Timing matters in recruitment!

Further proof that timing matters to job-seekers, right from the application stage through to interview feedback. A must-read for candidates and companies alike…

We’ve all heard it said often enough, time is our most precious commodity. The job searching process can take up a lot of time. Especially if you’re trying to go it alone in your search, you’re hunting in a competitive industry, applying for specialist roles, and/or you’re not quite looking in the right places. We’ll come back to this point shortly!

Meanwhile, we wanted to share two news items on the subject of recruitment timing.

Timing matters: at job application stage

Almost 3/4 of candidates are said to walk away from a job application if it takes longer than 15 minutes to complete. This is according to large-scale research, as reported by HR Magazine.

The article cites ‘lengthy processes’ and ‘too many requirements’ as the primary factors that cause applicants to abandon ship.

There are several ways to look at these findings. Firstly, too many organisations are putting barriers in place that may drive job-seekers away. Not the wisest move when the nation is facing an ongoing skills shortage! Yet it could also be said that few candidates would abandon an application if they were truly drawn to the job in question. In other words, perhaps it’s only driving away those who aren’t overly interested in the first place.

As with many studies of this nature, the reality likely lies somewhere between the two.

Advice for candidates:

  • Before you walk away from a longer job application, take a moment to consider your true level of interest. If 73% of people will tend to abandon that process, there are likely to be fewer applications than for the average job. This gives you more chance of standing out. It can also demonstrate determination and dedication. Still, if you’re not drawn to apply, you can invest your time in other more interesting applications.
  • Let’s return to the point of whether you’re looking ‘in the right places’/for the right roles. If you keep applying for positions because they’re the only positions you’re really finding, or you just feel you might as well, then you may want to read these job hunting tips. They’re designed to help you invest your job search time in the most rewarding places.

Advice for recruiting businesses:

  • Where possible or appropriate, divide lengthier job applications into stages. Meaning only candidates already shortlisted as potentially suitable have to enter into any extended (time-consuming!) processes. A CV and cover letter commonly still makes for the best initial shortlisting tool.
  • In addition, find a recruitment agency who specialises in your field. This allows you to tap into all of an agency’s candidate attraction tools. This usually includes their own online job application systems, as well as the use of any external jobs boards. It also allows you to utilise their expertise in candidate screening and selection. The REC Member Directory is a great place to start.

Timing matters: when it comes to interview feedback and job offers!

Yes, it’s not only in the job search phase that timing matters. 1/3 of job-seekers have also accepted their second preference role due to timing. Only, in this case, it’s due to ‘delayed interview feedback’.

This separate study, shared by HR News, also found that job applicants who’ve had delayed (or absent!) interview feedback may share their negative experiences with others, and could even cancel any services they hold with the company.

The South-West was the second slowest feedback region (after Scotland). Interviewers take an average of 29 days to provide interview feedback in the South-West, which is almost two weeks longer than the South-East region. Regional and sector differences have been illustrated on this map.

Advice for candidates:

  • If you’re working with a recruitment agency, your consultant will keep in touch with the recruiting client and obtain any interview feedback on your behalf. While some clients will still have an extended decision-making process, this will increase your chances of knowing where you stand sooner. It’s never recommended to contact the client directly without prior permission from the consultant, as it can undermine the agency’s approach. Should you wish to drop a thank you for your interview, or have any questions, simply contact your consultant. Remember, they will also be rooting for you so will be trying their best to keep you up-to-date!
  • When making direct applications, you may wish to drop a thank you to the organisation and/or contact the company to seek feedback. The Balance Careers has shared some advice on doing this in a professional manner.

Advice for recruiting businesses:

  • Don’t want to lose out on an excellent candidate? Keep them in the loop and don’t forget that your consultant is there to help and discuss your options! Update your consultant on your decision-making process and allow them to take all the work out of feeding back to the candidate. Even if your update is simply to say decisions will be made on ‘X’ date, this is helpful to hear.
  • See what you can do to shave off some of the decision-making time. Just an extra day can make all the difference to an applicant who is considering several vacancies. Especially if the applicant is currently unemployed and cannot afford to wait when another great offer is presented.
  • Sometimes it helps to introduce a final round of interviews, allowing you to make a decision between two closely matched candidates. These can also be used to introduce applicants to another interviewer.

