5 Recruiting Strategies to Implement in 2022
The past 18 months have changed every aspect of how we do business in the UK, and recruitment is no exception. The industry was hit hard at the beginning of the pandemic, but 2021 proved to be a bumper year for recruiters as companies struggled to fill vacancies. Finding and hiring the right candidates has not been this challenging for decades. To be successful, recruiters and HR professionals need to adapt their approaches. Here are five recruiting strategies that will help you attract top talent in 2022.
The State of the Recruitment Industry
It is no exaggeration to say the UK recruitment industry has been on a rollercoaster since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Throughout 2019, recruiters introduced their contribution to the UK economy, only to see business drop by more than 20% as lockdowns hit during the summer of 2020.
Fast forward to April 2021, and the industry had bounced back. The Report on Jobs survey, compiled by consultancy KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Council (REC), shows that hiring had risen sharply for permanent and temporary positions. Demand for staff reached its highest level in 23 years, and a lack of candidates meant pay levels were rising.
Throughout the year, demand for jobs outpaced the availability of candidates. By the end of October 2021, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported a record 1,172,000 job vacancies. The trend applies almost universally across industries, with 15 out of the 18 sectors measured by the ONS showing record highs. The British Chamber of Commerce noted that the labour shortage is affecting all skill levels.
Most Promising Recruitment Strategies
For businesses looking to recruit, the current economic situation presents both challenges and opportunities. To address the former and take advantage of the latter, hiring managers need to utilise new strategies.
- Adapt to Remote Working
- Avoid Bad Hires and Focus on Employee Retention
- Prioritise Soft Skills
- Offer Candidates a Worthwhile Experience
- Target Gen Z Candidates
1. Adapt to Remote Working
In the spring of 2020, the pandemic forced workers across all levels to start working from home. The transition was often hurried, and many struggled with technical problems as well as rebalancing their work and home lives.
However, over time workers settled into their new routines and started discovering the positive aspects of working more flexibly. When companies asked their teams to come back to their office full time, many were not looking forward to once again being bound by rigid work models. Some employers valued their staff enough to introduce flexible work patterns or hybrid work models, combining time in the office with remote work.
Businesses that did not adapt faced what is now called the Great Resignation of 2021. Highly qualified professionals left because they were not offered the flexibility they were looking for. The trend is especially noticeable in the technology sector, but it is certainly not restricted to that.
Employers who offer flexible work patterns increase their chances of attracting the talent they really want. Flexible working includes choosing the location someone wants to work from. In addition, prospective hires may also want to work compressed weeks, spreading 40 hours over four days rather than five.
Offering remote work and flexible schedules benefits employers and employees. Apart from having an advantage over other employers when it comes to attracting the most qualified people, working flexibly has been shown to increase productivity. Remote workers face fewer distractions than office workers, meaning they often contribute more to the business in less time.
2. Avoid Bad Hires and Focus on Employee Retention
With labour shortages at a historic level, one recruitment strategy for 2022 is to retain your existing employees and avoid bad hires.
Consider your existing team and ask yourself if you have the right people in the right positions. If that is the case, retaining that team should be one of your priorities for the coming year. Recruiting new employees can cost thousands of pounds per employee and carries a higher risk than keeping existing staff.
If your organisation is about to ask your team to return to the office full-time, consider asking the team how they would like to work. Some may choose to work full-time from the office, whilst others will prefer a more flexible arrangement. Accommodating both may require changing some of your work processes, and both sides need to adjust. However, most businesses already have the tools in place to facilitate this.
Apart from holding on to your current team, avoiding bad hires is crucial. Employees who are the wrong fit for the company or – worse – toxic characters cause disruption and expense. Finding out your new employee does not have the critical skills they claimed to have during their interview wastes everyone’s time.
A solid recruitment process can minimise the risk of bad hires but consider adding a trial period into a new contract. Trial periods allow both employers and employees to assess whether things are likely to work out. Provide honest, constructive feedback and do not avoid bringing up issues. The sooner problems are out in the open, the earlier they can be addressed.
