The UK alone hosts over 40,000 recruitment agencies, who are all competing for the same skilled talent pools. Skills shortages have seen Britain suffering an urgent lack of 40,000 teachers and 38,000 nurses, with over 70% of British employers struggling to attract both permanent and contract IT professionals.
In 2021, redundancies and career reassessments driven by Covid-19 have created thousands more jobseekers across industries. However, although the market is now candidate-rich, recruiters will need to expend more effort and strategic thought than ever into winning candidates from rivals.
Here Generate’s contractor management experts explore the three most impactful ways that recruitment agencies can attract, engage and deliver high calibre candidates to clients across the world.
The 3 Best Methods to Attract Candidates to Your Recruitment Agency
1. Know Your Candidate and Act in Their Best Interests
Recruitment agencies have long suffered – unfairly – from a negative reputation in some sectors. The top candidate complaints include:
- ‘Pushy’ consultants who go for a hard sell or aggressive approach
- Consultants who clearly don’t know much about a role beyond the job description, and contact candidates about roles that are irrelevant to their situation and needs
- Consultants who promise to call back but never do – or worse, never provide a single call or email response after a candidate sends in their CV.
The best way to ensure you truly know your candidates inside and out is to build a ‘persona’ for each candidate type. Segment your target market out by industries, job title or individual needs, so that you can use a different approach for marketing and selling to each type with the most appealing message for each. Put yourself in the shoes of your candidates: what is their ideal job, what are their biggest motivators, and what are their biggest challenges? Perhaps some candidates are interested in a challenging role where they learn new skills every day, whereas others want to travel, manage projects or teams, or work alone at home.
Build a picture of your ideal candidate that includes their personal life too. Home and family can have an even greater impact on career goals than any other element, particularly following the changes brought by Covid-19, where more jobseekers than ever before are motivated by work-life balance. An exciting new role may offer a large salary and bonus package, but if it doesn’t provide home working opportunities or flexible hours, don’t waste your time contacting individuals such as working parents or those living in rural locations who have told you that flexibility is a must-have.
Ensure your candidate personas fit the types of client requirement you receive, to set up the best potential matches between client and candidate in the future. Finally, you don’t need to target every single type of candidate: some jobseekers just won’t fit the mould for the clients you work with. The best strategies involve knowing who to engage and who not to target. Invest your best efforts into the candidates whose wants and needs you are most likely to deliver on, to best help, satisfy and retain quality candidates.
2. Build Your Agency and Individual Brand Across Channels
In a crowded market, recruiters must increasingly differentiate themselves form the competition. Work with your in-house HR and marketing teams to get inside the heads of your candidates and understand what they most value about your agency, and you as an individual recruiter. For example, is your agency international inside and out, speaking a variety of languages and possessing a wide global network which helps your contractors and permanent candidates find new roles anywhere across the world? Are you as a consultant particularly nurturing and encouraging to candidates who struggle with job interviews, or do your communication skills help you prise out valuable information from clients that will give your candidates a head start when meeting a client?
Establish your personal and agency brand across channels, and take a consistent and long-term approach. Create a regular blog that utilises your expertise as a recruiter to help candidates with topics such as CV advice, interview preparation and offer negotiation. Stay active on social media by not only posting your own messages but liking, sharing and commenting on relevant industry topics and recruitment questions shared by others, to raise awareness of your brand in your target market and show a genuine interest in talking to and helping your audience.
3. Write Top Quality Job Adverts
Recruiters are missing out on the largest untapped talent pool of all: candidates who are the perfect fit for and are actively looking for a new role, but who don’t take the first step to get in touch or register interest. The first stage of the recruitment journey – the job advert announcing and promoting a new opportunity – can often prove the most vital. Well-written adverts are the most important tactic in getting candidates through the door to start your relationship.
The job adverts with the highest volume and quality of applications will be:
- Immediately Engaging – Grab your reader instantly with a short, punchy introduction. Explain the best features or benefits of the job you’re advertising in the first sentence of the ad, to encourage your audience to continue reading the rest of the advert.
- Well Structured – Use bullet points, short paragraphs and headings to make your advert as easy to understand as possible. Write each ad as a story that takes the reader through a journey from their initial interest to applying for the role: introduction, what the role involves, requirements of the ideal candidate, and a call to action letting the reader know what they need to do to apply.
- Relevant – Don’t simply copy the job description given by the client; only use the information that is most relevant, useful and interesting for the candidate, to reduce the likelihood of losing them to distractions or disinterest.
- Inclusive – Recent studies show that gendered language in job adverts can deter as many as 50% of your female candidates from applying.Review each job ad, and ask a colleague to review as a more objective reference point, to ensure every advert is free from subtle and overt bias. Avoid words like ‘competitive’ and ‘champion’ which could be seen as masculine-coded, and only list the skills and experience that are absolutely necessary; a majority of women are unlikely to apply for a role unless they feel their skills and experience are at least an exact match if not better than required.
- Signposted – Don’t forget to include a clear call to action at the end of your post, so that your reader knows what to do next. Provide both an email address and a phone number to suit all preferences.
Increase Candidate Retention and Client Satisfaction
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