Experience counts

Written by: Kathryn Reed is a consultant at Tile Hill
Published on: 2 Dec 2021

A survey carried out by the recruitment firm, Randstad UK, last month found that almost a quarter of workers are actively planning to change jobs in the next few months as part of a post-pandemic ‘great resignation’. And the most recent UK Labour Force Survey supports these findings, showing that resignations and job-to-job moves in the UK are at their highest level in 20 years. At the same time, 80% of organisations are looking to recruit in the next 12 months and we are experiencing the highest demand levels across the recruitment industry since before 2008.

A heightened job market requires employers to stand out even more against competition. And, in our view, a brilliant candidate experience can have a hugely positive impact on an organisation’s employer brand and ability to attract top talent. This may not be a revolutionary thought, but when workloads are high and there are competing pressures, it is often something that employing organisations get wrong, or do not place enough emphasis on, when selecting their recruitment partner.

While we are seeing a high number of individuals open to career moves, they are highly discerning in where they apply. In this kind of competitive market it is important you stand out and have a clear proposition for why someone should join your organisation, how it will advance their career, and the difference they can make. You also need to work with recruitment partners who share your commitment to providing a good experience, that recognise their role as a custodian of your brand and are committed to telling your story in a compelling and engaging way.

The value of an executive recruitment partner extends well beyond the advertising process, and even beyond the headhunting process. The value is created by being ambitious for you and your organisation, for setting high standards of candidate communication, and for placing experience at the centre of everything we do. Done correctly, it should result in better quality applications, higher levels of engagement through the process, and a higher chance of making a successful appointment.

Everyone who comes into contact with your organisation throughout a recruitment process should feel as though they’ve been treated fairly, given the best opportunities to shine and to feel their efforts are valued. There should be high levels of communication from start to finish and feedback should be given to candidates at every point in the process, whether they’re successful or not. The goal should be for candidates to enjoy the recruitment process and to walk away with a positive view of your organisation.

Whose responsibility is it to provide a good candidate experience? The recruitment manager, the resourcing team, the recruitment partner? From our recent conversations with resourcing and talent teams in public sector organisations, this is often an area of tension and is creating a poor experience for candidates, especially in organisations with high levels of recruitment. The reality is that it’s everyone’s responsibility, and recruitment works best when done in partnership, firstly between the resourcing/talent team and the hiring manager, and then between the hiring organisation and recruitment partner.

The reality is that it’s everyone’s responsibility, and recruitment works best when done in partnership, firstly between the resourcing/talent team and the hiring manager, and then between the hiring organisation and recruitment partner. Any executive recruiters you work with should understand your story, live and breathe your values, and engage with a broad range of candidates, ensuring they are leaving a positive impression and one that refreshes people’s perceptions of your organisation.

Providing a great candidate experience shouldn’t be seen as a ‘nice to have’ for organisations. Candidate experience is part of your employer brand proposition, it embodies your values and provides an insight into how your organisation works, and how it treats its people. Put simply, providing an exceptional candidate experience will help to attract talent in a competitive market and increase the chance of successfully recruiting. At a time when we expect high levels of demand in local government recruitment, the value of candidate experience has risen again.

Kathryn Reed is a consultant at Tile Hill