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All employers know it is hard to find staff at the moment.

The British Chambers of Commerce recently surveyed 6,000 firms and found that problems with hiring were at near-record highs.

That means companies have to approach recruitment very differently than they did when there were millions unemployed. But there are ways in which employers can make themselves stand out to candidates.

"It is tough,” says Jason Gault, Managing Director of TeamJobs.

“But what I think companies need to do is start to concentrate on opportunity.

“The realisation for companies is that they have got to create an environment in their business so that the people they want will come and work for them, instead of looking for their competitor.”

You Cannot Hire The Old Way

“Putting an advert out and waiting for a response is becoming a much smaller part of what we do,” says Jason Gault.

“We are becoming much more pro-active.  We are having to go out and find people and we are using social media to sell ourselves much more on a mobile device than we did even two or three years ago.”

Technical Manager Rob Bruce adds: “The old school recruitment processes are no longer worth going down.

"Engineers do not want to sit and write CVs. You have got to start putting in place systems such as practical trade testing.”

The days when employers could afford to let CVs sit on their desks for several days are also over, says Vicki Reeks, Industrial Manager for TeamJobs.

"We live in a society where everything is fast paced. It is right here, right now, everything’s at the click of a button and people lose momentum. You are only as good as your team and if you do not place a value on recruitment and attracting the quality of staff and retaining those you have got, you are always going to be recruiting.”

Be The Kind Of Employer People Want To Work For

“You have got to sell the company rather than merely selling the position,” says Rob Bruce.

“If companies are not doing that, then eventually people are going to steer clear of them.

“We have had companies we have worked with in the past that were stuck in their procedures. For instance, if you needed to go off for a doctor’s appointment, you would have to book half a day off. If you worked overtime, you would only get paid for 40 hours – you did the overtime for the love of the business.

“That company over the last three years have changed things. They have implemented overtime, they have become flexible on working hours and it has become a better place to work.

“The people who work for you are selling the company at the end of the day. You can broadcast the company virtues and fancy websites, but that is not going to potentially sell your business. It is word of mouth. The people that are working there, are going to sell it."

Even TeamJobs has taken this journey, Jason Gault says. “Ten years ago, I was very anti-part time working. Ninety per cent of our workforce are female. We have now got some very successful part-time supermums working within our business. I think there are still businesses out there that are very rigid, they don’t give much but they want the world back in return."

Michelle Mitchell, TeamJobs’ Operations Manager, adds: “People want to feel valued and it is not always financial. It could be other things that the company could offer long-term or the candidate can offer to the company. What can you bring to the table that is going to benefit the other party, and not necessarily just tick all the boxes on a job spec?”

Approach Things Differently

Some businesses need to plan on the basis that skills will be scarce, Jason Gault says.

“If you are a company that still relies heavily on a precision engineering workforce, that is a shrinking workforce,” he says.

“If you are planning the next 10 years on skilled CNC turners or millers, the clever companies are investing in machinery so they manage to de-skill those roles. Whether we like that or not, that is the reality we are in. 

“We have just won a contract with a client who says they don’t recruit trying to find a fully skilled end product. They try and find people that are half way there and they train the rest.”

Be Good To People

For all the changes in the jobs market, an old-fashioned attention to treating people well is all-important.

“Recruitment is a people business. We can all get tied down with emails and being social but it is actually bringing it back to grass roots and dealing with people as you would want to be treated,” says Vicki Reeks.

"One of the questions on our application pack is ‘What’s the most important thing to you about your next role?’

“Whereas most people would have said a couple of years ago it is all about money, now the focus is how they are made to feel, it is about being part of a team, being valued, being recognised.

“I think companies are recognising that and they are working harder to maintain their staff to ensure they keep the skills and the talent.”

Work With Your Recruitment Consultants

“Many companies see recruitment consultancies as a CV-sifting service. We always work to add value, work alongside other businesses, and we will always be honest with them.” says Jason Gault.

Rob Bruce adds: “A lot of clients think ‘I don’t have time’ but they are in serious need for staff. If we can educate them to work with us, give us the time so we can understand the business, understand the process and let us take that pressure off them, we can speed up the process.”

Jason Gault says this can mean taking a second look at candidates who might not have the ideal qualifications. "We say 'On paper, this person doesn’t look amazing’ but there is that trust. We can often help get people into the business and they will say 'Yes, this person is really, really good’.”

Let’s Bring To A Close

Times may be challenging, but forging trusted relationships between employer and consultant can make all the difference.

Things are different today than the way the world once was. Hiring staff presents challenges for everyone.

Hiring has been tough for years, that is why there are companies such as TeamJobs, who stand the test of time. There is no silver bullet with a solution to all the recruitment challenges, but the world does not have to be a dark place where companies have to figure out the answers by themselves.

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