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How to Recruit Top-Notch Talent

  • by: Rebecca Fagan
  • On: 23, Jan 2020
6 min read

The recruitment landscape is tougher than ever, with high calibre candidates expecting more from the process like regular communications and a reason to believe in a company’s vision.

No longer can employers post on a job wall and be done with it, there is much more nuance to the recruitment process today and multiple avenues to follow in order to secure the best applicants.

We’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts for the recruitment process to help you find a simple process that enables you to focus on the calibre of candidate, not just how you find them.

Before we begin, the first step to a successful recruitment process is to interrogate why you are recruiting. The answer should be along the lines of recruiting employees to help grow the business. Once you have this idea underpinning the process you can’t go far wrong.

How to Make Sure You’re Recruiting the Best Staff


1) Act quickly

Companies, on the whole, are finding it more time consuming to recruit, with candidates often juggling multiple offers at one time. Glassdoor recently revealed that, according to their research, 71 per cent of job seekers receive two or more job offers at one time.

In order to secure the top applicants, they key is moving swiftly in the recruiting process. Do this by establishing quickly a mutual fit between you and the applicant. Nurture job seekers with a compelling employer brand that they will want to be a part of.

The key is to build a hiring strategy with four key elements: attracting, nurturing, converting and retaining. Once you have these elements in place, you will be poised to attract the highest quality of candidate and, therefore, the most dedicated and successful workforce.

2) Embrace Employer Branding

Branding is centred around how you market your company to potential employees. This involves everything, from how you present yourself, your ideologies and values, to how you respond to reviews and criticism.

With a limited pool of candidates who are more selective (especially with regards to female candidates, research suggests) in what they want out of their careers, recruiting in 2020 and beyond requires companies to put forward a case for why candidates would want to work for them.

Modern candidates like to be informed about the company culture, have more flexible working options and prize a work/life balance over other perks overall. Mental health is at the forefront of many prospective candidates minds, with issues such as burnout and the need for mental fitness being talked about increasingly opening. Consider adding a mental health first-aider to your team to ensure that staff feel supported, this will appeal to potential employees as it shows that your company is forward thinking and cares about the wellness of its workers.

Work out where your company fits into this modern working landscape, highlighting positive aspects such as diversity and gender balance; make sure that these aspects are communicated effectively.

As of June 2019, there were 4.8 million self-employed workers in the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics and it is estimated that the self-employed market contributes around £275 billion to the UK economy. Employers should, at this point, also be adapting to increasing numbers employees looking for a portfolio career, which could mean that they are working on multiple projects, with varying contract lengths and will expect flexibility within their contracts to accommodate this set-up.

3) Plan for a slump, especially with Brexit looming

Read our Step by Step Recruitment Strategy for Brexit to find out how to prepare for the potential disruption that Brexit could cause, including skills shortages and a possible “brain drain” that could result from a hard Brexit, particularly in tech industries.

One potential outcome is the need for a more flexible approach to working arrangements such as job-shares, flexible hours and working remotely. The surge in co-working spaces in the last decade has meant that attitudes to a traditional office environment have shifted. This relates most acutely to skilled employees working in EU countries post-Brexit, with changes to immigration rules that will potentially come into play.

One solution to this issue is the utilisation of cities in close proximity to London, such as Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin, which will all remain in the EU and can serve the need for tech-related businesses as they are easily accessible from London and employers can benefit from the more flexible intra-EU immigration rules that will still operate there. Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn already have a headquarters in Dublin, and other tech companies could soon follow suit.


1) Ignore or avoid employee reviews and feedback

Ignoring constructive feedback is never a good option. Often employees will make a remark for a valid reason and there are learnings to be had in most instances. Implement measures such as anonymity, trust that the feedback will be taken seriously and an openness in communication between all levels of the company.

Creating a learning culture in the workplace can be empowering for all levels of employment and management, with research by Deloitte suggesting that fostering a learning culture could lead to up to 37 per cent greater employee productivity.

By having both of these elements in place you foster an environment in which employees and prospective candidates feel respected and listened to and will help with retention in the long run.

2) Focus on one demographic such as Millennials or Gen Z and ignore the rest of the potential workforce

It’s important to avoid bias in all aspects of the recruitment process and an area that can be full of pitfalls is age bias. Research suggests that in 2019, the over-50s accounted for more than half the annual increase in employment in the UK with many employers seeking to invest in retraining older staff as well as recruiting from a younger pool.

With life-expectancy soaring and pension age being pushed back, working later into life is a reality for the majority of the existing and future workforce, there is no better time than the present to adopt good working practices to make the most of the full spectrum of ages and experiences within the workforce.

Read our 5 Steps to a Compliant Recruitment Process for more tips for avoiding issues such as bias.

3) Be afraid to take a stand

Stand out from the crowd for the values that you believe in, even if they are at odds with what other companies in your sector are currently doing. The way to attract the best candidates is by being the best at what you do and the only way to do that is by being authentic, to live your values and not be afraid to shout them from the rooftops.

This includes having a strong mission statement and set of values that your company and employees live by, at every level. Research has shown that mission-driven workers are 54 per cent more likely to stay at a company for more than five years, and to grow into high performers than those with purely financial motivations.

Many workers are now striving for jobs where they contribute something to society and perform meaningful work, it can be a real draw for potential employees and help with retention rates once they are installed within the company.

For further information on what to do with your top-notch talent once you have recruited them, read our 5 Ways to Increase Employee Retention and Engagement guide.

Have a question for the team? Get in touch at hello@v-hr.com.

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