Get tooled up, there’s a talent war on

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It’s not new. Skilled and talented staff have always been hard to find. But according to the CIPD, three quarters of small and medium sized businesses in the UK now say they’re really starting to feel the pinch.

While talented people have always been hard to find, today they’re even harder to hire. The familiar challenges presented by talent scarcity are being exacerbated by the changing expectations of a young workforce, by political and economic uncertainty, and by unprecedented levels of transparency.

As a business grows, keeping track of swelling recruitment needs can become a challenge. But now is not the time to let things slip. In the world of Twitter and Glassdoor, a poor recruitment experience isn’t just one dejected applicant or one bitter probation failure. Drop the recruitment ball in a big way today, and the likelihood is that the story will be indelibly accessible tomorrow to any prospective employee who spends fifteen seconds googling your organisation.

Every day, people base decisions on Amazon reviews, Uber ratings and TripAdvisor feedback; and they are intensely sensitive to organisations whose behind the scenes behaviour appears to contradict the values they espouse publicly.

What can we do? Simple, don’t drop the ball. People’s willingness to share their experiences is undoubtedly a threat to employer brands, but it’s also an opportunity. Every interaction, every touch point, is a chance for a positive brand experience. Applicants can go on to be ambassadors whether they end up working for you or not. So what does good look like?

Customer service

Instill a customer service ethos into your recruitment activities. Ask for advice from whoever’s responsible for customer service standards in your organisation. Make communications timely, personable and on brand. And collect feedback from both successful and, potentially more importantly, unsuccessful candidates to give you an idea of where you can improve.

Long forms and complex questionnaires are a barrier. Clunky websites and poorly designed portals reflect badly on your organisation and your brand. Today, applicants expect a streamlined, online process where they can upload a CV and cover letter in a few clicks.


Where do recruits go to learn about what it’s like to work for your organisation? Content can sit on the careers page of your website: What is the environment like? What do current employees like about their job, their colleagues, their lunch options?

Used correctly, social platforms like Twitter and Instagram offer unparalleled opportunities to serve up ‘behind the scenes’ glimpses of what life could be like working with your organisation. Cake Friday, team lunches, after work drinks, promotions, congratulations, successes and innovations; it’s the everyday details that bring your employer brand to life.


Applying for a job will always be an anxious process for most people, so a smooth system should help to mitigate that discomfort. Ensure applicants receive regular communication. Think like a marketer.

Alongside the critical information, use these opportunities to massage their perception of your employer brand. Share relevant careers content. An article from your CEO? Suggest they follow you on social media? Perhaps a short message from the director in charge of the part of the organisation they hope to join? Nobody every complained that their prospective employer contacted them too much, and with the automation options available through modern HR software, the process is totally manageable.


When an applicant is left unsure about what happens next, that is a fail. State the exact process at the beginning. Explain at every stage what comes next and how long it will take. If things change, the process overruns, communicate that. And, at the risk of stating the obvious, do what you say you’re going to do.

Don’t do goodbyes

Most job applications will be unsuccessful. Personalised feedback is a must for candidates that make it through to the interview stage. And while it’s not possible to deliver this interaction in detail for everyone, remember what we said about creating ambassadors.

Give a thought to how you respond to initial unsuccessful applications: A gentle, friendly let-down, with thanks; a promise to get in touch should a suitable opportunity arise; a line alluding to the unbelievably high standard of applicants for the role. Modern software can automate this process, freeing up time for you to deal more closely with the applicants still in the pipeline

On boarding

If it’s going to go wrong, the first few months is probably when you’ll find out. Often, we see new starters handed off to their respective line managers or fired into the buddy system, and that’s the last they hear from HR until something bad happens. Your HR system can set reminders or even automate communication on, say, one and a half months. Find out how they’re settling in. Let them know they’re still important to you. 

Effective recruitment is about reputation management as much as it’s about resourcing, and when an organisation reaches a certain size, the right cloud-based software can make all the difference in both areas. Our system allows HR teams to easily keep track of the entire process, from creating and publishing vacancies, through paperless contract management and onboarding.

To talk to one of our experts about how we can add value to your process, click here.