How to Attract the Best Candidates

attracting the best candidates

As a growing business owner, might not have considered how much of your time is taken up by recruitment. It can be a lot and outsourcing can be costly so you might not have a choice but to get hands on.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone. A whopping 69% of business find recruitment a bit of a challenge. The main issues include a lack of applications and finding the right candidate. SME’s particularly struggle with these elements of recruitment, with 3 out of 4 saying they have faced challenges.

To help you conquer these recruitment challenges, we explore the best approaches to increase quality applications. We also invited a number of HR experts and SME directors to weigh in on the debate so you can learn from the best.

How much detail to add

The first thing the candidate will see, and hopefully be enticed by, is your job advert. If you’re JD is too specific, you may put people off who don’t tick every single box. Not enough info, and you can get inundated with irrelevant CV. The trick is finding the middle ground.

Kunjal Tanna, the Recruiter and Director at LT Harper recommends:

“People often think that if they keep the advert light on details, they will attract a broader and larger population of people. In fact, you’re better off getting 10 relevant candidates than 100 of which only 5 match what you are looking for.”

Of course, you will naturally want to focus on all the important elements and leave the rest out. However, it is a good idea to ensure its detailed enough, so candidates know what to expect.

Tell a story

If you want the job description to stand out, focus more on the day to day aspects of the role, rather than just detailing duties. The job description should be set out as more of a ‘day in the life’, than just a list of tasks, as this will either bore the candidate or make them feel a little intimidated.

Perry Timms, Chartered MCIPD TED X Speaker and Founder of PTHR addressed this with us by saying: “Avoid meaningless buzzwords and instead create a short story based on one of your existing employees. For example, Nina was looking for work where she could stretch her imagination and learn whilst doing creative projects.”

However, it’s important that the description accurately describes the role and doesn’t just paint a pretty picture. Rebecca Clough, the Managing Director of In Car Safety Centre, addressed this with us by saying: “it might be tempting to exaggerate the positives of the role and/or gloss over some of more mundane expectations. Whilst this may increase the number of applications, it may also increase your turnover rates if new staff feel the role hasn’t met expectations. “

Write the job description in a way that makes them feel that they can see themselves in the role, or not, as the case may be. In this way, your job description will not only be more interesting, but it will attract the right candidates and those who will want to stick around.

Offer candidates a great recruitment experience

The candidate’s journey only begins with the advert and job description. If you want to recruit the very best talent, you need to ensure they have an enjoyable experience throughout the whole journey, from applying to being hired. This means making the process as easy as possible for them, communicating regularly and ensuring you adhere to tight timelines. You can easily lose a great candidate, just by taking too long to send them an offer.

Tim Fouracre, Founder and CEO at Clearbooks and Countingup spoke about the importance of the candidate’s journey by saying, “you may think the ball is in your court with candidates wanting your job opening, but for the excellent people that your organisation really needs, you have to give an excellent impression at every step of the hiring process.”

Ensure the correct person is managing the hiring process

Many SMEs operate in a niche and are looking for an expert to fulfill a specialist role. One of the key touch points during the recruitment process is the recruiting manager, be that internal or external. Leon Brown, the Education Content Developer and MD of NextPoint Software told us “make sure the person handling recruitment has a fair understanding of the role they are recruiting for. Seems obvious enough, but is often overlooked. This is particularly relevant to those in SMEs, whose businesses are often niche and specialist in nature.”

Photo by on Unsplash

This article was written by Dave Clough, a digital marketing consultant who specialises in editorial for SMEs. The information was created in partnership with Jerome Forde, founder of Forde HR Cloud, a HRIT platform that uses the most advanced cloud technology to bring a virtual HR office to start-ups and SMEs. For more recruitment tips and advice, you can read the full interviews on the Forde HR Cloud blog.


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