Recruitment strategies need to change for a post-pandemic candidate market, advises North Wales job advertising specialists

St Asaph based job advertising company JVP Group is marking seven phenomenally successful years in business by highlighting the key trends currently shaping the market to UK employers and encouraging them to adapt their talent attraction and recruitment strategies accordingly.

JVP Group’s Founder and Managing Director Cath Harrison, who is also celebrating her 20th year in the recruitment industry, is keen to help employers understand the shifting nature of the recruitment market and offer some guidance about how companies can attract the best talent at the moment. She notes that at a strategic level companies are scrutinising many aspects of their business processes, with the pandemic acting as a catalyst for them to review what can be done more effectively and efficiently including reducing costs. That includes taking stock of how to approach recruitment going forward.

Cath observes, “Over the past few months we have seen a real change in the mindset of companies in terms of how they should approach recruitment. Budgets are stretched, unemployment has risen. We’ve just seen the ONS figures revealing that the UK economy shrank by a record 9.9% in 2020. But we’re also seeing expectations that in the second quarter of this year growth will start to pick up. Right now, revamping talent attraction and recruitment strategies is moving up the agenda. Employers are asking themselves how they can recruit differently, more efficiently, more cost effectively and then examining what they need to do to facilitate that.”

Cath is already seeing confidence in the market starting to build. Businesses who had to let staff go in order to survive the immediate crisis are now returning to the point where they are thinking about increasing their workforce once more. At the same time, people who had accepted any suitable job to get through the short term are now likelier to be looking for roles more in line with their aspirations. That will make retention more challenging and recruitment activity levels will need to increase.

For those recruiting, application numbers are likely to be high – and businesses need to consider what will be the best way to efficiently manage those numbers to enable them to attract the best talent. The high number of applicants on the job market has created assumptions that the recruitment market is employer-led. As a result, some businesses might feel this places them in a strong position to save costs by taking the full recruitment process in-house. However, that runs the risk of companies ending up in a situation where they are so swamped with applications they are left struggling to identify the most suitable talent.

“It’s positive to see the number of employers looking to move away from recruitment agencies and utilise their employer brand to improve talent attraction and retention,” Cath cautions, “but the risk is that companies are missing out on finding the right people because they’re not targeting their candidates correctly. They’re then finding themselves faced with a daunting administrative burden of sifting through loads of applications. In that scenario, it’s not hard to end up overlooking some really strong candidates either. It can become overwhelming trying to manage it all and can actually be a false economy. This is why the combination of external support and technology is proving itself to offer the ideal solution for employers.”

One of the issues Cath and her team have identified is that when it comes to finding the right skills, the picture is considerably more nuanced than some employers realise. While there are more people in the jobs market in total, there remain skill shortages in some key areas like engineering, IT and finance. Employers need to have recruitment strategies in place that can be adapted according to the nature of the roles they are recruiting for. As Cath highlights, there is a broader opportunity presenting itself for companies to review their recruitment strategies. “Employers should also consider whether factors such as the increased demand for permanent flexible working and more remote working opportunities could actually benefit them by helping them reach a wider skilled talent pool beyond their local area,” she explains.

Cath believes the picture is looking optimistic for recruitment in general and she is also very positive about the performance of JVP Group itself. Despite the pandemic crisis, the company has seen a steady flow of business throughout and has continued to take on new clients at a rate that has accelerated even further since the start of the year.

“Our services tick so many boxes for employers. We were already disrupting the UK recruitment market when we launched JVP Group seven years ago and have continued to do so ever since.

“But the solution we offer really came into its own with meeting more employers’ needs since the start of the pandemic. Working with a full-blown recruitment agency may no longer be attractive or necessary in their view. But employers do want support with attracting their own talent and managing the process in an efficient and cost-effective way. We offer the ideal balance, enabling them to remain closely involved in the recruitment process while ensuring their advertising attracts the candidates they want, through employer branded marketing in the right places. Inevitably at the moment more people are inclined to submit applications for positions even if they aren’t a close match. Our recruitment software helps employers deal with the volume, and quickly respond to people, and our managed recruitment support services and skills testing solutions offer further help and save time in identifying the candidates they need.

“Quite simply, done this way, attracting and recruiting quality talent doesn’t need to be expensive, time consuming or risky.”

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