Attracting top talent in 2021

National Liquor News

This article was published in the National Liquor News, April 2021 edition

What has surprised us the most this year is the challenge to attract great candidates. The market is more buoyant and there are new jobs, but active applicants are well down on last year. Why?

When talking with candidates, there is a general reluctance to move from existing roles into the ‘unknown.’ It’s harder to tap into the passive candidate market as people elect for the security of what they know, particularly if they are with a business that they believe has provided good support and leadership during Covid.

Our experience has shown that employers need to consider a couple of key areas:

  1. Flexibility: The way we work will never be the same again and flexibility is now a given, not a benefit, even as we regain normality. It can also be in other forms such as staggered working hours to cover things such as school drop offs and pick ups.
  2. Clear job brief and transparency: It’s important for employers to be upfront with candidates about challenges the business has faced. The more trust candidates in the passive market have in a business and interview process, the more likely they are to leave a role they’re not actively looking to move from.
  3. Workplace stability and opportunity: Candidates are wary of joining new companies without longevity or track record, so businesses should highlight a clear future vision and pathway, as well as potential growth, training and development opportunities in support of long term career progress.
  4. Employer value propositions: Management styles have shifted in the past year to prioritise empathy and compassion, with more emphasis on health, safety and security than ever before. Companies that have maintained trust with staff throughout the pandemic will be better positioned to competitively attract top talent as the market picks up. The interview process is a two way process – the smartest candidates are doing their own research in order to interview their employers too.

Underpinning all of the above is of course, culture. Candidates consistently tell us that culture is what matters to them most. We encourage employers to talk about their culture early in the interview process and to tell ‘their story.’

You can demonstrate your culture by connecting your values to candidates’ experiences through your online presence and HR processes. Create job ads that engage candidates – don’t just provide a list of key responsibilities and qualifications. Sell the role, your company and your culture to keep applicants engaged, and make sure external recruitment partners know as much about this as possible, so they can help attract the right people too.

Many of our clients have made the assumption that with more available candidates, filling roles will be easier, but this hasn’t been the case. We’re being asked more than ever to take over recruitment processes and have also experienced a sharp decline in Seek applications from the pandemic heights of 2020.

It’s the forward-thinking businesses that will come out in front in the fight for top quality talent. Be proactive and get ahead of the curve when it comes to recruitment and you will have the pick of a larger talent pool with less competition!