After placing 14,000 people with 350 top organisations, we have learned a thing or two about how employers attract the best people – and why some companies struggle to recruit and retain good people. These days we find that the best candidates have a clear idea about the type of organisations they will and won’t work for – here are our 22 top tips to help you attract the right people.

1. Identify the requirement.

It sounds basic stuff but sadly too many organisations don’t accurately identify and share the requirements of the position they seek to fill. Everyone involved in the recruitment or interview process needs to be fully familiar with the needs and wants of the company.

Identify the qualities that the organisation seeks for in the candidate for a particular position and write it down. If there is no proper identification of requirements, then there’s a chance that candidates you select do not possess the required skills and aptitude.

2. Write a compelling and accurate job description.

There is an increased need to properly and accurately describe the actual role you are recruiting for to candidates. Outline the role as it really is today or you risk losing a new recruit in the first few months. Don’t just highlight the best parts of the job or how it might look in the future – and don’t hire for part-time when what you really have is a full-time job. A new recruit hired part-time being pressured to work extra hours isn’t a great motivator.

3. Have a reputation for being a great place to work.

Just as a company has a ‘brand’ designed to reflect what customers can expect of its products or services; a company has an employer brand that reflects what employees can expect of its employment practices. The best and most profitable customers are attracted by a brand that can be trusted to deliver on its marketing promises and the best talent is attracted by an employer that can be trusted to fulfill the promises made in a recruitment campaign or at interview.

Put simply, the businesses with the best employer brands attract more applications from the best candidates. Companies that appear in The Times Top 100 Best Companies for instance, enter the competition because they know that being recognized as a good employer has a direct effect on recruitment and ultimately bottom-line results.

4. Talent and skills over experience.

There are highly talented people out there who may be just perfect for the job you have within your company because of their set of skills, but who lack the years of experience you say you require in the job advert.

The fact that someone does not have previous experience in a particular position does not mean that they won’t be able to succeed. In fact, the contrary is proven every single day. Most people love challenges and are more than willing to work hard and strive to prove that they can be trusted to do a great job if you as an employer, give credit to their skills and strengths.

5. Big up your culture

If you are an SME, don’t worry about losing out on talent to bigger corporate firms. The entrepreneurial culture of a smaller business is a big selling point for attracting talent. Make sure this comes across in any job adverts you create.

6. Rewards and benefits

Make a good proposition for your candidates and let them know what you stand for as a company. How do you reward them and what’s their work-life balance like? Be clear about what your brand represents: this isn’t just what you tell your customers, but what you tell your staff. Benefits are about a lot more than the pay packet.

7. Network nous

The more of your people that network, the more your business’s reputation will be enhanced across your industry. Managers who are searching for new staff should always be making new connections and attending events. Offer referral incentives so that all your employees are encouraged to network.

8. Meet the team.

Try to avoid conducting all of the interview processes in a one-to-one meeting in private rooms. After all, your employment brand and culture should be a big selling point. Show candidates around the office and introduce them to potential team members – this way they’ll get a real feel for the business.

9. Be decisive.

Some businesses have a 30-day window for applications and then invite all the appropriate applicants in for interviews. The risk in this approach is that the best job seekers who applied very early on may have found somewhere else by that time. As soon as you see someone you like, get them in for a meeting.

10. Recruit first, job second.

If you are introduced to someone who is a ‘good fit’ for your company, create a role for them.   Don’t get stuck in a routine and hire only when you have a vacancy. Keep the business fresh by doing things the other way around. The best businesses recruit people, rather than aiming to fill a specific post, create a position for talented potential employees whenever practical.

11. Offer the right rate for the job.

It’s a job seekers market right now and failing to offer at least the market rate is unlikely to attract the best candidates.

12. Provide personal development opportunities.

Every good candidate wants to know what opportunities there are for development. Failing to provide a personal development and progression plan is a big switch off for many good people.

13. Make time for recruitment.

At First Base we can help and support organisations to save time and money. Never the less, there remains a requirement for the right amount of time and attention to be allocated internally to ensure interviews are effective and that candidates get the best impression.

14. Don’t procrastinate

Being decisive is becoming really important. Some organisations simply take too long to make a recruitment decision and then lose the candidate to a more switched on company.

15. Health and wellbeing.

It’s would be difficult to miss how big this is right now. Organisations need to be serious about wellbeing at work, not just because it is expected but because it is the right thing to do. The more an organisation shows it really cares, the more attractive it is an employer.

16. Know what’s great about you as an organisation to work for.

Every job and every company has things that are great about them.  In order to stand out from other potential employer’s, an organisation needs to know who they are trying to attract and what will motivate them to want to work with them.

17. Company values.

There is a whole new generation of talent who want to be paid well for a job well done AND to know that their personal values are aligned with those of their employer. Social issues and community awareness are high on their agenda.

18. Explain the recruitment process to every candidate.

Candidates selected for interview should know exactly what to expect; when they will be interviewed, where they will be interviewed and who will be involved in the interview. Make sure there are no surprises, no bad practices, no uncertainties and no confusion.

If you don’t portray your organisation as a great employer from the very start, the best candidate may decide your company is not the right fit for them.

19. Prepare for the interview.

Too many managers glance at a CV a couple of minutes prior to the interview. Leaving to the last minute means being unlikely to be able to ask insightful and intelligent questions or hold a meaningful two-way conversation.

Use the candidate’s CV to prepare probing questions about accomplishments, work ethic and attitudes.

Do a quick LinkedIn and social media check to explore outside interests and who they network with.

20. Have a conversation, don’t interrogate.

You can’t have a conversation unless you do some preparation. You simply won’t know enough to do anything other than ask questions. When an interview is conversational (and you listen effectively) candidates relax, speak more freely and provide more detail. Have a grown-up, respectful conversation and don’t use tricks or techniques to put the candidate under pressure.

21. Outline the next steps.

At the end of the interview always describe the rest of the recruitment process. Explain what you will do and when you plan to do it. Don’t force the candidate to ask. Tell them and if there are any changes following the interview communicate with them.

22. Follow up – with everyone.

It’s a fundamental business courtesy that says lots about you as an employer. Failing to follow up is incredibly rude, will be remembered and broadcast widely by those who invested time in your recruitment process but received little courtesy in return.

The team at First Base can help you to recruit and retain great people. If you would like to know more about why candidates and employers tell us that First Base is their first choice call 01453 755330 or email tricia.hay@first-base.co.uk