The Changing Recruitment Market

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There are changes happening in the recruitment market, and finding your next job, or your next candidate, isn’t like it was a few years ago. There are more demands on both candidates and companies, and the job market is more competitive.

So, are you prepared for the changing recruitment market?

The candidate’s perspective

Candidates now expect more than just a job. When they go to interview with a company, they are going because they are hoping to join something special. Their career has meaning beyond what tasks they do during the hours they spend at work, and, because of this, companies are having to work harder to attract the right candidates.

Many are now working on building their employer brands, with websites dedicated to careers and information about what it’s like to work for their company.

So whether it’s putting beanbags in the office or stocking up the fridge with beers, employers are recognising that it’s not just about a job spec and salary when it comes to attracting the right staff. In fact, nearly 80% of workers (or 90% if you count just millennials) prefer additional benefits or perks to receiving a pay increase – so it’s important to make sure that your company is doing everything it can to align with your quality candidates’ needs ( We might think these things don’t matter, but they can make a difference when a candidate is choosing between a few job options, and more than anything, they offer a simple way to give a good impression to prospective employees and keep current staff happy.

However, because many companies are now creating their own employer brands and career microsites, they can also be pickier about their new recruits as they have a ready funnel of willing candidates who are keen to interview, sourced through their employer brand initiatives. This is changing how the recruitment market works for the employer.

The company’s perspective

Companies are understandably working hard to create their employer brands to attract a higher calibre of candidate and increase staff retention, and many have employed outside agencies or in-house teams who are dedicated to improving their brand recognition amongst candidates. They want employees to be loyal and proud to work for them, as can be seen by the many ‘Best Companies to Work For’ lists that businesses are increasingly applying to.

But one big change we’ve noticed is that businesses are increasingly only wanting to interview candidates who have significant industry experience – we’re seeing less companies willing to ‘take a punt’ on a candidate from outside the industry.

This is the employer’s way of reducing risk, especially for roles such as sales where reps can often take 6+ months to settle into their job before they are generating revenues and hitting targets.

Some businesses are becoming ever more specific about the candidate backgrounds they are looking for. For example, certain SaaS companies will only take on candidates who have sold similar products to similar customers, so the candidate pool can become incredibly small.

For those companies, the thinking is that it will be easier for the new hire to get up and running quickly if they understand the sector, product and client base. On the other hand, you could be ignoring a huge pool of talent that might not have the specific industry background you’re looking for, but does have the right personality and culture fit for your organisation.

This impacts on candidates, making it very difficult to swap industries as sector experience seems to be the big ask on most job specs.

Drilling down into the specifics

Another reason companies are becoming more specific in their search is their easy access to candidate profiles on LinkedIn. If you can easily see a list of candidates who have worked at your competitors and sometimes even see which client accounts they have worked on, then it’s much easier for employers to focus their hiring efforts on these specific candidates.

Many companies want less risk when it comes to hiring nowadays; and more guarantees. They want to know they are making a safe choice as the costs of hiring and even a few months salary can be too much to risk on the wrong hire.

What makes a great employer brand?

In order to attract these higher calibre candidates, businesses need to put in the hard work too.

39% of women and 33% of men say the ‘brand of the company’ is very important when considering a job move and organisations that invest in ‘employer branding’ are a whopping three times more likely to make a quality hire (

There are a few things to look at when considering building your employer brand:

  • Start thinking about your employer brand and how you want to be perceived by candidates and employees, if you haven’t done so already. Have employees posted reviews on Glassdoor about you? What areas need to be improved? Do you have dedicated careers pages showing what it’s like to work for your company?
  • What is your onboarding process? Research shows that top performing companies often have comprehensive onboarding and training processes in place. For smaller companies, that can be hard to replicate, but even having a standardised process that structures the training and welcomes the new employee into your company is a big positive.
  • What perks can you offer to your employees? There are lots of low-cost perks such as a few drinks after work every month, or pizza on a Friday in the office, that can make all the difference. Some companies take staff on annual trips, or send them hampers and gifts at Christmas! Perks don’t need to be expensive, it could be anything from donuts in the office to a pool table and a games room. Even if it helps to encourage one or two staff members to stay with your company for a few months longer then it’s probably already paid for itself.
  • Be open to expanding the candidate pool; don’t just focus your search on a narrow segment of an industry, as you might not find that perfect person you’re looking for. Search for transferrable skills and keep an open mind on candidates’ backgrounds, otherwise you will just end up hiring your competitors’ staff who will in turn hire your staff, and the cycle starts again!
  • Be flexible. Flexible working is becoming an increasingly important factor for workers who don’t want the standard 9 – 5 job and prefer to manage their own work-life balance. It’s also great for parents returning to work after having children, so don’t reduce your candidate pool even further by being unnecessarily rigid with your working schedules.

We can advise organisations who are looking to improve their employer brand, so speak to us today about better targeting your ideal candidates:



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