Ready to recruit? Call an Appoint Consultant today on 01225 313130. 



Training as an incentive

Why we all need to see training as an incentive at work…

Currently, HR Review reports that only 25% of HR professionals believe their employers provide a ‘learning culture’ for their staff. The remaining three quarters say:

  • They’re still working towards creating a learning environment (59%:).
  • Such a culture is completely absent (11%).
  • This isn’t considered a business priority (5%).

Yet these businesses may want to rethink things. After all…

Employees see training as an incentive to stay in their roles!

In fact, in an HR News post, we hear that 90% of UK employees consider training as ‘vital to furthering their career’.

  • 42% go as far as to say they ‘strongly agree’ with its importance.
  • 95% of respondents aged 55 and over deem this to be ‘crucial’.
  • Alongside this, 86% of people think that continued training will reduce staff turnover levels.

Time is the main barrier for team members choosing whether or not to attend a course. Many employees express worry about having to be away from their desks for too long.

Which takes us onto the question of training strategies…

It seems that out of those who actually offer staff training, many businesses are predominantly focusing their attention on:

  • Trainee level programmes (38%).
  • Coaching style training (35%).

Conversely, the following training types are considered to be ‘low priority’:

  • Online training courses (32%).
  • Onboarding initiatives (27%).
  • ‘Knowledge sharing’ (29%).

But are these businesses making a mistake? The article would suggest so. Referencing the continued focus on the ‘skills economy’ (and the fact 2/3 of employees have resigned due to the absence of training opportunities!), it calls for companies to prioritise ‘modern training practices’.

It’s not only the digital courses that are promoted within this, yet also the need to encourage knowledge sharing so that vital information isn’t lost when employees move on to other roles.

You may also see training as an incentive to attract new staff members in the first place. We can help you shout about the learning and development benefits offered to employees. For further support, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Related reading:



Job-seekers missing out!

Are you one of the many job-seekers missing out on career opportunities because of misunderstanding the skills required?

HR News reports that more than 1/3 of candidates have not made a job application due to not understanding the skills required for the advertised role.

An additional 46% say they struggle to identify which skills they should be honing in on throughout their recruitment approach. Right from their initial job applications to interview day.

8% don’t even know where to start (or wouldn’t make any effort whatsoever!) when considering the skills described in job ads.

It’s not only job-seekers missing out…

Employers are also potentially suffering as a result of this. After all, a fantastic candidate may not apply for a role that they would be more than suitable for, if only they could see that they were!

So, who’s responsible for this problem? Both parties have an opportunity to resolve it.

Job-seeking candidates:

We discuss how important this issue is in Day 4 of these job hunting tips. We also introduce you to a simple process to help get you started. If there are skills or phrases that you’re unsure about, why not research them before dismissing the vacancy entirely? Ask a trusted friend, Google the expression, and/or check with your Recruitment Consultant.

Furthermore, don’t shy away from making an application if you almost tick all the requirements. Perhaps there’s a computer program discussed that you’ve not used, yet you’ve worked with a competitor product. Why not highlight your success with this product, make sure you note how it relates to the advertised package, and promote how quickly you are able to adapt to new systems?  The same approach can also be applied to less tangible skills and experiences.

This isn’t to say you should apply for any old job you see! If you don’t understand most or any of the items discussed in the ad, it’s likely that you’re yet to gain the experience required (see Day 5 of these tips). Saving your time by not applying for these jobs presents you with more time to invest in the ads that you most closely match.

Recruiting businesses:

Are your job specs bursting with unnecessary jargon? Are your skills descriptions too vague, flowery or obscure for ‘outsiders’ to decipher?! And/or are you advertising nice-to-have skills as absolute musts?

If you respond ‘yes’ to any of the aforementioned, you may be missing out on some excellent candidates. Take another look at your job ads and see how you can tidy them up.

It’s not always easy to promote a job opportunity when you’re on the inside looking out. Why not consult with a trusted recruitment agency in your field to enhance your staff attraction offering? The Recruitment & Employment Confederation has a handy Member directory to make this process easier.

Call the office today on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs.



The side hustle is here!

The age of the side hustle is upon us, says the Henley Business School. We share the latest facts, what this means for you, and some of the ongoing discussion around this topic…

What is a side hustle?

