the same survey was run five years ago, just 38% of 18-24 year olds used their phones to search for a job.

Losing a fifth of candidates is a considerable amount. Demonstrating that businesses must immediately assess their mobile offering if they are to meet the demands of the next generation of up-and-coming talent.


How to improve

If mobile is to become a more attractive and seamless platform for those who want to apply for jobs, as opposed to just searching for jobs, then there are several steps a recruitment platform or business that handles recruitment can take.

The first step is to conduct a thorough review. Go through the application process yourself as though you were a candidate, and note down any issues you spot. These issues could be how long the page takes to load or appear on your screen. A lag time of three seconds or more could be enough to turn away a candidate.

Other things include

  • The size of the text
  • The ability to upload a CV and cover letter
  • The ability to save an online application process.

The second step is to implement changes to address the issues you have found. These could include:

  • Make information easier to find
  • Hyperlink contact information
  • Make sure button sizes are large
  • Ensure image file sizes are compressed
  • Don’t use Flash.

You may need to speak to your web manager or external website developer to discover how these actions can be introduced. Alternatively, if you are a company that conducts its recruiting in-house, you may wish to seek out an external recruitment agency that already has a mobile-friendly platform.


The future

Considering the advances of the last 10 years, it’s clear that the next 10 years will also see massive jumps in the development of mobile technology. Meaning the desire of candidates to use them for a larger proportion of the job-hunting process will increase. Recruitment agencies and recruiting companies alike must keep pace with these developments.

We are now at a critical time in the sector. The past few years have seen disruption to the industry due to uncertainty over Brexit, which means candidates and recruiters alike have to be ever more savvy, discerning and smart if they are to stand out.

Now is the time for some serious creative thought about how we can overcome the constraints of current mobile technology. While providing an experience that growing numbers of candidates are starting to expect as standard.


About Jo Sellick

Jo Sellick is the Managing Director of professional services recruitment specialist Sellick Partnership. Since forming in 2002, Sellick Partnership has gone from strength to strength as one of the most respected specialist recruitment agencies in the UK. In 2017 the business celebrated 15 years since Jo set up the firm with just a laptop and mobile phone. Now the business employs over 100 staff, has seven offices nationwide and has an annual turnover of over £48 million. Sellick Partnership works across a range of disciplines including Finance & Accountancy, Legal, HR, Housing & Property Services, Actuarial, Procurement, Wealth & Investment Management and Change & Transformation.


Smart Recruit Online offers a low cost multi-award winning online recruitment service with a 98% independent customer satisfaction rating and the highest direct-hire fill rate in the UK.

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

Book a demo

Jo Sellick

Jo Sellick is the Managing Director of professional services recruitment specialist Sellick Partnership.

5 Best Practices For Candidate Vetting in 2019
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

5 Best Practices For Candidate Vetting in 2019 By Rick Witherspoon.

Recruiters are getting smarter about how they filter out applicants during the hiring process. Scary stats like the cost of making the wrong hire motivate in-house recruiters to be more careful about whom they extend job offers. The cost of hiring the wrong fit can be up to 2.5x the salary – as much as $240,000, according to one report.

In a job market where roles require specialized technical knowledge, vetting processes must keep up. Fierce competition over the best candidates, as well as pressure to perform on key metrics like employee turnover and cost-per-hire, encourage in-house recruiters to spend more time in the vetting phase of the hiring process. Here are the best practices smart recruiting teams follow to vet candidates in 2019.


Use the right software

Software tools and platforms are critical to helping recruiters filter out candidates in the early phases of their hiring process. “A vetting process should allow you to filter out candidates who don’t have the skills necessary to succeed in the role. To do this, you’ll want to start by vetting the applicant’s resume, cover letter, and other application materials they’ve submitted for review,” recommends Smart Recruit Online.

Likewise, these tools can positively impact diversity hiring and help an HR team be unbiased when evaluating resumes. Testing and assessment tools like Codility, HackerRank, pymetrics, and Vervoe filter candidates based on real-world simulations, allowing candidates to be ranked based on skillset rather than what’s on their resume. Vetting tools help recruiters be more organized, efficient, and purposeful in who they invite to proceed to the next stage of the recruiting process.


Integrate AI to assist recruiters

Many of these software tools use algorithms to filter resumes by keywords, but this year’s trend takes it a step further. Companies in Silicon Valley are working on smarter AI solutions to read applications beyond simple keyword identification. “Instead of one person reading through hundreds of resumes, they envision a process in which AI can quickly sort through data. CEO Somen Mondal compares its tech to a recommendation engine, much like Amazon or Netflix — the first line of defence against high-volume hiring,” writes The Verge. Tools are getting smarter and smarter at helping recruiters vet through the initial influx of candidates.


Outsource your vetting process

Tools and algorithms can’t be replaced by human interaction, however. There’s a limit to how far a robot can take the vetting process – and thereafter, a significant amount of human resources are dedicated to finding the best person for the job. Especially in executive searches, third-party recruiters are necessary to make sure the right person is hired the first time around.

More and more companies are outsourcing their executive recruiting to a talent and recruitment agency. They’re seeking an objective perspective on their vetting process; recruiters outside the company can truly evaluate whether or not a person is the best candidate. Outsourcing gives companies the benefit of building specialized, world-class teams without having to hire in-house experts with the technical knowledge to properly vet technical candidates.

Talent Attraction


Ask the right questions

One of this year’s biggest trends? Asking smart questions. Historically, interview questions followed the same line, no matter what industry you were in. “Why should we hire you?” is one of those outdated, overused questions that don’t offer much insight into a candidate’s ability. Instead, recruiters across the board are investing more time in candidate vetting with job-related or behavioural questions that assess the candidate’s fit. “While it is good to hire people who match the personalities or personal backgrounds of your current employees, it is just as important to seek out a diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and interests in the people you hire,” writes one expert from Glassdoor.


