​In a candidate-poor market, it isn’t enough to advertise a job and expect talent to come your way. The candidate experience is therefore key. If you ask me how employers could improve their chances of attracting top talent, this is what I’d say...

Remember that you were a candidate once too

Be honest, do you as the client know what the candidate experience is like? Once we progress through our career, it’s easy to forget how we felt when we were in their shoes. Cliché as it may sound, it remains true that a great culture and good perks are important. However, these two points themselves have changed with the times and employers need to acknowledge that they need to adapt too. Career growth, well-being and flexible working are just a few of the plethora of factors to have a plan for.

Transparency opens the doors to the best candidates

Never mind a click of a mouse, potential talent can now voice search everything they need to know about your company in minutes. In order to welcome the best response to what they see we suggest you be open with the ethos that your company cultivates and how your current employees feel about working for you. While sites like Glassdoor grow in influence, candidates are already tracing people via LinkedIn to get the low down.

With transparency comes clarity on reputation

Take the time to acknowledge the importance of your employer brand. Whatever you share on social media, websites or even emails paint a visual picture of your business. For a candidate who hasn’t yet met you, this for them is their first impression, and we all know how important that is. Keeping your brand in a positive light by sharing actual feedback or statistics that show you’re a great employer speaks volumes to the top talent.

One way to do this is to establish a presence on well-trusted websites such as Glassdoor or Trust Pilot where people and staff can review their place of work. In a testimonial-age these websites are valued by many.

Ensure you know their worth

To attract and retain the best talent all aspects of the role need to be appealing. Of course, the salary is high up the agenda for both your current staff and those you seek to attract. You need to pay what the role is worth. Benchmarking isn’t easy so you can now compare your salaries using the Aspire Salary Guide 2019.

Replace subjectivity with an objective

We are all biased. The environment we have grown up in shapes our unconscious bias, the challenge is to be aware of this. Clients are often the problem to hiring the best people.

You prejudice against tattoos, accents, education, size, looks, facial hair, makeup, jewellery, clothing, previous employers – all sorts of things. The amount of times we hear hiring managers decline candidates because they ‘weren’t the right fit’ or ‘wasn’t the right culture’ is numerous. Sometimes it can be clearly explained and understood. Most of the time it is a prejudice. The more diverse your workforce the more options you have to recruit the talent you need.

No news is bad, bad news

UK employment figures show a record number in work and unemployment at the lowest level for decades. With so many employers chasing the same pool of candidates it’s easy to understand that recruitment is becoming more competitive by the day.

Remember that the ‘candidate experience’ is vital. How many interviews will they need to attend and prepare for? How will you keep them interested when they have so many other options?

You need to dedicate time for recruitment so that your first candidate doesn’t get poached by the time you get back to them. So, block book that diary because recruitment needs time as well as careful consideration. Most importantly keep communicating. No news is bad news.

Always be recruiting

Keen pipelining talent even when you don’t have a current need. Keep dedicating time to networking and seeing potential candidates of the future. Keep them in touch with developments and success stories so when it comes to approaching them for real, they are already bought in.

Better retention is the most cost-effective recruitment strategy

At Aspire, our quarterly Peakon survey provides valuable insight. It’s an anonymous and confidential survey so our employees are honest with how they feel on a range of areas from leadership and vision to career prospects or fair pay. As much as we would like to be, we are not yet the perfect employer, so we can use the survey results to act and continue to improve our engagement.

It’s natural that if you have a reputation for retaining your people, not only will you need to spend less time and money on recruitment, but you’ll also be attractive to potential new employees.

Acknowledging and acting upon feedback is a powerful engagement tool

To truly sustain the talent pipeline, you need a people plan, not just a recruitment plan but also career growth plans for your people. You need to factor in your staff turnover, work on your employer brand, communicate throughout the recruitment process, consult your employees, acknowledge and act on their feedback and be aware of your unconscious bias. It’s a full-time job.