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Vying for talent in a hyper competitive market - Planning (2/4)

Vying for talent in a hyper competitive market – Candidate attraction (2/4) ­­

In a recent report commissioned by the Open University they identified “More than three in five senior business leaders in Scotland (64%) find that the recruitment process is taking longer – with most of those (89%) saying on average recruitment is taking at least a month longer this year than in the year previous.

While the process is taking longer, when talented workers with in-demand skillsets are identified, they are able to take advantage of their strong position, driving employers in Scotland to spend an additional £81 million on salaries.”

So, what can individual businesses do to combat the increased recruitment cycle time, remain competitive, positively affect and mitigate the demand for higher salaries?

There are 4 key stages to the hiring cycle:

  1. Planning            
  2. Candidate attraction
  3. Selection/Interviewing
  4. Offer/Negotiation

Stage 2.

Candidates have plenty of choice, so the onus has shifted. In today’s market, companies must be more creative, sell themselves and offer bespoke benefits to attract and retain the best people.

What you need to know

  1. What are you selling?
  2. Who are you up against and are you competitive?
  3. What content should be in your job adverts?


  1. What are you selling?

Most businesses have a defined sales and marketing strategy for customer acquisition, so why should candidate acquisition/attraction be treated any differently?

Customer acquisition:

You understand your USP and those of your competitors, you develop a competitive or unique product/service offering, then market it to your target audience via the most effective platform/s.

Candidate acquisition:

  • Why would someone want to work for you?
  • What is the overall opportunity that you are offering, what makes you different from your competitors?  
  • Which businesses did your current team previously work for, what attracted them?
  • When individuals leave your business, why do they leave & where do they go?

If you can answer these truthfully then you’ll be on the right track to develop a strong candidate attraction campaign and perhaps be one step ahead of your competition.

  1. Who are you up against and are you competitive?

Who are your ‘talent’ competitors? They are not necessarily, just any other business that are looking for the same technical skill set.

  • Some candidates will be drawn to work for an early-stage, high-risk, disruptive tech company with broad technical challenges
  • Some candidates will want to work for a multi-national, with long-term security, structured career development to become specialists in a specific area  

If you are a start-up, you are probably not competing for the same individuals that want to work for the multinationals and vice versa therefor, you don’t have to measure your offering against theirs. Look at other similar businesses, technology, market, size and location. These are the businesses that you are more likely to be in competition with.

Once you understand these elements you can develop your benefits package accordingly and become more competitive in your specific market segment.

Benefits packages:

Benefit packages don’t necessarily have to have a financial impact on the business. Many candidates value other elements of work/life balance over traditional benefits like, pension, bonus, healthcare etc.

Flexible hours, compressed hours, work from home, remote working, buy/sell holidays, day off on your birthday, gym discount, cycle to work scheme etc.

Be inventive when it comes to benefits, unique benefits can help foster a strong culture and this will help you attract and retain the right people.

  1. What content should be in your advert

Recent surveys by multiple organisations outline these 4 elements as ‘must haves’ in any advert and without them, candidates may be discouraged to apply.

  1. Salary (Detailed salary range not, ‘competitive’ or ‘commensurate with experience’)
  2. Benefits (Full details - not ‘comprehensive benefits package’ or similar)
  3. Company and culture (History of the company, size, ethos, values etc.)
  4. Development opportunities (Roadmap, future markets, growth plans, investment etc.)

A well-constructed advert, with the right balance of content, shared with the right audience can still generate significant interest in today’s passive market.

Recent Glassdoor survey: “Nearly half of job seekers (48 percent) utilise job search websites to research employers versus professional networking sites/social media (31 percent)”

Attracting tech talent is incredibly challenging in today’s market, but with some simple steps you can significantly increase the odds of success and stay one step ahead of your competitors.

You might be interested in reading part 1 – Planning