Workplace Evolutionaries (WE) is the world’s largest, global Community of Practice focused on Workplace, Strategy and Leadership. WE hold virtual and in person events on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 4pm UK time for individuals interested in change and the workplace. While the community is global, the UK Hub provides a local perspective, helping us all to work well together.
WE UK Hub February Event: Workplace Recruitment
James Saunders, Business Development Director at Talent Locker had the pleasure of joining WE in the most recent webinar.
The theme was Workplace Recruitment and focused on 3 main points:
- Advice for hiring managers looking to recruit in workplace change
- Advice for candidates looking for their next workplace role
- Salary guidance and market trends
James also held a Q&A with the group to answer common queries surrounding workplace recruitment.
Please watch on below and get in touch with James Saunders for support in your Workplace Recruitment strategy.
Read on for a summary of key points and the Q&A.
How to attract and retain quality candidates
Let’s start with job advertisement. These days, there are 1,000s of job adverts out there. A rubbish job ad implies the hiring company isn’t putting time and effort to attract the right talent and so won’t get the desired response.
The algorithms on job sites push attractive and engaging ads to the top. Write a poor ad = being pushed to the bottom of the pile.
To avoid this being you, keep your ads up to date and avoid listing every skill under the sun. You need to write something punchy and highlight what’s in it for the candidate - don’t just focus on what the company wants. Candidates are looking for things like culture, training and development, flexible working, and salary.
Speaking of salary – always, always, always include the salary in the job ad! This saves time for everyone involved - the candidate, the hiring company, and the recruiter. Keep it open from the start and nobody ends up disappointed.
Most importantly however, you shouldn’t be relying on job ads. Candidates placed by job ads in 2019 was 25% but this shot down to a mere 5% in 2022. Job boards are overwhelmed and increasingly ineffective.
Have a think about what makes your organisation an attractive place to work.
Showcase every award you’ve won. If you’re a great place to work, then tell the world it’s a great place to work.
Employee pride is another great thing to shout about. If you have employees that are proud of their workplace, productive, sense of community, showcase them! Share their progression and promotions on social media and your website.
Do not involve everyone.
There needs to be a set structure in the interview process. Figure out what you’ll do, how it will work, and what the timeline will be.
Otherwise, things get confused and put on hold. If you interview and then don’t get back to your candidates, you paint yourselves as unorganized or uninterested and another company will get there before you.
In previous years, candidates needed to spend time interviewing in person. Now they can do multiple interviews in a day via Zoom or Teams, even during their workday. This gives them a lot of power in the interview process.
If you’re hiring at a higher rate than what your current team is on then those team members will leave. Or it will cause friction. You need to get realistic in what a competitive salary is and make sure all team members are on a deserving rate.
Unfortunately, being disloyal often pays off. Studies show that a loyal employee will receive an average 3% annual bonus vs the 15% bonus they would receive by jumping ship. A recent example I have personally had was with a candidate on £55K who was offered £57.5K by their current employer with 2 external offers at £65K+. The lesson: if you don’t pay your staff, somebody else will!
Another great way to retain talent is to conduct exit interviews. There is lots to learn from the people who choose to leave. There will always be a number of different reasons for this but keep track of all the reasons why, look for common trends and learn from any mistakes. Importantly, make improvements to avoid making these mistakes again.
Popular job titles, skill sets, and CV tips
Good news for job hunters - there has been a 60% increase in job titles related to the future of work and a 300% spike in jobs that referenced hybrid work since the pandemic in 2020.
Some weird and wonderful job titles I’ve seen recently include:
- Talent and Vibe Manager
- Workstation Evangelist
- Head of Remote
- Chief Happiness Executive
- Vice President of Employee Engagement and Flexible Work
All these job titles were likely designed with the younger generation of the workforce in mind and will be called something new in coming months. You need to look at the skills behind the job titles if you want to stand out and keep finding relevant roles, instead of just attaching yourself to a job title.
If you are looking to leave, then define yourself and your goals. Think about why you want to leave and what you want from your new employer, compared to your current company (money, location, etc).
Before making any rash decisions it’s a good idea to first take any complaints or requests to your line manager. If nothing changes then look to develop yourself elsewhere.
CV and LinkedIn profiles:
What makes a good CV?
There are lots of different opinions on this, but as a general rule keep it recent and relevant (no paper rounds from 1994). Look at projects you’ve delivered and your input and results. Also keep the CV to 2 pages max.
Importantly, make sure your LinkedIn mirrors your CV. I would even say LinkedIn is looked at more than a CV, so take care here.
Recently a Hiring Manager I was working with was deciding between 2 candidates. He looked on LinkedIn and the recommendations given to one candidate on LinkedIn swayed the decision in their favour. Don’t undervalue personal promotion!
Stand out from the crowd:
Are you a face or a document? CVs and LinkedIn are a necessary evil, but by meeting with or directly messaging hiring companies, you will become much more memorable. I would recommend this above and beyond simply submitting a CV through a job board which could easily get lost or unprocessed.
A question I often get asked is, what are the most desired skills? I think there is no magic combination, it always comes back to experience.
For Change Management roles, make sure to document what you have done from a change perspective. Include what the outcome was, what the feedback was, how you generated a greater workplace experience. Keep it brief but outline the projects end to end. Concise, clear results are always a winner.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear that everything is more expensive!
The cost of living and inflation as well as demand have meant that salaries have increased steadily these past few years.