Definitions vary but, according to ‘The Side Hustle Economy’ white paper, this counts as any “small business or secondary job that someone has taken in addition their main career.”

The motivations for taking such a path may range from sheer enjoyment or longer-term career ambition to a financial imperative.

How much of an impact are these side jobs having?

  • 25% of UK adults have adopted some form of a second job.
  • Here in the South-West, this figure increases to 27% of adults. The region shares ‘joint 3rd place’ with the East and West Midlands (while the North East is in first place at 30%, followed by Greater London at 29%).
  • The trend is contributing to a total income of £72 billion throughout the UK alone.
  • Of all the age groups studied, it’s people aged 25-34 who are driving most of the movement (37%).
  • The number of side workers may be set to double within the decade.

Businesses are also taking notice:

  • 80% of companies no longer perceive the ‘9-5 job’ as the standard.
  • 63% additionally believe employers will need to adapt to this change to ensure they retain their best team members.
  • That said, only 49% of companies have initiated any form of side-working policy. While even fewer (47%) believe enabling this trend will ‘attract the best talent’.

HR leaders say side hustle policies will become essential…

A number of HR leaders have discussed this topic, encouraging companies to get prepared and implement policies. They warn that a reluctance to do this could actually result in more staff leaving sooner.

It is argued that employees will eventually leave their jobs anyway and that it’s better to have staff that are engaged and happy while at work.

Another article on this subject has already received mixed comments over on HR Magazine. Several commentators attest those employees with a side hustle express a valuable skill set and positive attitude, and have been more focused at work. Others think this trend is nothing more than a survival strategy to make ends meet and that second jobs can lead to exhaustion and mistake-making.

And from the employee perspective?

Again, the response is mixed. While many feel excited and inspired by this movement, others are wary. Writing for Refinery29, Kate Bishop has called for people not to ‘normalise the side hustle’, highlighting the way work challenges may be doing more to drive the trend than the pursuit of the perfect job or lifestyle.

Bishop raises the issues of job dissatisfaction and career change fears. She highlights the number of people struggling to make ends meet versus the few ‘champagne-popping twenty-somethings with their own beauty lines.’

What about you?

If you’re considering setting up a side job, there’s plenty to think about. Your current work contract should be one of the first things to consider, as you don’t want to do anything to jeopardise your relationship with your employer. Crunch has an excellent article on this subject. As does the Money Advice Service.

You may also want to ask yourself what appeals about the second job. If it comes from a feeling of necessity, could there be a better day job for you? Further reading: a post for anyone craving a career change in addition to our essential job search tips.

From the business perspective, it’s worth swotting up on this topic to inform your business decisions. A proactive approach can be a powerful staff attraction and retention tool. Not to mention a major help in staying ahead in such a rapidly changing business and employment era.

We welcome your thoughts on the positives and pitfalls of the side hustle. You’ll find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn



Fewer applications per job vacancy!

The nation is receiving fewer applications per job vacancy than ever before, according to the latest research. So, what does this mean for you as a job-seeker or business?

The national averages…

Only 0.38 applications were made per role in the UK this June. Naturally, this means that a number of openings haven’t received any applications whatsoever.

It appears that there is a regional disparity, with employers in Sunderland receiving 3.22 applications across this period. Cambridge saw the lowest level (0.06).

Unfortunately, we cannot see any figures for the Bath area.

Fewer applications: as a job-seeker

Think this sounds like good news? On the whole, you’re right! Employers should have more of an opportunity to consider your CV for the role that you’re applying for.

However (and unfortunately!), you’re not guaranteed the job. Businesses remain understandably selective about the skills and experience that they require.

So you also need to stay selective. Plus, you must ensure that your application is well tailored to each vacancy. Fortunately, we have 7 days of tips to help you with each of these elements!

Also recommended: how to beat procrastination in your job search. Helping you can take advantage of this record low level of competition while it remains.

Fewer applications: as a manager or employer

Half of UK businesses are expressing candidate attraction concerns, yet there are multiple actions that you can take. Scroll to the bottom of this UK skills shortage guide for some essential suggestions.

For some expert recruitment support, and to discuss any staff attraction concerns, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Also recommended: our latest guide to realistic staff rewards. Each candidate attraction tool is all the more valuable at this time.

[Source: Personnel Today]



Permanent staff shortage & increasing demand!

