Maximising returns from your recruitment efforts. Some tips from our team.

Maximising returns from your recruitment efforts. Some tips from our team.

11 May 2023 by Justin Rush

Northern Ireland has essentially reached full employment in Spring of 2023, recent statistics state that 2.4% of the workforce is unemployed.  If you look at trends for professional disciplines within finance, technology, legal, compliance, HR, Marketing, etc. you will see that an under-supply of talent exists locally.  At present, recruiting the best possible candidates is harder than ever.

At Abacus, our team has many years of experience finding, engaging, and advising a range of people across many industry segments.  We have been in a unique position, able to gather direct feedback from professionals during the time they seek to change jobs.  Here are some points we would advise our clients to consider before commencing their hiring process.

1 – Benchmark your offering before going to market – Stuart John

The last 18 months have seen a huge change in salaries, benefits, working models and ways of working.  Things have definitely changed significantly. Go on-line and see what other employers are offering the candidates you are seeking to employ.  Which similar jobs would you apply to and why?

2 – Understand your target audience – Hannah Bishop

Attitudes and behaviours have changed in this post-Covid world.  More junior candidates, those who have only known work life since 2020, will have a different perspective and requirement from a job than more experienced candidates.  You need to tailor your offering and messaging to the audience accordingly.

3 – Be transparent about salary, benefits and reward items – Catherine Foy

Listing a position without a reference to salary and benefits is a big mistake.  ‘Competitive’ or ‘Negotiable on experience’ does not cut it.  Candidates are three times more likely to apply for a job that clearly lists reward on offer.   

4 – Job Adverts are not the place to put Job Descriptions and Person Specifications – Nicky Strutt

The best job advertisements entice potential candidates to make contact or find out more, they make it easy to apply.  These adverts tell a story about an organisation’s leadership, culture and values, the reasons they are hiring and where the person appointed fits into their plans.  Don’t fall into the trap of listing requirements. 

5 – Seek to engage first, interview second – Leon McHugh

Soft skills like communication, teamworking, problem-solving, etc. tend to define to whom a job offer is made.  If your candidate pool is all of a similar professional level, it is better to meet them informally first.  At this point, you can assess these skills before digging down on the technical.  Why do this? Simple, candidates prefer a ‘meet and greet’ to a panel interview as their first experience of your business = less drop outs.

6 – It will take longer than you think to appoint – Marc Norton

Not what you want to hear but it is the truth.  With significant time needed to find and engage with your target audience, through to (now very common) extended notice periods, it can take 4-5 months to have the ideal candidate arrive on site. Planning is essential.

7 – You need multiple resources to gain significant responses – Andy Harrison

Gone are the days when a job advert on a few websites would garner enough of a response to make an appointment.  You need passive and active means at your disposal to find the best talent.  After all, approximately 25% of candidates are actively seeking to change jobs at any given time.  Can you afford to ignore the other 75%?   

8 – Personalise the candidate journey – Colin McAlinden

All responses to your requirement must be acted upon within 24 hours of expressed interest.  Do not wait until Friday and see what has come in.  Treat every application as the only application, provide information promptly on timescales and process, encourage inquiries, and be open to engaging with the candidate informally.     

9 – Senior personnel need to be involved early – Alan Braithwaite

Every appointment is important, so be sure to have a Senior person from your business involved in the process at an early stage.  It could start with a very simple email, thanking the person for their interest and letting them know they look forward to meeting them to discuss the opportunity.

10 – Maximise the value from your recruitment partner – Damian Farrell

Recruitment agency staff are a valuable source of information. They see trends in the market as they develop, they can comment on the viability of planned tactics, and they have access to multiple resources in order to undertake desk-based research.  All of this and more, are available and free of charge for their clients – why not take advantage of it?

I hope these tips help inform your efforts and result in better returns from your recruitment activity.  Unfortunately, recruiting staff, like many other tasks, requires consistent and ongoing effort.  I have been recruiting for more than 25 years, there is no ‘magic bullet’ as far as I am aware.


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