You need to be conscious of hires made in 2020 and compare the landscape that existed then to the landscape that exists now. People may have taken a job and moved out of London but are now being required back in the office. If you cannot offer a benefit to mitigate this, then you will have disgruntled employees.
Remember that salary is only one aspect though – benefits packages and flexibility are a key driver. It’s shouldn’t be too difficult to add non expensive benefits to bulk out the offer package. For example, how much does your company invest in charity days or social enterprise days?
Other benefits could include birthday days off, or reduced cinema tickets and gym memberships. Little additions like this sweeten the deal and don’t cost much to do!
Importantly, flexible working – is not a benefit! You’ve missed a trick if you’re still advertising this as a benefit.
Care and respect go both ways. If managers don’t have any flexibility for people’s personal lives, then employees will resign.
Empowerment in the role is also important. Individuals that have been brought on to run a transformation or a project won’t respond well to being undercut and not given the time or resource to complete their project. This is another big reason for leaving.
Following on from Exit Interviews. Have you found people are doing entry interviews to see what attracted a new hire to a company?
This is typically asked at interview stage – ‘what attracted you to our company?’. Also, after 30 days we check in on new hires to see if the role is as expected or if they are facing any challenges. This is good for them and good for us to make sure we are hiring the right people and that the onboarding process works well.
How does total compensation compare to the salaries shown in the slides?
The salaries shown are base salaries, or base salary including car allowance. Typically a bonus should be treated as exactly that. This is a guideline based on a range from multinational companies to smaller consultancy businesses, so a wide variable. Benefits can also be wildly different. Some firms only offer 20 days annual leave, some 35. So that’s almost a month of pay in annual leave from some companies.
We’ve recently had 2 new starters, both from a younger generation. The first question they asked me was how to get a promotion. I feel young people want their progression really mapped out and the criteria to reach this clearly outlined, very much more so than people of older generations. Have you seen this?
This is true. You may actually find that people coming towards the end of their career might be a better hire. If you’re looking at the average tenure for perm role (2 years currently) if you hire someone 5 years away from retirement you’re likely to get a much longer tenure. It’s always good to look at the entire workforce when looking to hire.
I think that because their education is so mapped out there is an expectation that this will continue and continue to happen year by year, instead of understanding that it could take 5 years to get a promotion. Young people are definitely attracted to progression.
It’s good to have conversations about progression, not only with young hire but across all ages. We all want to know what that looks like.
Are there any new trends in the skills looked for by employers in the new world of work?
The key thing we’re seeing, especially in larger companies is people who have the technical skills to back their work up with data. To be able to look through it, understand it and then report effectively on it to back up their argument. Also an individual who understands the workplace and isn’t a complete data based programmer. Someone who can sit in between the 2 will be a key asset for any large scale workplace transformation project.
Has the analytics side grown?
On global teams of workplace transformation projects we’ve hired on 3 or 4 different occasions a data insights lead or data scientist to sit among the PMs and strategists. They purely go through and back up what’s been said into clear and easy to understand decks. Nowadays there are so many platforms like Power BI and Tableau that are able to report and present data. Data visualization is so important.
95% of job descriptions say that candidates need to be relevant. Can you really work from anywhere and are companies willing to hire from outside the UK?
In my experience, the short answer is no which is really disappointing. It’s simply easier to hire a UK citizen if you are a UK resident. Even sponsored Visas are a minority because of paperwork and employment law. There are too many barriers in place. Does this mean they’re missing out on talent? Absolutely. In my experience there are very little examples of hiring outside the UK unless you are a multinational like Google.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts on ChatGBT for cover letters and job descriptions. Could this be used to counteract employers who run CVs through a review tool, to help get past the initial gates and into the first discussions?
Technology has always been designed to take responsibility away from humans. But in my opinion nothing is more important that human to human interaction, especially physically. I would try to negate the cover letter with a phone call from the hiring manager at the desired company. There are lots of ways to stand out from the crowd, so try and use tech to your advantage rather than use it exclusively.
Have you found interview practice is changing? For example, in multiple stages and virtually?
The main issue at the moment is the amount of time a hiring company is spending interviewing. If you have a defined interview process and it is explained to the candidate, then that’s great. What’s frustrating to candidates is multiple stages thrown in last minute and held weeks apart. You need to think, is this stage necessary and is it important? The practice has moved from in person interviews but the process seems to have more stages because it’s easier to meet virtually. This may seem like a good idea but too many cooks can spoil the broth. It’s an interesting one but I believe the approach to hire needs to be defined and followed.
Do you think it is better to stick to a structured interview process or is there room for a more exploratory and flexible approach?
As recruitment consultants we don’t actually sit in on the interviews so it’s hard to explicitly comment, but increasingly 1st stage interviews seem to just be an informal chat. We’ve even stopped calling them interviews, just discussions.
For technical roles this is slightly different and there might need a technical test. Sometimes a case study is needed for project work / consultative work. But panel sit down scoring interviews seem to be long gone, other than in the public sector.
In project work the candidates need to fit in with the team as the teams are often small, so exploratory would be better for this.
If you have global clients, how do you find people with language skills?
As the UK has closed the borders to a lot of EU countries and people with language skills often leave university and move elsewhere it is difficult to find this skillset. It’s hard to find ways to use language skills in a country that makes it so hard to get through the door in the first place!
Technical skills vs softer skills? Is the market leaning more towards social skills and personality hires?
People buy off people. Generally, people that fit in well or come recommended have a foot in the door already. There is therefore a benefit of using a specific recruitment consultant who knows about the client culture and can find someone suitable.