The UK is predicting an increased permanent staff shortage, says the REC.

July’s REC JobsOutlook has just been released and, as ever, houses some illuminating stats…

Permanent staff shortage:

  • 50% of UK businesses expect to face a shortfall in permanent staff. In other words, there is national concern regarding a ‘shortage of appropriate candidates’.
  • 72% of employers are concerned about the ‘sufficient availability of agency workers,’ which is more than double the number of companies reporting the same in 2017.
  • Businesses are, however, highly satisfied by recruitment agency offerings. 83% of companies are pleased with their agency’s candidate pool.

Increasing recruitment demand:

  • Short- and medium-term projections see an increased intention to recruit temporary staff.
  • Almost 1/4 plan to increase their permanent employee numbers within the next three months.
  • Of those looking to increase their permanent headcount, medium businesses show the most growth versus the last survey period.
  • 76% of companies need to recruit new staff members in order to take on any additional business demand.

Partnering with recruitment agencies:

  • 45% of employers now use recruitment agencies to hire their permanent employees.
  • 53% utilise this channel for their temporary staff recruitment.
  • Interestingly, both figures have increased since 2017 (by 2% and 10% respectively).
  • It is the quality of service that matters most to the majority of businesses
  • (76%). Furthermore, 75% of employers are looking for management information from their recruitment agency.

The top reasons to recruit temps include…

  • To provide short-term access to key strategic skills (joint first: 63%).
  • Covering annual leave or staff absences (joint first: 63%).
  • To meet demand peaks (58%).
  • Responding to ‘fast-changing organisational requirements’ (56%).
  • As a cost-saving recruitment strategy (55%).

So how do we overcome the permanent staff shortage? 

The advice from last year’s Skills Shortage article very much still applies – whether you’re reading this as an employer or prospective employee.

[Source: REC July 2018]



Small businesses face recruitment challenges

Are small businesses really facing extra challenges when recruiting new staff?

A vast 81% of small business leaders believe their recruitment challenges are greater than those faced by their larger business counterparts, according to a report in HR News.

This research specifically relates to companies employing fewer than 10 people, also known as ‘micro-businesses’.

What the stats tell us

  • 34% of companies are finding it hard to source suitable candidates.
  • 42% feel frustrated when they can’t find someone suitable within a month.
  • 59% attribute these challenges to a ‘perceived lack of job security.’
  • 49% believe it’s down to a lack of brand recognition.

Other reasons reported by HR News range from a perceived lack of career progression opportunities to workplace benefits. You’ll find more stats in the article.

It’s all a matter of perception

The research was conducted by Indeed. Commenting on the findings, the company’s UK Managing Director highlighted the need to address misconceptions surrounding the benefits (or rather the perceived pitfalls!) of working for small businesses.

It’s also interesting to consider the companies’ own perceptions. After all, this is qualitative data. Meaning the companies are sharing their opinions on the challenges faced and any potential causes, rather than statistical evidence.

A note for small businesses…

The above isn’t to say that small businesses are not facing unique recruitment challenges. However, larger businesses (even those with household names and HR teams!) still face their own recruitment struggles.

Back in the Autumn, HR News shared some interesting comparative stats. In these, smaller companies report a greater challenge in finding people with the right skills and experience, alongside a lack of applications. The larger companies also shared struggles of this nature, albeit not to the same degree.

However, it’s big businesses that are almost a quarter more likely to face direct ‘competition over applicants’, in which they are essentially outbid by competitors.

What this means for your company

Many of these challenges can be overcome with a considered recruitment approach. Sometimes it’s about knowing where to search for candidates, how to approach prospective employees, and better share the benefits of working for your brand. Our recruitment consultants have had many years of experience doing this. We’d be delighted to offer some support: 01225 313130.

As for local job-seekers…

Most UK businesses actually fall into the SME category, employing anywhere from 1 to 249 people. Bath certainly has a strong SME business culture; one that has weathered many business storms!

Small businesses are often incredibly exciting to work for as you can have such a hands-on role in the growth and development of the company. Alongside the connections that you can foster within your team as you develop together. They also offer a variety of other unique benefits, which is why almost half of millennials say this represents their ideal employer size.

We say have a good read of each job spec, ask your recruitment consultant any questions you may have, and review the positives of working for businesses of all sizes!



