Future of work

Struggling with talent acquisition? It could be your fault

Lydia Watson

Does anyone actually enjoy employee recruitment? Whether employer or candidate, it’s a necessary email – and that’s easy to tell by the effort taken by both parties. Slapdash CVs, ghosted emails, skipped interviews, 20-stage application processes – there’s definitely bad on both sides.

But don’t be mistaken. None of this gives you – employer, recruiter, HR manager – a get-out-of-jail-free card. Nor does the current talent marketplace. No, if you’re really, truly struggling with hiring people then there’s a solid chance that it’s your fault. 

Hiring people is harder than ever right now – but why?

It’s a perfect storm. A tumultuous 2+ years and transformed working expectations have led to a surge in resignations – and that means more vacancies than usual, and more competition than you’d like to see. 

When it comes to talent recruitment, it may be convenient to blame ‘the great resignation’ for your struggles. But not only does that not solve the problem you’re facing, it may mean you’re ignoring some sizable (but fixable!) issues you should address first.

What are the best practices in talent acquisition? Start by avoiding these mistakes:

  • Not knowing how to write the job advert

When you’re reading CVs, does your brain switch off when they’re filled with clichés – ‘team player’, ‘attention to detail’, ‘good time management’? Or in other words, the most base-level qualities you’d expect in an employee, so standard that mentioning them is almost a red flag? 

Prospective job candidates feel the same way. From describing your company culture (fast-paced, friendly, and fun!) to listing ‘benefits’ (competitive salary, pension, 25 days holiday), they’ve seen it all before. You need to stand out, and really sell what makes your organisation different

  • Neglecting good company recruitment processes

The job advert is one thing, but what about your whole hiring process? Are you committing the ultimate crime of asking people to upload a CV, then insisting they also fill out a 30-page questionnaire on their employment history (leading to 60% giving up)? 

Maybe you’ve got a seven step process (screening phone call, group task, manager interview, written task, CEO interview, full presentation, team interview) for a job that’s not senior enough to demand it. Or you could just take way too long to get back to applicants. All these things put people off – especially people getting a lot of offers.

  • Being unrealistic about recruiting the best candidates

You want the best-of-the-best, of course you do! But consider two harsh realities: are you a good match for top quality candidates, and is your interpretation of ‘the best’ even accurate? 

Whether you’re asking for ten years in similar roles, expecting industry experience, or even requiring a particular qualification, you could be putting off strong candidates that don’t tick all the boxes on your given job spec. Don’t underestimate the benefit of finding someone with strong core skills, and training them on the specifics. 

  • Offering an average salary – or hiding it completely!

Yes, yes, money isn’t everything – but it is a pretty huge consideration when applying for a job. The salaries you’re offering may not be in line with market averages, and even if they are, that may not be good enough at the moment. Expectations are high in this candidate’s market.

And let’s get this straight. You have to tell people what you’re offering. When you’re fighting for applications, gesturing to some kind of ‘competitive salary’ isn’t going to cut it – people won’t waste their time if they don’t know if you’re even vaguely in their ballpark. Give a range, sure – but give them something!

  • Not building and promoting a strong employer brand

Beyond your customer-facing brand, you need an employer brand – and it could be the difference between struggling to hire staff, and finding the best talent out there. 

Remember, the relationship has switched from what applicants have to offer, to what you’re bringing to the table as an organisation. And to really see results, you don’t want to have to explain that – it should come to mind when they see your brand name and logo. Read our blog for advice on building your employer brand.

  • Getting (and not shaking!) a bad reputation

For a lot of jobseekers, their first port of call when considering a company is Glassdoor or another reviews site. And if you’ve got angry employees and scorned leavers filling up the comment section there, you’re in a bit of trouble.

The only way to mitigate this is employee advocacy. Is there a way to incentivise leaving positive comments, or even better, can you focus on making sure your employees are happy to be working for you anyway? 

Talent recruitment starts with listening to employees

The best way to source candidates is to start with the employees you already have – and the ones that are one their way out. Only people who have worked for you can tell you how to attract new candidates – but what’s the best way to get this information?

Lifecycle surveys are your secret weapon. By surveying the people leaving your organisation, and the ones newly onboarded, you’ll understand what you’re doing right (and crucially, what you’re doing wrong…). 

Don’t believe us? Send one of our lifecycle surveys for FREE, using our Employee Feedback Platform. It’s fast, and there’s no commitment required – so you’ll be able to tackle your hiring challenges quickly and easily. Send a lifecycle survey today:

It’s time to start the conversation

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