How to Recruit Talented Employees in 2023

Published by:
Shirwac Dirir
March 3, 2020
min read

Work Sample Cheatsheet

Updated with new insights: 15/08/2022

With growing competition and increased job mobility, employers must innovate in their recruitment. The challenge lies not just in attracting skilled and reputable staff but maintaining a healthy churn rate.

The solution is twofold: recruiters must continue to source a high calibre of talent. Organisations must not only grow their reputation as an employer but deliver on this reputation to retain staff.

Stuck for ways to recruit the best talent? Our guide explores recruiting trends, tactics, and best practices - so you can hire employees of exemplary quality.

Consider your employer value proposition and your employer ‘brand’

Many companies have a cohesive idea of what their brand represents. However, they may not have given equal consideration to how they are perceived as an employer. Do you think you’ve built a cohesive ‘identity’ as an employer? If so, will this identity attract your ideal employee? Moreover, is this identity being adequately conveyed to potential new hires?

You may consider the term ‘company culture’ to be somewhat vague and nebulous. However, you won’t attract the most talented or skilled workers unless they think you’d be great to work for. Google is a mainstay of Fortune’s Best Companies list. Like you would imagine, they receive over 2 million applications a year.

Companies are often in demand because they have a competitive ‘employer value proposition’. This is where an organisation offers a valuable set of benefits to a new hire, based on the potential value they could bring to the business. 

These benefits are often financial, examples being a competitive salary or commission structure. But we must also remember that people consider more than salary when choosing a company to work for. Do you offer opportunities to learn new skills or a clear path for progression? If you offer value to your employees, they will remain loyal to your brand. You will also attract applicants who are motivated and engaged.

Use social media to promote yourself as an employer

For nearly all brands, social media is a core part of their marketing strategy. However, it also gives a glimpse into day-to-day life behind the scenes. When done well, this will draw in those who want to be a part of your organisation.

Organisations with a strong social media following will more often than not have an ‘aspirational’ element to their brand. Consider what would make someone aspire to be part of your organisation. Do you aim to be a catalyst of change in your industry? Do you offer exciting learning and development opportunities? Are your staff genuinely happy to come to work every day? Whatever it is, it’s important to promote your ‘USP’ as an employer.

People often turn to social media to connect with people who share their values. Similarly, social media can be used to showcase a company’s corporate mission and social responsibility efforts. Have you recently partnered with a charity or pledged to be more sustainable? Publicising this on Facebook can help draw in like-minded individuals looking for employment.

Review your current channels for finding new employees

Are your current recruitment channels providing you with the right level of talent? If not, perhaps you should start looking in new places. Start by looking into specialised job boards. These are much more likely to be used by candidates who are immersed in the industry. These people could bring new skills and ideas, not to mention a network of contacts.

Talent scouts will often attend local gigs in a bid to find new up-and-coming artists. Take a leaf out of their book, and start attending industry events. The people at these events aren’t necessarily looking for a new role. However, many of them are looking to expand their professional network. If someone takes an interest in your organisation, they may ask to be considered for upcoming vacancies.

Finally, contact local universities and enquire about any graduate employment schemes. High graduate employment rates reflect positively on universities. Therefore, many of them collaborate with reputable companies. New graduates will be grateful for the opportunity to gain professional experience. If you nurture their raw potential, they could become a very successful hire and become ambassadors for your brand.

Write distinct yet inclusive job descriptions

Do you grow weary of seeing the same buzzwords and phrases crop up in job applications? The same goes for when people are job-hunting and reading countless job descriptions. When you're writing a job description, you are not only ‘selling’ a role but pitching your organisation as an employer. And yet, many job descriptions use the same generic language.

We always advise job seekers to provide specific examples of what they can bring to the role. Similarly, companies should tell applicants exactly what they'll be dealing with day-to-day. Who will they be answering to? What programs or software will they be using?

People are much more likely to apply for a job if they are certain that they fulfil all the requirements. Therefore, you should make it as easy as possible for those who are interested to decide if they are the right fit.

More often than not, companies use tried-and-tested methods for creating job descriptions. This process, however, runs the risk of excluding certain groups of applicants. Every word used in a job description has connotations, and some are more overt than others. Are you looking to create a diverse workforce? Be mindful of whether the language you use could deter women or candidates of a certain age. Common examples include words such as ‘competitive’ or ‘go-getter’. Both of these words signify a preference for young men. If you’re interested in learning more, read our article How to Use Inclusive Language in Job Descriptions.

Use interview-style screening questions instead of CVs

To put it bluntly, when it comes to recruiting the best talent - CVs suck. Condensing your skills and experiences into one page only offers superficial information used to make snap judgements. Attended a Russell Group university? Sounds great. But does this say much about what a person’s skills and personal attributes, or what motivates them?

Basing your hiring decisions solely on a CV means that you’re judging people based on how they look on paper. Of course, you’re likely going to hold interviews - but what about all the talented people who slip through the net?

Rather than relying on CVs, why not ask all applicants questions that will sort the wheat from the chaff? We call these screening questions 'work samples' - the single most effective means of talent assessment you can use.

We recommend posing a realistic scenario that they’d encounter in the job, and asking how the candidate would react.This will cut through the bluster, and help you figure out who can put their money where their mouth is.

It’s vital to ask the right questions, just make sure you don’t go overboard. You don’t want to alienate candidates by making them jump through hoops just to get their foot in the door.

Look at your current workforce to see what they can offer

Concerned about staff retention? Recruiting in-house will make you take stock of the existing talent in your team. Are you giving your staff ample opportunity to advance their careers? Candidates will already have a working knowledge of your needs, goals, and expectations. In-house recruitment should also reduce long-term staff acquisition and training costs.

If you would still like to recruit outside of your organisation, you can still benefit from your team's knowledge and experience. For example, try involving current employees in the interview process. More often than not, a fresh pair of eyes can give a well-rounded insight into an applicant's potential. This is particularly pertinent, considering how unconscious bias may lead you to favour a particular candidate over another. If you’re in need of extra manpower, you may be eager to get them on board as soon as possible. However, staff who are involved in the day-to-day operations of your organisation will help you determine whether someone is the best fit long-term. Every hiring decision needs to be carefully considered, so it never hurts to get a second or even a third opinion! 

At Applied, we’ve built a data-driven recruitment platform that helps you find the best person for the job. We use blind hiring, removing elements such as a candidate’s name, age, and ethnicity. This ensures the focus remains on a candidate’s unique skills and attributes.

Our applicant tracking system streamlines hiring and helps you to filter out unsuitable candidates, reducing long term recruitment costs. Want to find out more?

Request a demo
for the Applied hiring platform today.