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Recruitment and HR Blog

How to win the ‘war for talent’

28th February 2022

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Are you really doing all you can to win the talent war?

It’s been a challenging twelve months for talent attraction. There are some positive signs that the candidate market’s bouncing back a little and an increasing number of people are planning to make a move; for example, this recent report featured in People Management magazine suggests that two out of five working parents are thinking about looking for a new job. But it’s still very much a candidate-driven market for now and employers have a lot of work to do to make sure they’re attracting the best.

Are your job adverts working hard enough?

There are many great applicants out there – but how effectively are you drawing them in? The impact of your job advert is huge. We cannot stress this enough - don’t underestimate how important it is. You are depending on that advert to catch the eye of the person – or people – you are ultimately going to employ. That advert needs to generate enough interest for the potential applicant to click though onto your website, or to check out your social media accounts, or visit sites like Glassdoor to get more of a feel for who you are. If your job adverts aren’t standing out from the crowd then you’re falling at the first hurdle. And even if you’ve got a great advert, if it's not in the right places, it isn’t being seen by the right people. You’re reducing your chances of recruitment success straight away.

So what specific points should you keep in mind?

  • Adverts are designed to sell

Like any other form of advert, a job advert is there to sell. And yet so often what they actually become in reality is just a list of duties and requirements – more or less a cut and pasted job description. Yes, some of that detail is necessary and should appear on there. But your job adverts are missing a trick if they aren’t really selling the job opportunity and your employee value proposition: in other words, your real point of differentiation. The purpose and the why someone would want to join your company.

For example, the People Management article we mentioned talks about candidates really valuing employers who recognise and help with the challenges involved with balancing working responsibilities and caring responsibilities. Are you doing great things on that front perhaps? It’s fantastic if you are – and from a recruitment perspective you need to be making sure messages like that are being heard loud and clear by potential applicants.

Another thing to be mindful of is whether you’re using language in your adverts that’s actually turning suitable candidates off; more inclusive language can potentially widen your talent pool. If you’d like to understand a bit more about inclusive language, this blog might be useful to take a look at.

  • Don’t be coy about sharing the salary

Employers can be divided on this subject, but from years of experience in the recruitment industry we are absolutely clear on where we stand on it. To attract the best talent for your business, you must include a salary guide on your job adverts.

You don’t have to be specific. It’s okay to include a range if you’d like to have some flexibility in there. But you need to make sure that you give an idea of what they can expect. An awful lot of potential applicants won’t even consider applying without some idea of whether the package on offer is attractive to them or not. It takes time to put a good application together, and potential candidates won’t be prepared to invest that time if they have no feel for whether the salary meets their aspirations or not. Find out more about why it makes sense to put salaries onto job adverts here.

  • Will only a unicorn do? Are you certain?

Okay, you might be a little mystified by that expression but what we mean by that is - are you hanging out for the applicant that ticks every “dream candidate” box? We’re not saying those types of candidates don’t exist, but if you narrow your search down to only considering applicants who fulfil your entire wish list, then you are going to limit your pool considerably. That’s okay if it’s genuinely what you need, but make sure that the package is reflective of those niche requirements. These kinds of people will be in great demand, and they will be in a position to be very picky about the jobs they apply to. So review your package – but also ask yourself whether you could perhaps be more flexible with the background requirements you’re asking for.

  • Get your advert seen across all suitable job boards

Once you’ve created a great job advert, you must make sure you’re leaving no stone unturned when it comes to where it’s posted. A “post and pray” approach to multiple job boards simply won’t cut it. There are more than 1100 job boards in the UK so choosing the right leading, specialist and regional platforms that are going to reach the talent you need is absolutely key.

  • Act quickly!

Put very simply – if you snooze, you lose! If you’re not quick off the mark, you might find your applicants have already gone off the market by the time you’re ready to book them in for interview or make your offer. You are competing against other employers, and they will be moving the selection process forward as quickly as possible, balanced against the need to ensure the right hiring decision is still made.

We know this isn’t easy to do. Recruitment is time-consuming. That’s why in such a competitive market, it’s worth considering what you can do to speed up the hiring process and give yourself the advantage over other slower-moving employers: potentially by exploring how technology can be used to best effect, or by using a recruitment partner like JVP Group to lift the burden of the time-consuming tasks in the early stages of the selection process.

Winning the war for talent at Chester Zoo…

So how about taking a look at these guiding principles in action? At the end of 2021, JVP Group completed a key project for Chester Zoo, transforming the zoo’s approach to recruitment by addressing many of the issues mentioned above.  We used our expertise to advise them in how to effectively update and articulate the zoo’s evolving EVP messaging, and revamp its job advert language. The immediate impact on its job advertising campaigns has been tremendous – why not read more here?

And if you’d like to know more about we can help you with your talent attraction strategy, then please do get in touch with us.

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