Business

Recruiting in a crowded market

At times of high employment, the challenge of attracting and recruiting the best candidates is significant

THE old adage that a company's most important asset is their people has never been more true. If you want a successful business it's essential to ensure you're hiring the best candidates, as placing the right people in the right roles will have an immediate effect on your business.

Unemployment rates in Northern Ireland reached a record low in May this year, with only a minimum increase since then and the latest figures showing just 3.3 per cent unemployment - sitting below the UK rate of 4.2 per cent.

In addition, the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), another indicator of the local labour market, suggests that the number of employee jobs reached a record high in the first quarter of 2018.

That's great news for the economy and job seekers. But what do you do if you're in the market for skilled and professional employees?

At times of high employment, the challenge of attracting and recruiting the best candidates is even greater. Competition is rife, the pool to recruit from is smaller, and candidates may feel they can and should take advantage of the marketplace by demanding better financial packages and increased benefits - which some employers may not be able to compete with.

So, should you automatically increase remuneration and hope to secure the best talent? Not necessarily. While good pay and financial benefits are obviously important, there are many other areas of consideration a potential candidate will weigh up before contemplating a career move.

It's worth thinking about what would-be employees will take into account before agreeing to join your organisation or business. Are you stable, making money and expanding? Are you employee-friendly? Do your values align with the people you most want to recruit? Will your organisation nurture their talent and provide exciting opportunities for challenge and professional growth? If you can positively answer these questions, are you sure you're communicating these points so that the best candidates know it too.

Being an employer of choice, with a strong industry reputation is a powerful tool in attracting talent.

To appeal to the best people, it's important you understand what motivates and inspires them in the workplace. You should be committed to promoting your brand image, company values and opportunities; so that candidates can assess whether their needs align with your offer.

Good candidates will also want to know if there are development opportunities and will be more likely to invest their talent in a company that's willing to invest in them in return.

Don't forget to look closer to home when it comes to promoting your business - your existing employees are your best ambassadors when it comes to company reputation. Professionals that actively network can get an insight into what it's like to work in your organisation through your employees and could be the final push in their decision-making process.

Getting these things right will ensure your organisation stands out in a crowded recruitment market vying for the best talent in a competitive environment and will help you to attract the right people for the job. Most importantly, it will help retain them, so you can concentrate on the important work of growing your business.

:: Cathal O Donnell is regional director of Brightwater NI

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