How to attract the best candidates: the second in the FJWilson ‘Talent acquisition’ series

FJW coutts-4106-C-500pxFiona Wilson, MD of FJWilson, writes: This week’s resource suggests a series of steps to help ensure that, when you have a vacancy, you attract the best talent available.

1. Get your offer right. In particular, ensure that you benchmark the salary and benefits package for the role against the sector. If you wish to recruit from beyond your sector, you need to benchmark against the wider market.

2. In your recruitment material, present your employer brand to best advantage:

a) indicate positive employment practices – for example, an exceptional induction programme, effective performance management, learning and development provision;

b) present the general strengths of the organisation – for example, areas of growth or competitive advantage, key assets, financial health.

3. Anticipate candidates’ burning questions:

a) who would they be working for? It is helpful to provide a bio of the manager who the role reports to;

b) what prospects might there be? It may be helpful to provide two or three short case studies of employees who have progressed within your organisation from comparable roles.

4. If you engage a search agent, ensure that you provide them with the information they will need to match candidates effectively. A clear and detailed job description and information on the salary and benefit package are vital.

5. Give the search agent a thorough brief[1] that enables them to sell the role and organisation effectively to matching candidates. Remember that these may be either active candidates (those already looking for a new role) or passive candidates (those not already looking). The latter are more likely to require strong drivers to prompt their next move.

6. Over the long term, your reputation as an employer will be crucial. Confront these questions:

a) does your organisation consistently provide a great candidate experience?

b) are interviews always well thought out and professional?

c) do you provide timely, constructive feedback?


[1] For guidance, see our ‘How to write a brief’ resource:

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