How to avoid losing the best potential candidates when recruiting

The wheels of UK plc are rolling again, but one of the biggest challenges facing businesses in Gloucestershire and beyond, is finding and landing those new staff members to help them capitalise.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
Richard Arthur, of ethical recruitment agency Hooray, looks at one of the key challenges facing businesses trying to recruit - finding and keeping the right candidate.
Richard Arthur, of ethical recruitment agency Hooray, looks at one of the key challenges facing businesses trying to recruit - finding and keeping the right candidate.

Footfall in Cheltenham has been exceeding pre-pandemic levels; staycations are the hottest new thing this summer; hospitality and leisure are re-opening; and businesses are looking to build their teams for the future.

But, as restrictions imposed to curtail the pandemic lift and businesses breathe a sigh of relief, one major challenge stands firm – finding the right candidate and holding onto them long enough to get them onboard.

Who better to ask about how to manage this tricky process than recruitment expert Richard Arthur, from Hooray – who helps the Cheltenham-based firm’s many clients overcome these kinds of challenges and more.

About the expert – Richard Arthur from Hooray

With 20 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, managing director and founder of Hooray, Richard Arthur, launched the Cheltenham firm in November 2017.

The first ethical recruitment company in Gloucestershire, Hooray has been making its mark on clients through its transparent and honest approach.

When we discussed the jobs market back in mid-May, Hooray urged businesses looking to recruit ‘do not hang around’. Does that advice remain and why?

It certainly does! Even though the furlough scheme is coming to an end (currently due to cease on 30 September 2021), the labour market remains tight. A fair number of prospective candidates who would normally be looking are sitting tight due to perceived uncertainty.

Do you have any anecdotes of businesses delaying a decision or thinking they had found the perfect new staff member, only to lose them?

We have a few! We had one client who postponed an interview twice and the candidate decided not to progress. Another situation we had was when the gap between first and third stage interview was over six weeks. The candidates we had in the mix both secured other opportunities during the process.

What is causing such a difficult market for employers, and what kinds of issues are businesses facing as a result?

We think a number of factors are causing these problems, from Brexit to furlough; uncertainty to the mixed messages from the media. It’s not one thing, but a variety of contributing factors.

Although we don’t cover the hospitality market particularly, you only have to look at that as an example of what happens due to staff shortages. Businesses cannot operate at full capacity and have to close for periods of the day.

In our sectors, some businesses are not able to grow to cope with the demands from their clients, however we can, and do, encourage them to see what skills can be ‘trainable’ rather than looking for that non-existent ‘perfect’ candidate.

Are there steps businesses can take to make sure that when a new recruit says ‘yes’ to a position, they follow through?

Absolutely. Sending a formal offer letter promptly, making sure there is a robust induction and training process in place and keeping the contact with the candidate throughout the notice period. Taking up references also demonstrates professionalism and commitment.

Is this where recruitment firms, like Hooray, come into their own – using their experience to ensure the benefits of each role is communicated, and finding the right candidates to start with?

Definitely. The closer we work with our clients, the more we can manage the candidate process to ensure maximum success for both parties.

What other benefits come from building a good relationship with a trusted recruitment firm when it comes to looking for staff in such a competitive market?

We advertise on a whole host of platforms as well as having a huge social media presence – and pay quite a lot of money to be able to search candidates on the job boards rather than just relying on ad response.

We also have LinkedIn Recruiter, and years of experience knowing how to have challenging conversations, as well as promoting the benefits of working for the organisations we deal with. Plus, when the relationship is cemented, the client can literally leave it to us and spend their time on other matters.

There was a feeling that many candidates may have been sitting their hands, waiting to come into the jobs market as the year unfolded. Can you give any hope to firms also praying for a change in the marketplace?

I personally think the candidate market will ‘loosen’ slightly in the next few months, but I wouldn’t suggest by a great amount. I think the main challenge for recruiters and organisations looking to hire will be candidate shortages – and I don’t think this is going to change drastically any time soon.

Read more: Hooray expert insight: What is happening in the Gloucestershire jobs market?

Read more: Hooray expert insight: Why using a recruitment agency is more important than ever as the furlough scheme ends

Read more: Hooray expert insight: How Gloucestershire businesses can future-proof themselves now

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