How to get ahead of the competition when looking for your next hire

Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 by Belinda ElliottNo comments

The media are constantly telling us about the shortage of good candidates in the market, that the sooner you start looking the greater your chance of finding your next company fit, rather than just someone who will do for now. Companies are also telling us it is harder than ever to find good candidates, but what does a 'good' candidate look like to you? Do you need to be more open and flexible in your considerations?

A little while ago, one of our clients was looking for a particular software professional, it took 8 months to find the person who ticked all their boxes and cost them £8,000 more than their original budget. However, after only 3 months he left, saying the job he had applied for was not there. All his was doing was firefighting, as there had been no-one in the role for such a long time, he was just dealing with issues that had been building up. At the start of the process, we presented a candidate who was asking £3,000 less than budget, had around 80% of the skills and experience they needed, and was more than happy to undertake a course before starting to ensure he could hit the road running. He was turned down because they were far too focused on the “PERFECT” candidate. After the employee left, they asked us to approach our second candidate to see if he was still available. However in that time, he had done the course off his own back, secured a fantastic job at a higher salary with a company that valued his enthusiasm and supported him with further training opportunities. Repeatedly, we see clients missing out on good candidates because they are too focused on the “PERFECT” hire.

Rewind 10 years and there was the 80/20 mix in the recruiting industry. A candidate would have 80% of the skills and there would be 20% room for growth for the candidate, and they tended to stay with companies far longer because there was the opportunity to develop. The very reason many candidates move on quickly now is because they are no longer challenged. So, does not it make sense to hire the candidate with 80% of the skills and give them the opportunity to grow and develop with you instead of another company?

Too many clients are telling me they are going out of their way to accommodate candidate requests with salary, working hours etc., but beginning to feel it is all one-way. Yes, candidates are very well aware of their worth now, but surely you want someone who is more excited by your opportunity than an overinflated salary. Yes of course people work to pay their bills but without the passion and enthusiasm for what they do, what do you have?

Our top tips for getting ahead of the competition are:

  • Give yourself plenty of time, if you give yourself too tight a deadline you could settle for second best.
  • Don’t hand over the family jewels to get a candidate onboard, it must be two way. Without they are likely to jump ship to next highest bidder. Constantly increasing salaries is unsustainable.
  • If you see the right candidate do not waste time interviewing more candidates, make an offer before someone else does. The longer you take to get back to candidates, especially after interview, the less favourable your organisation becomes – put yourself in their shoes!!


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