How do you attract candidates in a candidate short market?

Candidate shortages across multiple sectors

The UK economy is now well on the road to recovery and is projected to grow at a faster rate than expected. The number of jobs being advertised in the UK has already recovered to pre pandemic levels, and business owners and HR departments are now looking to capitalise on this growth. In order to do so, many will need to grow their teams, but many businesses are struggling to recruit with candidate shortages across several sectors (It is not just hospitality as the news might lead you to believe!).

So, how do you fill vacancies in a candidate short market?

The answer to this comes in two parts…

  1. You need to be candidate (and not role) focussed in your adverts in order to attract more candidates.
  2. You need to make your vacancy a priority!


Make your vacancy attractive to candidates?

Hiring Managers, Business Owners and HR Professionals need to understand that there are now many more opportunities for good candidates out there, than there are good candidates actively looking for a new job. If you do not advertise the role in a way that is attractive to candidates, the number of applicants will be very small reducing the chances of finding someone what you would be interested in joining your team.

Instead of focussing on what it is that the business requires in terms of skills and experience (although these are obviously important and need to be included), the focus of your job advert should be demonstrating what the candidate will get out of working for your business. You should:

  1. Advertise a salary – you will get far more applications.
  2. Understand you will need to pay the market rate (at least) – use benchmarking tools or search the internet for similar roles close to yours.
  3. Consider flexible working options – not just home working, but job sharing, part time hours, School hours etc.
  4. Tell candidates what they will gain in addition to the money – including training and development opportunities, autonomy, team spirit, a great working environment, rewards and benefits.
  5. Demonstrate your values and culture – why working for you will be good.


What does it mean to consider the vacancy a priority?

During candidate shortages, good quality candidates do not stay on the job market for long. If you fail to prioritise your vacancy, you are increasing the chances that you will miss out on the right person to join your team. You should consider:

  1. How onerous is the application process? – Often a CV is enough and the addition of a cover letter, application form or tests will put candidates off.
  2. How personal is your process? – Candidates simply don’t like video interviews, or automated portals. They are human and like to speak to other humans.
  3. How many steps are there in your interview process? – Two steps is standard for any role with no managerial responsibility. More may be too many.
  4. Is it unnecessarily daunting or too much for the role? – If the role does not require the successful applicant to conduct presentations, a presentation should not be part of the process.
  5. How long are you waiting between stages? – You should try and invite back to the next stage as soon as possible.
  6. Are you (or your hiring managers) ready to recruit? – You need to be able to allocate time for CV reviewing and interviewing. Delays will mean candidates dropping out.