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How to stay one step ahead of the jobs market

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

In a Candidate-driven marketplace, the competition is fierce. Once upon a time, the world of recruitment was characterised by an abundance of applicants and a scarcity of vacancies, but in recent times, the tables have turned to leave businesses in a perpetual tug of war over the top performers.

Today, Candidates seek more than a salary and a title from prospective Employers; they make informed choices about the conditions they want to work in and judge a business on their ability to attract and retain talent. Naturally, most organisations will know the feeling of losing a high-calibre Candidate to an industry rival all too well, as their place in the driver’s seat has gradually shifted over the years.

If they are to prevent this from happening, Employers must revamp their hiring process and reconsider their offering. With a proactive hiring strategy in place, forward-thinking organisations can stay one step ahead of the competition.

Anticipate your needs

If you’re approaching the market only when the need arises, your chances of securing the cream of the crop will be slim. While unprecedented circumstances and sudden changes in the business can cause the need for a new recruit at the drop of a hat, hiring managers should learn to expect the unexpected, and prepare accordingly.

By nurturing a diverse talent pipeline of both active and passive Candidates, organisations can ensure they aren’t left choosing between undesirable applicants when all the “good ones” have been snatched up by those who thought ahead.

That said, you can’t build a talent pipeline overnight. If you are to keep ahead of the recruitment curve, forming professional relationships with top performers in the industry will require time and commitment. However, the reward will undoubtedly be worth your efforts: instead of desperately scouring a talent wasteland, you’ll have a vast network to tap into should a sudden skills gap appear in the business.

Make it quick

According to figures from Glassdoor, the recruitment process can now take up to an average of 23 days, up from 13 days only four years ago. From multiple interview sessions to psychometric testing and take-home tasks for Candidates, Employers place an increasing number of hoops for their applicants to jump through when they put themselves forward for a role. However, when it comes to securing talent, the term ‘you snooze, you lose’ couldn’t be more appropriate.

While you’re deliberating over a decision or preparing a ‘culture fit’ test for your shortlist, a competitor is closing in on your preferred Candidate, offering an exciting opportunity and an immediate start date. This is by no means an invite to rush through recruitment, but efficiency is essential for Employers who wish to secure the best talent available. Those who are able to create a smooth, fast and effective hiring process without compromising quality of hire will be the real winners in a Candidate-led market.

Sell your brand

If you are to turn your organisation into a talent magnet, you cannot wait until the need for a new hire appears to start selling your unique proposition. After all, yours isn’t the only vacancy available, and skilled Candidates will explore multiple job opportunities before making their decision.

Your job, therefore, is to promote your reputation as an Employer of choice and develop a presence in the industry synonymous with job satisfaction. In doing so, you start to raise an awareness of your corporate identity; you entice passive Candidates and even those who aren’t searching for a job at all.

Social media sites provide the perfect platform for promotion, but remember: your Employer brand starts with the Employee and Candidate experience. Keep your staff happy and they will spread the word: over time, you will find you gain far more traction on job ads from high-calibre Candidates eager to work in a positive environment for a firm that shares their values.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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