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Recruitment: how to attract the best applicants


Author: Kareema Ali

Recruitment is a challenge for many SMEs. Over half of UK job-seekers have accepted their second-choice job offer because of the length of time taken for their first choice to get back to them a new study has shown. Robert Half UK questioned 1,000 UK applicants as part of the independent research.

So, how do you attract and secure the best applicants for your SME?

Set a clear time frame

Taking control of the time frame will ensure you don’t miss out on your ideal candidate. If you’re particularly impressed with a job-seeker’s CV then call ahead, explain that the application deadline has not been reached yet and check they’d be available for interview on the date you had in mind. That way, they know you’re interested and may think twice before accepting a different job in the meantime. If you know you’ve interviewed ‘the one’ then don’t delay in letting them know and starting employment negotiations with them.

Be clear

Decide which target group you are looking for considering characteristics such as education, experience, goals and motivations. Have your ideal candidate fixed firmly in your mind and convey this to potential applicants so they are clear of your expectations. It is worth noting here that you may need to be flexible with your wish list, but a clear starting point is always a benefit.

Strike a balance

Try not to be over specific or too vague about the person you’re looking for. It’s advantageous to cast your net widely so that you have a choice of candidates and can draw comparisons. It’s also important not to be too vague about what you’re looking for so that applicants know that you value their specific talents.

Use the right channels

Social recruitment is a vital tool when it comes to bagging the best candidates. Be selective about the channels you use and narrow down the best media to use to attract them. Encourage candidates to engage with your ad or post by getting creative.

Reach out

Don’t be afraid to do the chasing if it’s for the right candidate. Many employers are wary of laying their cards on the table for fear it may end up costing them more in salary and benefits. However, if you know the specific candidate you want is out there it may save you time and recruitment costs if you approach them directly.

Prioritise employee branding

You need to ensure that the best candidates see you as a desirable employer. Tailor your employee branding by being vocal about staff benefits, training opportunities and rewards. If your company has carried out charity work or won industry awards, then shout it from the rooftops to attract new talent.


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