It’s been over two years since the world was flipped on its head, and life has all but returned to normal for most of us in Britain. The world of recruitment has been through the ringer, but in general, the professional recruitment industry was in turmoil in 2020; loads of candidates looking for work, some desperate, and the majority of companies were understandably scared to take people on when we didn’t know what would come next, how long it would last, what other variants were just around the corner. Directors and managers (and the odd comedian!) were applying for van driving jobs, people were accepting salaries they wouldn’t have dreamed of 6 months before.
Fast-forward to now, and things couldn’t be more different. Where previously there were no jobs and thousands of candidates, there is now an abundance of jobs and very few unsettled candidates. I can only speak for my area of expertise, technology, but I imagine it’s the same across the board. Every active candidate is inundated with opportunities, and every inactive candidate needs something huge to entice them.
This has led to a couple of developments – salaries are on an unprecedented rise (we’ve all been expecting this to level out soon, but no sign of that yet!), and every good candidate has numerous businesses chasing them, trying to secure their services. That contributes to the rise in wages, but wages aren’t always the be-all and end-all….
People’s priorities have changed. Nowadays, the following are increasingly crucial to jobseekers:
Mental health support
Salary is still essential on top of all that – even if you’re more than comfortable with your salary, a step back is still a hugely influential psychological hit. And let’s be honest, unless you’re super-rich, we’ve also all been hit by the increased cost of living.
But where the challenge in 2020 was to find jobs for the many, the challenge for us as recruiters and hiring businesses in 2022 is ensuring that our opportunity is the best for the candidate!
What can you do as a hiring manager?
Firstly, get the best you can for prospective employees – offer them that flexibility that means they can drop their kids at school; give them those 1, 2, 3, 4, 5(!) working from home days per week that save them the commute or allow them to live their lives; ensure you have an enjoyable workplace with a good atmosphere that attracts good people; invest in certifications and training programmes; add a few more holidays on to their allowance….
It's one thing to start offering these things, but the next step is equally important – sell your business! In years gone by, we would perhaps tell people at interview the worst-case scenario to make sure they knew what they were coming into – now, I implore you to tell them why it’s so great to work with you!
Perhaps the most important thing of all right now is speed. If you like someone, act quickly! I guarantee that your competitors are after this same person, and if there’s one thing that will annoy you, it’s losing a great person to timing alone! We’ve seen it repeatedly in recent months, and it hurts.
A further thing I’d suggest is not just doing this for your new people – I know it’s easier said than done, but if you need to provide an extra 3 holidays, or offer some flexibility, or give an extra wfh day or two, give this to your existing team too…. because you can be sure that people like me will be speaking to them about all the other brilliant places to work that do offer these things.
Finally (and of course, I’m going to say this, aren’t I?!), find yourself a good recruiter – one you trust and who wants to do an excellent job. A good recruiter, especially in the current market, will want to meet you, discuss your business in detail, and go through each role with a fine-tooth comb – because we need to find the right people and then sell them your business! But more of that later.
What can you do as a candidate looking for work?
Right now, if you do put yourself in the shop window, you will be inundated with opportunities. My advice is to be selective with what you want to go forward with, but then put your all into the ones that you like the sound of. A good recruiter will help you prepare your CV and application to the best possible standard and then help you through the interview process with advice and knowledge about the company and the hiring manager.
If you’ve got numerous interviews, again, think about which ones are the perfect fit for you as you go along – if you get an offer from company x, do you want to accept it, or wait and see if you get one from company y and company z? And just be honest with your recruiter or the hiring manager. A good one will understand and advise.
Please don’t disappear on us, even if you don’t want our role anymore. You may value our help again in the future, and it’s good to maintain good relationships. This goes both ways, and if you are being ghosted by your recruiter, they are probably not very good, and you can do better!
What can we do as recruiters?
I have always prided myself on being honest and genuine. There are more critical things to me than making a quick buck – building long-term relationships with my candidates and clients has always reaped dividends long-term. And this is what I’m instilling in my team now – be genuine, be human, get to know your clients and candidates well, and be honest. If we are not trusted by our candidates or clients, we offer very little value!
A good recruiter will take the time to understand the job they are recruiting for inside-out – not just the skills and experience required, but what will the candidate get out of it, whether it be progression, training, certs, a friendly and collaborative team, regular socials, flexibility, rewards, or an office dog! And then they will take the time to understand what’s essential to the candidate – progression, training, certs, friendly people, socials, flex, rewards….. dogs?! And if it’s not a match, keep everyone informed and move on.
Another part of our role is to ensure that our candidates are well-presented and well-prepared, but also to ensure they are fully committed and genuinely interested – that’s why we need to know what’s brilliant about our clients’ businesses and opportunities. How else can we get a candidate’s attention and commitment?! Again, this comes from the passion for our work, trust and openness.
So that’s what has changed over the last year or so. The power has moved from client to candidate. The job of the recruiter has changed. We no longer cut down 100 CVs to 5; we are an active partner to both sides, offering genuine advice and expertise. Candidates, we will know our clients inside-out, so we will put you forward for the best jobs for you! Clients, we will help you make your workplace and role as attractive as possible–to ensure you have as much hirepower as possible in your armoury!
If you are looking the change roles in the Technology space or are looking to do a new hire intake, then contact me below. Stuart Hope