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Trying to attract talent in a competitive market?

​The “War For Talent” was published in the late 1990s by McKinsey & Co and has been quoted and misquoted by every recruitment person I have ever met since! I believe a lot of the key themes in the book stand firm - we have an ageing population and effectively attracting and retaining talent is not easy.

Whilst the way in which candidates look for a new role has become more complex and with Social Media and internal resourcing models being thrown into an already complex decision making process, the one thing that hasn’t changed is that all organisations want good candidates. However, good candidates are in very short supply.

Good candidates have a lot of choice in deciding who they join so, when hiring someone, you need to impress them as much as they impress you.

How can you make sure you stand out from the crowd?

Prepare for the interview

Sounds obvious, but candidates are assessing you and your company as much as you are assessing them. Don’t assume they are desperate to join your company. The interview is a two way street therefore, make sure it is engaging, challenging and informative.

Know your competition

Which businesses are you competing with to attract this candidate to your organisation? Why should they join your business over a competitor?

Act quickly

If you see a candidate that you like, move quickly! Candidates are regularly choosing to join businesses who operate decisively. Taking too long to make a decision might give the wrong impression of what it is like to work in your team.

Don’t wait for a range of candidates

Finding talent in this candidate driven market is often the result of an enormous amount of networking, phone calling and messaging. Waiting a week for another profile means you run the risk of missing out on the ones you do have.

Sell yourself and the opportunity

Often candidates have more choice in companies that want to meet them than you have candidates to meet. Be sure that you are up to date on company news as a matter of course.

How serious is the candidate?

Ask your recruitment partner, external or internal, how they have sourced the candidates on the shortlist. This will determine how serious they are about their job search. If a candidate is happy in their current role but, only meeting you because they are curious about the opportunity, then you may have to adapt your interview style accordingly.

Spell out the role in detail

Candidates in demand have a choice, so provide everything you can to help them make the right choice. Be clear on the job role, responsibilities, team, career progression opportunities and environment they will be working in.

Talent pipeline

Think long term. Find the time to speak to your recruitment partner or internal resourcing function about your plans for the coming months. If you can, meet candidates speculatively to build a pipeline of talent that you can draw upon when you need to hire. Recruit the best person possible, not the best person who happens to be available.

In a competitive recruitment market, having a strong brand to attract talent is one thing. Being decisive, providing clarity and, most importantly, leaving a positive impression will give you a competitive advantage.

Graham Peck is Operational Excellence Director at Investigo and has a track record in growing and developing high performing teams and delivering an unrivalled level of service to clients and candidates alike. If you would like to get in touch, please contact Graham on