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Recruit Right: Attracting Talent without Breaking the Bank

When it comes to recruitment there’s a misconception that advertising is the easy bit.  True, placing an advert is relatively simple but attracting great applicants, who buy into your business without the cost of advertising breaking the bank, is more difficult.  With the average cost per hire sitting around £3,000, costing UK business over £2bn per year,  employers are looking for ways get more for their money when it comes to recruitment advertising.

To get the right advert in the right place, it’s important to start with the end in mind and think about your recruitment strategy.   Who do you want in the post at the end of the recruitment campaign, what skills, and what experience?  Which media are they likely to be using to look for jobs?  It’s also important to consider the business needs.  Just because the previous job holder was full time that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to recruit a full time replacement.  Do you really need a full time employee in that job?  Could it be done part-time or by job sharing?  Could it be done by someone working family friendly hours?  These are big attractions for some candidates so you should give them serious consideration before drafting your advert.

Where companies have to pay for the vast majority of online and printed recruitment advertising space, there is no cost to using your own company website.  As advertising solely on your own company website may not bring in the volume of candidates you need, why not use complementary adverts on other recruitment websites and newspapers to hook those candidates in?  A small advert, finished off with; “visit my company website to apply” can be effective if it teases with enough  information to be interesting.  It’ll also test your candidates and automatically deselect those without the motivation to follow through, whilst also having the benefit of not blowing the budget on a full page advert.

So, the advert itself; whether it’s placed online or on paper, the job advert is more often than not the very first step in your candidates’ journey from prospective candidate to keen new recruit.  The principals explored in What’s in a Job Description? apply equally to your job advert as they do to the Job Description.  Communicating your Company values will ensure your campaign focuses in on the right people.  Firstly, tell the applicant who you are.  This doesn’t just mean your company name.  Unless you’re a big company with an established employer brand, unfortunately your name may not mean a lot to candidates. So tell them who you are in a few lines and be sure to emphasise your values: “SS Joiners is an established, successful joinery business.  Due to continued growth we are recruiting for a skilled joiner”.  This, to your candidate says trust, security, quality; all traits that are lost without this simple little tag line.  Similarly “A dynamic and exciting new business, we supply cutting edge cloud-based technology to the banking sector” says you’re exciting and vibrant place to work and that you provide a quality product.  This is not to say we should flower our advert up for the sake of it, but if we’ve been trading since 1965 and are proud of this long, family history, then work it into the advert.  Of course, space particularly in printed adverts is at a premium so don’t clear out the coffers on giving the candidate a potted history of your company, just a few sharp lines to open up will do nicely.

Secondly, the job itself – remember space is at a premium both online and in print so the advert should also be used as a driver to take candidates to your company website.  There, you can take all the space you need and even provide a link to the full Job Description.  Within an advert, applicants only need to see; job title, location, salary or salary band and how to apply or get further info.

YHA: Job Advert

But where should you advertise?  There’s no right answer to that sadly and it wouldn’t be appropriate to endorse (or not) specific websites or publications however remember this; it’s not about appealing to a million-and-one applicants, unless you want to sift a million-and-one applications!  There are several free media out there, including the gov.uk however, in practise these often lead to lots of unsuitable applications.   Recruitment is about focussing your advert at the right group so much better to consider carefully where the advert is going.  Only receiving five applications, as long as they’re the right five, is perfectly acceptable.  The more specialist the role, the more we should veer away from the mainstream websites and media and perhaps look to trade journals or publications.  Never be afraid to ask around within your own business for advice on these matters.  If you are recruiting for a role in your admin team, why not ask your admin team where they would look if they were looking for a job?  Don’t underestimate the experience of people in your business.  After all, they have all been job-hunters at some point.

So how do you attract candidates without blowing the budget?  A full page glossy advert is all well and good but when cost is an issue, as it tends to be, a small, punchy advert which drives the right candidates to your website can have the same results, at a fraction of the cost.