4 minute read

Skill shortages mean it is vital that your processes are geared to attracting the best candidates, so what should you do if you aren't finding them?

The reasons will of course vary according to the organisation but below we highlight from our considerable experience in helping and troubleshooting of problems for our clients what we believe are some of the more common reasons for organisations failing to identify the quality candidates which will help them meet their corporate objectives.


1. Your Employer Brand isn't  strong enough

We previously ran several articles on Employer Branding and why it was significant. These touch upon the increasing importance of marketing in organisations and significantly the need to highlight the perks and benefits of your business and the available role and the success journeys of existing employees. This allows interested parties to evaluate both your organisation and the potential opportunity with enthusiasm and desire. The web is an extremely powerful tool and if job seekers are unable to see or assess promotional information about your organisation and the role, they will, in all likelihood, draw their own conclusions, frequently to your detriment.

We recently placed a superb candidate of ours in a role at Company A which was very similar, infact almost identical, to another role at Company B. Company B is generally considered a more prestigious company within the public arena. However, the candidate preferred the role at Company A because he couldn't find out any significant information about the other role and opportunity at Company B and was extremely impressed by the branding of Company A, who had a dedicated careers site, sent him an information pack prior to interview, sent him links to website profiles of successful employees who had followed a similar route to the one he was considering. He accepted the job with Company A and even turned down the opportunity to interview at Company B. Believe us... this happens a lot!

Here is a blog how you can look to improve yours and help your Employee Value Proposition.


2. You have an overreliance on Job Board response

The job board is frequently sold as the holy grail for anxious companies keen to place excellent candidates within their growing companies. In some instances this will work without fail but in a growing number we feel it is destined to fail as a long term solution for your staffing issues.

To expand on this point, when you put an advert on a job board or your own website you are potentially fishing in quite a small pond as the only people who will realistically see your adverts are those in the market who are actively seeking a new role at this time, what we call 'the actives'.

Perceptions as to how much of the total job market is active or passive at any one time can vary but is believed to be around the 15% level for actives and  around 85% level for the passive element.  Passives are those who either aren't looking or who maybe are open to an approach for the perfect opportunity but not actively on the lookout. This is a big differential and so finding the best candidate, in potentially less than a 1/6th of the available talent pool, is at best challenging for many organisations.

Many of our passive candidates have been on our recruitment database for some time, many of them years and are candidates we have kept in regular contact with to discuss their career aspirations. They are people we regularly get updates from and who we know we can contact specifically about that next role in their career when we become aware of it. These candidates will not be readily hawking the job boards, preferring instead to have faith in us or another consultancy  to contact them when we identify the right opportunity in the right environment for them. This is worth bearing in mind if you are underwhelmed with your initial attempts at recruiting or if you decide you want to include such candidates from the outset of your search.

Time consuming techniques which involve active networking of established recruitment databases or a thorough search of LinkedIn using experts and software are highly recommended if not essential in our eyes if you really want the best people sitting in front of you at interviews. We can help in this regard with our engage platform.

Adverts are obviously at the forefront of attraction techniques for the "Active" workforce so nailing this is  paramount. Persuasive language, punchy style, an aspirational angle and clearly advocating the benefits are considered key in making the reader take notice as they scroll through the sites.


3. You are unclear what you are looking for.

As crazy as it sounds we frequently come across many organisations who when we question them are unsure or unclear as to exactly what they want from their new recruit. "Someone like Peter in Accounts" isn't helpful unless Peter is profiled in detail using software but this rarely happens. Now the obvious assumption to draw from this is that if an organisation is uncertain of what they want and how to measure this. This means it will be extremely difficult to sell the opportunity to the very best of candidates. Those sold principally on the compensation package on offer may not be put off but those more considered candidates seeking a long term career opportunity may be less than impressed at where this role is leading to.


Want to improve your Hiring Process? Download our Hiring Checklist


4. You have an Ineffective Interviewing Process

It is safe to say many businesses do not have a clear and formalised Interviewing process.

]They do not have a set process for how they will review, measure  and shortlist candidates

Many do not even have standardised interview questions which are asked to every candidate or don't ask the right questions to draw out the candidates expertise and suitability to the role and the organisation itself. Instead many interview processes are hugely impacted by straightforward bias and first impressions and the ill-conceived idea of "we will just know when we see them". If only I had a £ for every time I had heard that over the years!

That initial opening impression stays with the Interviewer and if it's not good it will subconsciously lead them down a route of identifying reasons why the candidate is not suitable for the role, whereas if the opening exchanges are extremely favourable it can lead them down an easier route of questioning designed to prove their initial observations were correct. It's human nature caused by bias. Yet all of this may result simply from a candidate's initial nervousness at a meeting which could prevent the best candidate moving forward in the process.

Another way to combat this is to use a standardised scoring system within their interview process which when you are using standard questions and a clear system will ensure everyone is assessed exactly the same.

Our article may help you look at your existing process and how to improve them.


5. You are too focused on a Job Description

Job descriptions while having a role to play internally within organisations can be argued to be detrimental in  the overall candidate pitch. Ask yourself when you were last overwhelmed or fundamentally sold a role by a Job description as you considered your next career move.

Being too focused around this can lead to several potentially excellent candidates in the 'passive arena' leaving the process before they've even really fully considered the role put to them. These passive candidates are less likely to be focused on the salary package but more so on the opportunities which will present themselves a year down the line when they are entrenched in the role and the duties. These candidates are more swayed by performance objectives of the role rather than what can be a bland list of  "tickbox" tasks listed in a Job description. These candidates may not tick all the skills you feel you need on day one but could be a better long-term fit for the role.


6. You are forgetting it's a 2 Way Process

Historically the weighting at Interviews was that the prospective employer would choose the best employee from the list of candidates interviewed. Times have changed. It is as important now for the organisation to sell to the candidate from the outset and also at key points of the interview process, why they should want to work for the organisation and accept the opportunity being discussed. Organisations must remember this, otherwise the better candidates are unlikely to be convinced by the opportunity being discussed.


Can we help?

We have placed and filled over 100,000 temp and permanent assignments over the last 30+ years so have a range of techniques, ideas and platforms that could help you. Why not call us on 0113 367 2880 have a conversation with one of our team. Alternatively drop us an email here.


About the Author: Mark Woffenden

Mark Woffenden is a Director at Lucy Walker Recruitment and has an extensive knowledge of the issues and workings of the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Commercial markets developed over the last 20 years in the Industry