The UK’s employment rate is now at an all-new record high at 75.5%. This is positive news for the economy, although with this does have some destructive impacts that may affect thousands of companies right across the country.
With more people today in full-time employment, (according to the latest data by the Office for National Statistics) this suggests business expansion and economic growth is undeniable. However, this does mean that the more jobs being opened means there’s less (suitable) candidates… as the good candidates are all being snapped up by employers who are able to recruit more competitively with modern and flexible benefits. In simple terms, there are more jobs to be filled, than there are candidates.
As a recruitment agency, we support the facts and figures within the employment sector- both what clients are looking for, and what candidates expect from a new role. The reasons companies are recruiting for someone new and the reasons candidates are leaving their current employer. This knowledge allows us as an agency, to assess the market logically and find suitable connections between both client and candidate.
This is apparent with stakeholders across both Conrad Finance and our sister company Conrad Consulting, who specialise in recruitment within the built environment. For instance, with the Civil & Structural Engineering sector, many of the candidates within the UK lack the skills and experience needed to fulfil certain roles. Often, we see many candidates from Europe relocate to the UK as their skills are well sought-after, especially for larger firms (who tend to work on international projects too), and consequently are offered attractive salaries and good benefits packages.
So, it’s vital that employers are quick to offer that candidate- as they may lose out. According to research by Workable, “the most qualified candidates are usually off the market in 10 days. An executive candidate, who’s more likely to be sourced or receive multiple offers, may be on the market for even fewer the 10 days.”
Consultants across Conrad supported this theory with their own statistics...
Kate Waltham (Recruitment Consultant – Geotechnical & Environmental):
5 days (large, global multi-disciplinary firm)
Although impressive, these statistics are considered the norm when placing highly suitable candidates in new roles. You must be ahead of the game, to win over those potential employees.
The world of recruitment is a fast-paced environment, and good employers who receive/seek consultative advice from specialists who understand the fast-paced and ever-changing climate for recruitment will be those who thrive and win the top candidates.
So, what is the ‘need for speed’? Let’s look at a few points to consider when hiring new staff…
As the employer, is your focus too narrow?
This can entail various things. For example, often we find with some roles that employers are generally looking for younger people, with the assumption that they’re more ‘tech-savvy’ and recently-qualified with the latest knowledge/software, eager to learn and more open to change/development (also, with the view that they’re more long-term). This is also a lower investment cost-wise as they may not have x amount of years’ experience that someone a bit older will have.
Arguably, on the flip side, candidates who are considered older have the experience that would benefit companies, and can mentor more junior members of the team. This experience also means the employee is confident in what they do, and can work independently, as well as part of a team.
Having a narrow focus can also mean having a strict criterion that employers stick to, with little to no movement on flexibility. We need to be mindful of the fact that that it’s a rarity to find that -absolutely perfect- ticks every box- employee. Being more open to different individuals who we may not have previously considered, may surprise you. We need to be conscious of the fact that, due to potential weaknesses in certain areas, employers will need to think about providing options for training- reskilling or upskilling to perform well in the role. This could also mean people who have slightly alternative experiences may be able to add some diversity and bring something new to the table, creating innovative project-solutions.
Are you providing enough information to recruiters?
We’re faced with this issue all too often. Some clients simply provide the job title and location, and we must scramble to find the right candidates with little knowledge about specific requirements. Although experts in our field, ultimately, we want to find the best candidate for you that fits from a cultural aspect too. We can find candidates who have the required qualifications, but they still may not be an appropriate fit for the company. A better solution, would be to invite/encourage recruiters to visit the company. This way, they can understand the business better, what the people are like, and be well-poised to sell it.
With all the information readily available, this speeds up the recruitment process. We’re minimising any delays in finding the right candidate.
Have you thought about promoting within your organisation? This could be a much more beneficial option for the company. Firstly, you already know the individual. You should have a good understanding of the employee’s strengths, weaknesses and how they fit within the company. It’s obviously a less time-consuming process, as they’re already settled in the company, know the people and what to expect to a certain extent... A common phrase we use in recruitment world is that the candidate can “hit the ground running” if they were to fill the role.
Another point to consider, is that more senior roles will require more experience, more skills that may require additional training. These additional qualities require a matched stake in salary. However, due to the lack of experience compared to someone coming in with years of experience in that role, again this must be reflected in their pay.
Also, people look up to individuals they can trust. Employees need a leader, a seniority figure who they can support and trust, this is easier to achieve if they’ve previously worked together. This forms a more efficient workforce. So effectively, you’re saving both time and money from promoting.
It’s easier to recruit an individual with less skills/experience, to fill a more junior role. These employees can quickly learn and adapt to the role, whilst the hiring process is much more cost-effective for the employer.
Interviews vary greatly in how they’re conducted - could be one-on-one, panel interviews, assessment centres, phone calls… also with the advances in technology and increased use of digitalisation, Skype interviews and now more common as a way of assessing skills and experience.
In many cases, having a shorter interview process is more effective than having a longer, more drawn-out one. Both candidates, and employer’s time are precious. It’s natural that people strive to achieve security and comfort- knowing you have a new job without any potential loss of earnings. As well as this, it's important that the interview method mirrors the company brand.
Often, we hear the negative side from candidates when the application process is longer than expected. It’s simply off-putting having a long, drawn-out process and they then become more vulnerable to be enticed by competitors. It isn’t always a big issue. We believe communication is key , as long as the candidate is kept in the loop and feedback is provided- they feel more informed and settled.
“Unfortunately, we currently have a skills shortage within the job market – as a recruitment company, we see first-hand what the employment sector is like. Some employers don’t always recognise this, and they lose out to competitors. Having longer, more - detailed 3 or 4 stage interview processes often doesn’t work in this climate- as it could have done previously when there may have been multiple suitable applicants for a role”
Stuart Allsopp, Conrad Finance
So, what can we take away from this?
We need to recognise that some companies are losing out on great candidates to competitors due to their robust recruitment processes , and inability to react to changes in the business environments. Employers’ should also be aware that they may not find that “perfect candidate” for the role and ultimately these requirements must be reasonable and achievable. Having some flexibility in certain areas of the role’s requirements will create an easier requirement process, and possibly open up new opportunities. A point to add is that employers are increasingly aware of the need to retain strong employees and will do more to keep them on, making it less likely for these people to become available.
Another point to note is that it’s important employers truly understand what they want the new employee to bring to the business. Is this a business growth opportunity? Are you simply replacing a previous employee? If so, why did they leave? Is this something to consider when taking on someone new? Or, you may just be “testing the waters” as such, creating a new role to bring in new dimension.
All in all, time is precious whether this is in employment terms or not. Both candidate and employer both want the same end goal, so let’s be clear, communicative, and less restricted in our approach.
If you need help with your recruitment, get in touch with us today to discuss.