As the world recovers from the misery of the COVID pandemic, the wonderful world of recruitment has completely flipped on its head in the last 6 months or so.
March 2020 will definitely be a period of time we will all remember for years to come. There were a lot of challenges for everyone during this period of time and everyone’s lives were changed - this eventually took a toll on the recruitment space of finance professionals within the UK.
The pandemic meant mass redundancies, few recruitment opportunities and an increase in unemployment throughout the UK, however as things started recovering from Summer 2021 onwards we have seen a complete shift.
Companies across the country were getting back on their feet and looking to replenish their deflated accounting and finance divisions. As a result, the jobs market entered a mass recruitment phase and a large proportion of strong candidates were quickly snapped up. Any hiring manager looking to hire for their team in March 2022 will likely know that things aren’t as easy as sticking out a job ad online and waiting for excellent talent to start flooding in anymore.
So, what’s the best way to attract the strongest candidates in a market such as the one we see now?
As a recruiter you might expect me to say using a specialist agency is the obvious answer, although I do think this is true I think there are a number of factors which could increase the chances of securing top talent into your teams and organisations.
Working in recruitment, one of the first things I learnt when entering the industry in 2019 was the importance of understanding candidate drivers - this is something that differs from person to person although there are a number of key factors that are replicated across the board.
Some drivers include offering a competitive package, strong long term career progression or job stability.
When recruiting for a role, there are certain limitations that companies may not always be able to change in order to adapt to candidate drivers due to fixed factors such as company size, industry, progression opportunities or salary. There are however other factors that I believe can easily be implemented by most that can greatly increase the chances of securing top talent.
A quick process:
This is the first , and most simple way of increasing your odds on landing the best finance professionals. In a competitive market where so many companies are hiring from such a concentrated number of potential candidates, being able to have a swift process in place is extremely important. Even if your company can offer candidates the right salary, progression or flexibility they may not be willing to wait when your competitors are moving a lot quicker.
The length of a process can mean anything from a pointlessly long interview process (for most roles anything over 3 interviews is usually excessive). Another factor is a prolonged wait for both interview and CV feedback on roles.
In short, the smoother, quicker and easier the recruitment process is the higher the chance of you being able to secure top talent is.
Going back to the earlier point regarding a quick process, the structure of an interview and the amount of stages can be a crucial factor in helping companies secure top talent.
As mentioned before, having excessive interview stages and technical tests can offset a candidate's interests in a role and give competitors the opportunity to sweep in and secure an offer quicker.
Having said that, I do appreciate that for certain roles a technical assessment or the need to meet with different stakeholders and line managers is crucial and therefore further interview stages can’t be avoided however in these instances something that may help to avoid losing a top candidate is having a swift interview booking process and ensuring that candidates aren’t waiting around for several weeks in between interview stages. The flexibility of virtual interviews is also something that has been introduced into the world of recruitment since March 2020 and is another way of providing more flexibility to candidates to interview at shorter notice and reduce the wait time in between interview stages.
The last point I wanted to make regarding interviews in a candidate driven market is the “Old school” approach to interview candidates. Although I agree that it is important to ensure you fully understand how a candidate would cope in certain situations or how strong their experience (both technical and soft-skills) is, the old “grilling” method of interviewing shouldn’t be common practice in 2022. In a job-saturated market it’s just as important to sell yourself as the hiring manager as well as the role and company to potential candidates as it is for the candidates to sell themselves to you- ultimately it’s a two way street and it’s important to have a positive impression on any potential future employee.
One of the biggest changes that have been introduced since the pandemic began is the rise of remote, hybrid and flexible working. Many companies who historically required all employees to be on site 5 days a week are now offering remote working opportunities ranging from 1-2 days a week from home hybrid roles to even some who are fully remote.
Again, I understand that due to the pure nature of certain roles it’s extremely important to be on site as much as possible, however having at least some degree of flexibility can go a long way in attracting more candidates.
Flexibility in terms of being able to work remotely not only means candidates will be more attracted to your role but also widens the scope for the pool of candidates you are reaching out to. From experience I can truly say that the pre-covid I spoke to hundreds of candidates who I thought were perfect for a particular role I was supporting a specific client on at the time but lived just too far from the office- the chances to work remotely eliminate this issue and open companies up to much larger scopes of candidates.
A few other important points to mention that could assist you in securing top talent could be the USP of working for your business and having a positive working environment among others.
To summarise, companies can take a variety of different approaches to improving their recruitment process and attract more top talent- a lot of these key improvements can be taken by most companies and will largely increase your chances of securing the best candidates for their teams.
Some factors may be out of your control but it’s crucial to self evaluate your recruitment process, understand where it could be improved and what the best way of going about this could be.