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  • Publish Date: Posted almost 3 years ago
  • Author: Julie O'Neill
Candidate Attraction

Candidate Attraction and Engagement – THE TOPIC OF THE DAY!


I’ve never known a market like this one i.e. so very candidate short, in nearly all markets, all at once...


As MD of McCall, the rec to rec firm with 29 years standing in the market, the team and I have seen many cycles, changes (and 4 of us have worked here for 20+ years!) … but this current candidate short market is certainly hugely challenging, as we all know only too well.  The points to take on board, which may be helpful to you;


1 Candidate is King (not client)


2 The relationships with those you hire from is absolutely key (you need a good rapport with a rec to rec of sound standing) who will be totally honest with you. 


3 Accept that the things that make a difference to the candidates need to be offered – if you want to secure them.

If you don’t offer hybrid working for example, the next client will.  We’ve lost offers recently from firms thinking they are generous with a 4 day a week In-Office presence in London, but if the candidate will only go for 2 or 3….you will likely lose them. Know that up-front and tailor your efforts accordingly – if you have a newbie team and you want them in 5 days a week, that simply won’t appeal to everyone so take that on the chin.  We are having candidates register, even at the most senior level, who are working for firms that will not accommodate hybrid working to the extent that the candidates want. 

I read this post today from a Director we placed; Data from the World Economic Forum indicates that 40% of employees are thinking about quitting their jobs. Taking a closer look at the demographics of respondents reveals that younger workers — those aged 18 to 25 — are even more likely to jump ship if they lose the flexibility they’ve become accustomed to throughout the pandemic.  Scary reading!

Clients that have great traction are those who are genuinely big on Diversity, Inclusion, Community, CSR, Wellness – some have their staff stories on the website – literally detailing their struggle due to racism etc.  We run McCall Wellness with Suhail Mirza – works with top firms and he offers Wellbeing guidance and support to staff at all levels – which helps hugely.   Recruiters often really care about giving back, having time for charitable efforts, the world at large… There is a high appetite is to see this feature in the firms they choose to meet with and select for interview.  


4 Try and accommodate each person you meet if they can contribute positively in your business – we all want to fill set roles, but sometimes it’s worth considering where value can be added rather than which role is an immediate fit. Again, if you don’t, the next client will…they will end up being hired by your competitors.


5 At McCall we are literally aiming to place each live registered candidate – and we have stacks of clients interested in each one (we could all be permanent Job Takers solely at McCall currently!)  Each client wants to be first on our list  ofcourse. So, how do we prioritise? We ask for an up-front ‘container’ fee that focuses our time and efforts and also means the paying client gets first choice i.e. partially retained – these touches help the relationship and can make a real difference.  We are all working like this where possible – not just senior appointments, but at all levels.


6 Check your rates and terms – if you are not on a fair percentage for introductions, don’t be surprised if you are last on the list.  Don’t be unrealistic in your expectations, clients are not in short supply – but the candidates are.  There are competitors of ours who have raised their rates – literally to 30%! That does reflect the candidate shortage problem, but perhaps not the best for long-term business relationships!


7 Do you make the candidates feel important… Do you have the senior management team/board involved with hiring?  Saving the decision-maker to the end of the process doesn’t work at the moment – getting them involved at the start is better! Long processes, making the candidates jump through extra hoops – it doesn’t work at the moment.  There needs to be a clear and concise structure - no extra surprises like additional and unexpected interviews thrown in at the end – you don’t need twitchy candidates currently as they will simply lose interest.

Package is crucial – at McCall we are losing candidates to ridiculously high counter-offers and multiple offers – money isn’t the only answer – but it does help! We’ve had additional 20ks being thrown at the candidate (and not at the most senior of levels always either!) Some will take it; so the closeness, engagement and bond established with existing staff - and those you are trying to attract onboard - is so important.


8 Have a strong brand presence on line and in all your company literature and demonstrate the culture of belonging and family, which is needed by so many, especially during the pandemic.  People want to feel looked after and cared for as a priority by their employer and enjoy banter and working with their colleagues.  Having group get togethers, share time together socially, staff recognition lunches etc – small touches that go a long way.


I hope some of the above resonates, if you take one or two tips from this and it helps you secure your hires – do let me know, good luck everyone and happy hiring!