How to recruit in a worker shortage.

How to recruit in a worker shortage.

In this article, we look at ways you can get noticed and attract talented staff amid fierce competition and a shortage of candidates.

I was sitting in a recent Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce winter presentation and I was shocked at just how bad the labour shortages are right now. In Greater Birmingham alone, 57% of businesses have tried to recruit new staff in the last quarter, with 62% reporting problems getting people through the door.

COVID-19 has awoken many to the merits of enjoying a better work/life balance, avoiding burn-out and the desire to be more discerning in their choice of employer - resulting in a general demand for better pay, flexible working and added value beyond a steady income and job security.

With competition to hire talent super high right now, it's not enough to just offer a job. Companies who only go through the motions with their usual recruitment process are going to struggle and those doing something different can gain an edge.

We consider some of the ways businesses can stand out from the crowd and successfully recruit great talent.


1) Get your branding right and articulate purpose

Firstly, consider your branding and online presence, just as you would when promoting your business to customers. You want to make sure you are portraying a positive image as this will help with attracting talent, as well as convincing them they should work for you.

Be sure that your own branded assets (e.g. your website & social pages) are coherent and consistent and give potential candidates (not to mention potential customers) a good impression. Great branding also reflects the values and mission of your business, which great employers will ingrain throughout an organisation.

Also check what other information about your business exists online. When it comes to promoting a job vacancy, while Indeed is great for getting out to a large candidate pool, bear in mind that Indeed reviews are only a click away - if your company has a bad rep, it's going to turn-off potential candidates.

With competition so high, it's also more important than ever to make sure your job ad is engaging and the job purpose clear. Why should candidates work for you? What will they be doing? How will they be contributing to the mission overall and what are the professional opportunities for them?

There's no point advertising if the job isn't appealing or you look like an unprofessional company, so take some time making sure your company and your vacancy look enticing before investing money in paid ads.

2) Consider the salary and benefits proposition

Salary range:

There are pros and cons to including a salary range in your job ad.

If you leave the salary range out or make it too broad, candidates may feel they are not being taken seriously. If the range is too narrow and doesn't reflect current market rates or what your company can afford to pay for the role, then again this will put people off applying - even if there's a chance of negotiating salary later on in any event.

Job ads with a carefully considered salary range generally tend to get more clicks than those without, so it's worth thinking this through in advance.


Specifying the benefits package helps to paint a picture of what you offer beyond just salary.

And remember that this is not necessarily an expensive perks scheme - does your company have free parking? A Friday social with drinks and nibbles? Promote flexible and remote working practices? An office dog? This can make you stand out from the crowd and give a glimpse of your culture, which is important in attracting the right talent.

3) Don't confuse job ad and job description

True, your job ad should give candidates an idea of what the role involves. But it's not there to give them every single detail. Like any advert, the purpose of your job ad is to entice the right audience and increase the chance of quality candidates clicking on it.

Remember it's not a one-way process, and you (just as you would in the interview process) will be selling the company to them as they need to sell themselves to your company.

By all means give interested candidates the option to request the full job description once they've digested your ad and formed an interest in the opportunity.

4) Diversify your recruitment methods and platforms

Don't stick to a single recruitment method or platform. For example, try posting or advertising on social media on top of your usual job sites. Also explore different job sites and consider which are best suited to your industry (for example, you might find that Linkedin works really well for sales roles).

5) Streamline your selection process and save everyone's time

Be transparent up-front with candidates about what your selection process entails.

Anyone who's ever spent time job hunting will tell you how arduous and frustrating a long, drawn-out interview process with no end of skills tests and time commitments can be, especially if the end result is that they don't get the job.

A more intensive process might be necessary for key strategic roles, but keep in mind that the more hoops you make candidates jump through, the greater the risk that they'll pull out of the process or (especially if they're a strong candidate) get another job before you're ready to make an offer.

Be clear on how long each stage will take, as well as if there are any additional steps that you need them to take, such as filling in further documents or completing a test.

You can also use tech automation, such as a tracker to keep track of your candidates' applications. This way you'll have all the information about interest levels, milestones achieved and contact history in one place - which is great for time management as well as candidate engagement.

Having this level of transparency not only helps get through any bottlenecks or common sticking points quickly but it also gives you valuable insight into how many candidates are looking at your job ads, what they're interested in and their background.

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