The War for Top Talent in 2020

The UK employment market remained highly competitive and fast-moving throughout 2019. According to the British Chamber of Commerce, just over 50% of UK businesses had planned to recruit in the first quarter of the year but almost 75% found it a huge challenge to attract the right people through their doors. This trend was again echoed in the third quarter.

How can employers overcome this challenge?

What’s on offer?

Employers should always offer a competitive salary, however, working environment and benefits can also be deal-breakers. Benefit packages are a clear indicator of a business’ value it places on its staff – these range from financial (healthcare, enhanced pension,) to wellbeing (gym membership, cycle to work scheme) and lifestyle benefits including remote working options, additional annual leave and childcare vouchers.

Speed is of the essence!

The best candidates will be snapped up, so those who can act quickly will benefit. As recruiters, we are aware not to be ‘pushy,’ but as long as there is a thorough process in place, speed is key in ensuring that candidates don’t go elsewhere. Employers must offer a positive experience and highlight why candidates would want to join them.

A round peg for a square hole?

Should employers wait for the ‘perfect’ candidate? Why not list what really is essential versus desirable? If you can find a candidate who is the right fit in terms of their attitude and approach and who shares company values but has areas that need a little development, this is a ‘perfect’ candidate in the making. Additional skills and experience can be learnt, roles can be adapted and employers who consider investing in training and developing people to meet all the criteria have the opportunity to create their own top talent. This is a win-win situation where employers are then likely to be rewarded with engaged, loyal employees.  Retaining high calibre employees is as important as recruiting them.  

Recruitment strategies to win the war for talent in 2020

It is important to understand that employers don’t just choose talent anymore; talent also chooses the employer. It is most definitely a two-way process.

With this in mind, here are some strategies to consider when recruiting in 2020.

1.  Unique job descriptions

Boring, bog-standard job specs will do nothing to excite potential top talent….  Make it relevant, e.g. if you’re looking for a copywriter, the copy for the spec needs to be attention-grabbing or if you’re looking for a designer, the spec needs to be creative.

Make your job specs stand apart from those of your competitors, from whom you want to tempt top talent.

2. Keep a close eye on online reviews

Staying abreast of candidate and employee comments on online forums such as is essential.  Whether positive, negative or neutral, they give a real insight in to what it is like to work for your organisation from the point of view of an employee. These thoughts can then be used to improve/change/remove certain practices to make for a more positive workplace.

3. Existing staff

Internal hires should be a primary consideration in a recruitment strategy. Is there an existing employee with an interest in doing the role you’re recruiting for? Internal candidates know the culture and company and their experience may bring a fresh take.

Internal promotions and moves also send a powerful message out across the business and to potential new joiners – staff are valued and encouraged to progress and remain.

4. Getting the best out of candidates

Interviews can be intimidating so it is important to make candidates feel at ease by managing their expectations in order to get the best out of them.

A simple but effective tip is to let candidates know how long the interview will take, how long the entire process will be and every person they’ll meet along the way.

5. Mentoring schemes

Highly experienced employees are invaluable in a recruitment strategy. When mentoring new recruits, valuable experienced staff are being acknowledged by the business and this is also likely to boost engagement.

6. Employ the services of a quality recruiter

A quality recruitment agency will truly enhance the recruitment process saving employers’ precious time and hassle.

Invest time in meeting with them so that they can see the workplace at first hand – choosing the right recruiter should turn in to a long-term relationship so it really is worth putting aside the time that you would give to any other supplier.

Bluetree Recruits look forward to working with you in 2020!

Article by Debbie Welch

5 minutes
by Claire Newman
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