Competition for Candidates

Date published: 07.06.2016

When it comes to securing the best candidates, are you first place, or not in the race?

With the economy making timid steps forward into recovery, and with it the welcome news that businesses are well and truly hiring once again, it should be a great time for employers and job seekers alike. However, getting the best talent into businesses is proving harder than ever before.

A recent survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), highlighted that 92% of UK businesses have identified a skills shortage in their workforce in at least one key area, with technology and development featured as one of the most common shortfalls.

It seems that technology is evolving more rapidly than employers can develop their talent pool. Combined with the pressure for IT projects to be delivered quicker than ever before, it’s difficult to keep up! With all this in mind, are you taking the right steps to make sure that your business is in poll position to attract the best candidates? Here are our top tips:

Start with why

Why do you work for the company? Why is it better than other companies that you worked for? When a candidate is attending multiple interviews, you’re acting as the salesperson for your business. Their first interview with you is your biggest chance to pitch the opportunity. In the same way as you’d sell your product or service – you need to sell the reasons why your company will be the best option for the candidate.

Get quicker

Think carefully about the length of your interview process. How could you make it easier for the candidate? Taking time off work to attend second and third interviews can be difficult and off-putting… could you use Skype or phone interviews? The longer you take to make your decision, the more opportunity a good candidate has to interview for your competitors, so the quicker you can respond, the better chance you have of securing the talent.

What’s the market saying?

Are you aware of what others are offering to candidates with the skill-set you’re looking for? Take a look at online job boards, or speak to your recruiter about the market rate for similar roles. If other businesses are willing to pay more, or offer better benefits to their employees – try to consider what you could offer as extras to your package. Training? Development? Holidays?

What are you asking?

Asking the right questions can give you a much stronger insight as to whether a potential candidate is the one for you. Don’t waste your time with them asking questions like ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’ You haven’t offered them a job yet – how on earth would they be able to predict where they will be five years on! Ask open questions that give you a genuine insight as to the candidate’s attitude towards work and observations on your business, such as; what are your questions about this job? How would this role further your career? You’ll very quickly be able to gauge whether this candidate is just looking for any job they can, or if they are seriously interested in your company and its purpose.

What’s it worth?

It’s easy to fall into a trap of seeing employees (especially in project roles) as just resource. Remember to consider each candidate as an individual with their own aims and goals. Make an effort to find out what motivates them personally, and try to demonstrate that you’d be willing to invest in them and their personal development. According to the Chambers of Commerce, four in ten businesses have an employee investment plan in place – with a structured strategy to develop the skills of each employee.

Remember, in the same way that you make a judgment on a candidate based on initial impressions of CV, appearance, behaviour – they’re doing the same to you!

In the race to secure the best talent…every interaction counts!