How to attract talent in the current labour market

As unemployment continues to fall and the demand for candidates is high, we asked Ben Thompson from Thompson & Terry Recruitment for his guide to overcoming the challenges facing employers with job vacancies to fill in the current highly competitive market.

The question almost every employer is asking right now is how to attract talent in the current labour market, which as we all know, especially on an Oxfordshire level is the most competitive we can remember.

Long gone are the days where most of us business owners could put an advert up and be inundated with applications and choice of candidates wanting to work for our businesses. The incredibly high employment figures are great news for the economy, especially given the widely reported mass unemployment fears following the end of the furlough scheme. Having said this, for most employers that I speak to the challenges as a result of talent shortages are almost as worrying and indeed stunting growth for many businesses.

In my professional opinion I would definitely say there isn’t a one size fits all (or any!) – the best way to attract talent is to make your recruitment process and offering to candidates as bespoke and as personalised as possible.

It would be so easy for me to say to employers with the rising cost of living they should throw money at it with the theory that if you pay 10% more than your competitors, you’ll get the best talent, but it’s definitely not the case. Yes, money has become an increasingly big factor (energy bills don’t pay themselves unfortunately), as has flexible or hybrid working but professional development, a career path and true fulfilment is just as important to attract and indeed retain the best talent.

In summary here are my top tips:

  • Retention first: As we’ve established, attracting talent in the current market is challenging which makes it expensive but the biggest cost of recruitment is when it goes wrong. For this reason, my biggest advice to employers is to ensure you are talking to your team, ensuring they are happy, fulfilled and you are on the same page. If you can create a really great place to work with really happy staff, it won’t just help you to retain, which cuts your recruitment cost, but it’ll help you to attract the best talent. To use a football analogy, it’s easier to sign players when you are pushing up the leagues with good squad harmony than when in a relegation battle and with the manager on the way out!
  • A bespoke but united offering: It’s so incredibly important for more reasons than just attracting talent that businesses have a strong culture, purpose and values that closely align to the business plan (talk to CRM about that!). The best candidates want to feel part of something and really feel they are contributing to the overall success of the business, so it’s really important when hiring, to ensure you are clear about this point and it’s at the forefront of your selection process. The bespoke part (and only IF the candidate and your company values, culture and purpose align) is things like logistics, training plan and goals. Plus rewards for the goals – for example, there is no benefit of incentivising a non-money motivated candidate with commission.
  • Attracting: You’ll be pleased to know, if you get the above two right, this is the easy part, well maybe less tricky! Ask your staff who they know and reward them for successful hires (one of the cheapest and best ways to recruit). If you have the time and skills then use LinkedIn Premium (they normally offer a month free) to actively approach and talk to a really good recruiter – most good recruiters (we certainly do) will give you lots of honest and free advice/feedback on your vacancy that’ll help you to attract the very best talent.

I hope this helps and good luck with your search!

Ben set up Thompson & Terry Recruitment in 2014 as an independent recruitment agency with a real difference. The boutique, full-service consultancy focuses on applying a head-hunting approach to typically recruitment agency level office-based vacancies across Oxfordshire and nationally. As MD, Ben heads up their small team, manages client relationships and also offers consultancy/advisory services to a number of local businesses large and small.

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