Understanding Talent : Gaining the competitive edge

From a UK employer’s point of view, it’s officially a candidates’ market. According to the ONS, the unemployment rate was just 4.8% in the three months to September 2016 – the lowest in 11 years. The question facing employers every day is how do you attract the talent your business needs in this ultra-competitive environment?

Our latest research, Understanding Talent polled more than 3,000 job seekers and 100 employers to get to the bottom of what the best candidates really want when they are looking for a new role and what barriers prevent them from pursuing the application process.

Jon Banks, Sales Manager of totaljobs, took our research to The FIRM’s London Conference for in-house recruiters recently, facilitating a panel discussion to draw additional expertise from in-house recruiters at Livingbridge, TimeInc and Dixons Carphone.

Here are three key take-aways from the conference which you can action now, to attract the very best candidates:

  1. Think and act like your candidate

Understanding Talent showed that 70% of jobseekers use their smartphone to search for a job, so optimising adverts for all possible online platforms is key – from desktops through to tablets and smartphones. And once they’ve found you, keep candidates hooked with a straightforward application process. 

At The FIRM’s Conference, Tim Hull, Talent Acquisition, Time Inc advised actively going through your application process to see how it feels from a candidate viewpoint and whether it might be proving a barrier to attracting top talent. His approach revealed it took 60 clicks of the mouse to complete an application for a cleaning role – a barrier he quickly dismantled.

Helen Durkin, Employer Brand Manager, Dixons Carphone, who was also in attendance added: “Quite often we put things in place that help us as recruiters, but sometimes we need to actually do things that might make the recruitment process harder for us, but easier for candidates.”

  1. Be clear and transparent in your communications

More than half of respondents to Understanding Talent wanted to see specific details of job location and salary advertised. And keeping the lines of communication open and transparent beyond the job advert to the initial application encourages candidates to continue along the application process.

Tim Hull explained: “On completion of our application process all candidates are sent an automatic email. But we don’t stop there – we tell them what the next stage is going to be and what we are specifically looking for at the different application stages. This is our cue to candidates, letting them know what to expect and also how they can best prepare.”

Not only does this ongoing feedback keep candidates engaged, it also boosts your employer brand through powerful word-of-mouth marketing. Candidates who relay positive application experiences to friends and family help attract further potential top talent to your business.

  1. Get a move on and speed up the interview process

Once they’ve taken the time to apply to an advertised role, candidates don’t want recruiters to hang about. Our Understanding Talent research showed that 40% of jobseekers expect to hear back from a recruiter within one week of applying for a role, and even more (43%) want to hear back within two weeks.

Once they’ve heard from you, expectations really speed up, with more than a quarter of jobseekers (26%) expecting to have the interview process done and dusted within two weeks. Although 25% are happy to stretch the process up to one month.  And when you consider that 42% of respondents to the survey are willing to take part in no more than two interviews for a role – today’s jobseeker needs you to move fast, or risk losing them as a candidate.

With so many candidates now browsing for jobs on their smartphones, video interviewing helps to speed up the interview process and catch top talent more quickly. Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp online video calling platforms are free and readily accessible on smartphones, tablets and desktops, providing an ideal alternative to the traditional telephone interview.

To find out more, read the second report in our Understanding Talent Series, below.

Understanding Talent 2: Recruiting Top Talent

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