Rail engineer

Matt writes:

If you’re recruiting, remember: you need to be an attractive employer.

The latest State of Trade Survey by Build UK (online pdf) describes how shortages are now intensifying among white collar staff. Contractors report problems recruiting supervisors, managerial, professional and technical staff.

The main reasons stated for the difficulties in filling vacancies were the low number of applicants and that they lack the required

  • skills (53%)
  • experience (53%)
  • qualifications (48%).

In a market like this where good talented professionals are generally going to have a lot of choice over where they work, it’s even more important to engage with your prospective employees. This should, in my opinion, be a key focus of any recruitment strategy.

All the buzzwords are great, like ‘building rapport’, ‘networking’, ‘attracting passive candidates* ’ etc – but while these are important, what’s often overlooked is ensuring professional representation of your brand to candidates.

One of the first interactions a lot of people will have with your company is the recruitment process. If this process is unprofessional in any way, in a candidate-driven market like this, you’re always going to be fighting an uphill battle to get talent on board. It often amazes me how this simple yet obvious truth is systematically overlooked by companies and recruitment professionals alike.

It’s essential to have a recruitment partner that fundamentally understands this, and will advise you of a professional process.

You don’t want someone who will just say ‘yes’, or tell you what they think you want to hear. You need someone who will give you honest feedback on your requirements and process, as well as informing you of current market conditions – whether it’s good news or bad news. You want someone who is going to represent your brand and give professionals who are in the market a good experience of your company, whether they get the job or not. Even the unsuccessful ones: you want them walking out of their interview saying “I hope one day I’m good enough to work there”.

Remember, at some future stage, they may be your client.

How do you pick the best recruiter?

  1. It helps if they know the market you’re in. They will have spent time building networks that are relevant to you. They’ll understand the culture of the industry, and be able to talk the same language as your company and your candidates.
  2. Choose carefully, do your research and remember you get what you pay for. So don’t always choose only on price. Get to know your recruiter. If they won’t come and meet you, how committed are they to your business? And do they care about representing you accurately?
  3. Try conducting your own mystery shopper check of your recruitment partner. Ring your agency as a prospective candidate and see how they answer your call and deal with your enquiry.

It’s people who make a business what it is. So make sure you get the best people into your company.

Matt Teasdale
Author: Matt Teasdale, VGC Personnel team leader


* What is a passive candidate?

A passive candidate is someone who is not actively looking for work, but might well be tempted by the right offer from a good recruiter.