What’s your purpose at work?

How often do you consider the purpose or meaning of your work? The latest career news suggests this topic is growing in importance for many employees. Some of the findings may also surprise…

Far from any career-hopping stereotypes, millennials are looking for meaning:

The first news item that we’d like to discuss today comes from the Independent. For reference, this article classifies millennials as those born from 1980 to 1999.

Using research from education charity Teach First, we’re told:

  • Millennials aren’t really switching and swapping between careers as casually as the media might suggest!
  • More than 1/2 of millennials have actually opted to stay in the same career sector for fear of starting from scratch – or the possibility that a new route ‘will not work out’.
  • Only 19% of respondents would choose a high salary over personal fulfilment.
  • And, right at the crux of today’s conversation, this group is primarily seeking ‘greater meaning’, social impact, and a role that ‘will make a difference to other peoples’ lives’.

Managers would accept a pay cut for a sense of purpose:

Our second news item appeared in HR Review. In a separate survey focusing specifically on managers of unspecified age (so, this may also include some millennial workers), we hear:

  • Over 1/4 of British managers would take a pay cut to join a company with a greater purpose than making a profit.
  • 32% of people would leave their current role if they could not see evidence of this.
  • While 53% would resign if they realised the business’s values didn’t match their own.
  • All companies looking to recruit and retain talent should consider ‘the importance of having a defined company purpose that marries commercial success with social progress’.
  • Purpose-led employees are found to be ‘more positive, more engaged and have greater career confidence’.

In some ways, this shouldn’t surprise…

Purpose is proven to support our mental and physical health.  The sense of purpose lends us all some extra motivation. Including the motivation to stay well enough to hop up on a Monday morning and head to work. It also reduces stress and (rather helpfully!) minimises the risk of premature death.

Is finding a greater sense of meaning or purpose part of that niggle that something’s not right in your work? You may find our FAQ on ‘what next’ for your career a helpful read.



What graduates want & how to attract them

What do graduates want to know about their first career opportunities? And what can local employers do to attract them?

We’re now just a few months away from the city’s graduation ceremonies. This naturally offers local businesses the chance to welcome the next wave of talent into their teams. Of course, it always helps to know what’s most interesting and concerning the students themselves.

People Management has delved into this topic; discussing the thoughts of more than 300 students…

Graduates want: to know more about their days

Students naturally want to hear more about the everyday activity that they could soon be a part of. This includes learning more about an average working day, alongside the company culture, ‘role challenges and highlights’ and their prospective employers’ expectations.

To achieve this: why not give interviewees the chance to meet with current staff members who can lend a true perspective? While you’re going to want to ‘sell’ your company, you still want to offer an honest insight. After all, if the graduate is successful, they’ll soon experience any challenges firsthand!

To take this further, you could offer to book the prospective employee as a temp. This would allow the student to ‘trial’ some aspects of the role – and give you the opportunity to see them interacting with the rest of the team. Temp-to-perm placements also work well here (and we can always advise on how to implement these!).

Graduates want: more career advice

The question of how employees first entered their industry has proved to be one of the most popular among students.

Graduates value insights into their future career paths, as well as being able to understand and ‘weigh up’ the differences between the opportunities presented to them.

To achieve this: again, offering access to your employees can make all the difference here. As can working closely with your recruitment consultant from the start of the graduate recruitment process. Let them know as much as you can about the specifics of the role that you’re recruiting for – as well as informing them of any in-house training and career development opportunities.

Graduates want: to know what you’re looking for from them

Not just your day-to-day expectations, as discussed. Yet rather the personal and professional characteristics that you’re searching for from your next recruit.

Interestingly, this question appeared 15 times more frequently than that of starting salaries!

To achieve this: it all starts with a great job specification. First, brainstorm the duties and goals of the role before considering which characteristics will help you to carry these out. Need some extra help? Your consultant can let you know whether there are any gaps in the details provided.

Also, as the article suggests, it’s helpful to get any line managers involved with this aspect. Ask them to relay how their team supports them and which personality traits make this happen.

A note to all students…

We recently reported on the fall in job optimism among graduates. This is an important topic for any graduates reading this post (and we’re pleased you’re reading it – we’d also want to know what our fellow students were looking for!).

For further advice on your graduate recruitment plans, please call an Appoint consultant on 01225 313130.