3. Prioritise Soft Skills
Here is the thing about soft skills: they are critical to the success of your business. Critical thinking, communication, and time management are often more important than technical skills.
Of course, you need your new programmer to have specific skills. But if they are unable to work to the specifications of your brief or a client’s requirements, your company will soon face trouble. Similarly, if your business model is based on working collaboratively, then hiring a “lone wolf” is unlikely to work out in the long run. Remember that soft skills will transfer from one position or one industry to another. Someone who is an excellent leader in one field can transfer those leadership skills to another, whilst getting up to speed with more technical aspects of the job.
When you are recruiting new employees, these are some of the most important soft skills to consider:
- Flexible thinking and adaptability to new circumstances
- Teamwork using remote working tools
- Self-motivation and the ability to prioritise work independently
- Emotional intelligence
Depending on how specialised the technical skills are that you are recruiting for, it can often make more sense to find the right person and then train them to have the right skills.
4. Offer Candidates a Positive Experience
A candidate’s experience with your company starts from the moment they apply for a job. Recruitment is not a one-way street. In fact, right now candidates are interviewing companies as much as you are interviewing them. Even if things do not work out and a particular person is not the right fit for the vacancy you are trying to fill, they can either become an ambassador for you or the opposite.
Treating candidates with respect should be normal but it is still something that companies overlook. So, how do you create a positive recruitment experience? Much of it comes down to communications and managing candidate expectations.
Here are a few examples:
- Timelines: let candidates know how soon they can expect a reply to an email application. Acknowledge receipt and let candidates know how soon they will be told if they were selected for an interview.
- Punctuality: you expect candidates to arrive on time for an interview, so it is only polite for your hiring manager to be punctual. Of course, unexpected things happen, and people are delayed. But most of us carry mobile phones everywhere, so it should be normal to update candidates when you are held up.
- Regular updates: waiting to hear whether they have been successful during an interview is nerve-wracking even for sought-after candidates. Inform interviewees when they can expect to hear from you and stick to your own deadline.
Offering a positive candidate experience generally only requires courtesy, politeness, and good communication. This may not sound like much but if you are competing for top candidates, it will set you apart from other employers.
5. Target Gen Z Candidates
Gen Z or digital natives are ready to enter the workforce. By 2025, they will comprise 75% of the global workforce. If you are looking to future-proof your business, you must start recruiting from this generation.
This recruitment strategy will give you access to workers who are not only qualified and capable They are also used to working with technology and focused on outcomes. If your business is in the middle of transitioning to a business model based on digitalisation, having digital natives on your team will make for a smoother change.
So how do you approach and engage them? Simply offering a job will not be enough, especially as the most sought-after candidates are likely considering several opportunities. Connecting to digital natives starts with using the right channel. Mobile devices already account for more than 50% of internet traffic in the UK, and professionals in this generation use their mobiles for almost everything.
Ensuring your adverts are optimised for mobiles is the first step. Offering a chatbot to answer frequently asked questions will make the recruitment process easier for candidates and HR professionals. Another important aspect is that many digital natives are looking at their career in the long term. Empowering them to develop their skills and advance their careers needs to be part of your recruitment strategy from the beginning. This generation understands their value for their employer. Flexible work options and a great candidate experience need to be at the heart of your approach.
The way we conduct business has changed dramatically over the past two decades. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated those changes even further.
Professionals across all industries have had an opportunity to re-assess their values and decide what really matters to them. Whilst having a fulfilling career continues to be important, what constitutes fulfilment has changed. To attract top talent in 2022, your company’s recruitment process needs to reflect those changes.
Successful hiring managers and recruiters will be able to offer remote or hybrid working options, approach Gen Z candidates via mobile devices, and offer an excellent candidate experience from the first contact. Valuing soft skills and existing employee relationships will also help your business attract the right people and continue to grow.