Consider merit, rather than background

Perhaps the biggest overall candidate vetting trend of 2019 is the impulse to move beyond the resume. For example, JavaScript is the most well-known language among software developers, according to a survey by Hackerrank. But, students aren’t learning JavaScript – it’s not taught in most university computer science programs. Companies that want to hire developers with experience in JavaScript must look past a college diploma to vet candidates who haven’t taken the traditional route. Today’s vetting procedures weigh career trajectory more heavily than educational achievement. This benefits candidates and companies alike – the future of vetting practices looks brighter than ever.


This article was originally published on Elevate Talent.


Rick is the Senior Recruiting Manager at Elevate Talent, a recruiting agency that helps companies build their Go-To-Market and People Operations teams.


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



Rick Witherspoon

Rick is the Senior Recruiting Manager at Elevate Talent, a recruiting agency that helps companies build their Go-To-Market and People Operations teams.

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.

How to attract the best talent in a candidate-short market
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Does your business have a recruitment plan? Sensible preparation could help you over the line in the dash for talent as we find ourselves in a candidate-short market.

New research by the Korn Ferry Institute predicts a major recruitment crisis with a significant future shortage of skilled workers. The study estimates that by 2030 the global talent shortage could reach 85.2 million people, costing companies trillions in lost business opportunities.

The United States financial services sector is projected to suffer the most, while European financial centres, like the UK and Germany, could struggle to retain their global positions due to the looming skilled-talent shortage.

Strategic action to address this is essential and it should start now. Business leaders who move talent acquisition to the top of their agenda will be in the best position to compete for scarce talent in the future.

In this article, I’ll be looking at what businesses can do to attract talent in a candidate-light market.


Talent Attraction


1. Consider in-house recruitment or outsource to a specialist recruiter

Agency recruitment isn’t always all it is cracked up to be. For a start, how can an agency know everything about your business? Deciding who should handle your recruitment isn’t an easy decision and there are pros and cons for seeking talent yourself or using an outside recruiting team that is dedicated to looking after your recruitment needs.

One of the biggest arguments for keeping recruitment in-house is to avoid huge recruitment fees. Mike Knivett, MD at Artemis Marketing, found using external agencies costly and not always successful in finding exactly the right candidate.

“We decided to bring recruitment in-house and hired a specialist on a part-time basis to help us. Since our recruitment specialist, Caroline, has been on board we have successfully recruited some amazing people who are exactly the right fit for us. Caroline has been able to work closely with us to really understand our culture and business needs.”

If you do decide to use an agency, it is a good idea to partner with one that has a high level of specialism suited to your business needs. This should at least ensure you get access to the right pool of talent. By working with the same recruiter, they can also get to know you and your business and ensure that there is a good cultural fit, in addition to having the right skills and experience.


2. Use social media to reach out

Social media is being used like never before in the race to find talent. Building your reputation online is by far the easiest way to reach the talent pool of the future. Millennials and Gen Z will soon become the biggest cohorts in the labour market.

Both groups embrace social media as their main form of communication. Millennials tend to use Facebook and Instagram, while Gen Z also uses Instagram, they also watch YouTube and communicate via Snapchat. Be mindful though, that social media is great for communication and establishing your brand, but not always as a stand-alone job advertising media.

See more about how Millennials and Generation Z use social media here.


3. Develop talent from within

70% of respondents to a Global Human Capital Trends survey by Deloitte cited recruitment as a critical issue when it comes to effective growth. High rates of employee-initiated turnover, low unemployment and the accelerating adoption of automation, which is creating intense demands for technical skills that don’t exist in today’s workforce, are making the job of finding qualified talent harder.

If talent shortage predictions are true, businesses will need a robust training and development programme to teach the skills they need in business. In fact, there are already enough talent shortages across more than 500 recognised skillsets to warrant adopting a fresh approach to attracting and retaining staff.

Internal talent mobility isn’t a new idea, but it is an area that isn’t tapped enough. According to Deloitte, reskilling an internal hire can be done for as little as one-sixth of hiring an external candidate. Emphasizing internal promotions illustrates to your employees they have a future in your business. This will go a long way in addressing the talent shortage and improve staff retention.

The national apprenticeship program and levy are all designed to encourage businesses to recruit ‘out of education’ and look outside of the obvious skillsets, in order to address similar issues. Expect to see this type of strategy become central to most larger organisations growth plans in the future.


4. Set up an employee referral system

You may not realise it, but your employees are an untapped resource when it comes to finding new talent. Your employees have an established network of friends and associates. They understand your business and are in a position to filter potential recruits to you with the appropriate skills and competencies. This could be one of your best recruiting tools.


5. Invest in culture

Your business will only become a magnet for talent if potential candidates hear good things about you. Salaries are no longer enough in isolation to entice the best people. Talented individuals are looking for companies with a strong and positive culture.

Things like Corporate Social Responsibility, business ethics and a caring and supportive environment are increasingly important and often mean more than salary. Wellbeing programs and robust learning and development opportunities are also on the list of must-haves that candidates are looking for in a company.

The future shortage of talent isn’t an industry-specific problem. Whatever your business, whatever the sector, you should be identifying business strengths to ensure you can attract candidates ahead of your competitors. You will, of course, also need to work hard at retention strategies too, which means an increasing focus on culture.

Ignore the recruitment problem and your business will suffer. The digital age means businesses with poor culture are being exposed like never before.


About the Author:

Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications, she specialises in business, Recruitment and career development’.

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Annie Button

Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications, she specialises in business, recruitment and career development.

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