6 Strategies to Attract, Hire & Retain the Talent Your Business Needs

By Kate Smedley

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New research from LinkedIn suggests that employees working for small businesses are much happier than those working for larger organisations. That’s great news for small business owners but sourcing those employees requires a robust hiring process. Here are six ways to boost your ability to attract, hire and retain the talent your business needs.

Adopt Netflix’s standard for online applications

A study from Indeed into online application processes found that around a third of job seekers won’t spend more than 15 minutes on a job application. The more repetitive and drawn out your application process, the less likely your business is to attract qualified candidates to your job posts. The study showed that the simplest application came from Netflix with just five screening questions and a total one-minute time to apply for vacancies at all levels. Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Salesforce (the top ranked place to work by Indeed) also recorded fast times.

Boost productivity and applications with flexible working

Working from home is on the rise and the number of people working flexible hours or remotely is expected to reach 60% in the next decade. In the short-term, flexible working during the Olympics may boost productivity and engagement for employees.  57% of people believe they are more productive working remotely. Flexible working is frequently ranked as the number one perk for job seekers but two years after its introduction it is still not widely adopted by UK businesses.

Close the pay gap

Average pay rises hovered around 2% in 2015, with the exception of some CEOs who enjoyed pay rises of 10%, according to the High Pay Centre.  London’s FTSE 100 CEOs are paid on average 129 times more than their staff, a situation which is exacerbated by the fact that only a quarter of FTSE 100 firms pay the living wage. Employer brand is the key to attracting people with the skills your small business needs. Transparency in pay and the need for a fair culture is vital to make that happen.

Make background checks your essential recruiting tool

The importance of background checks has been reinforced again following a report from HireRight that nearly two thirds of job applications submitted in the first six months of this year contained errors. Don’t omit this vital part of the hiring process because you’re convinced your candidate is perfect. Fines for the employment of illegal workers have increased and the cost of a bad hire can severely damage your employer brand. Formal reference checks should begin as soon as your job offer is accepted. One third of applicants provide incorrect information about their career history, while just under a third (32%) included inaccurate details related to qualifications. The financial services sector in particular reported significantly high levels of errors, affecting 71% of all applications submitted in February 2016 alone.

Get mobile 

In the UK, we collectively check our mobile devices one billion times every day. Deloitte’s 2016 UK Mobile Consumer Survey found that nearly half of 18-24 year olds even check their device during the night and one in ten of us reach for our smartphones as soon as we wake up. Incorporating a mobile responsive application process will ensure you don’t lose qualified applicants at the first hurdle.  

Don’t rush to cut hiring

The latest CIPD Labour Market Outlook survey suggests that post-Brexit hiring intentions have fallen slightly but the skills shortage remains a very real concern for employers with a reported two vacancies for each job seeker according to jobsite Adzuna. Nearly half of all UK workers report feeling understaffed and under-resourced due to the added work pressure and stress following a hiring freeze. With stagnant or falling productivity across a number of sectors, the timing may not be right. Consider tapping into the gig economy as an alternative. A growing number of freelance workers have more skills and experience than permanent employees and 70% have over 10 years of experience in their field.

A version of this article was originally published on Advorto’s blog.

Kate Smedley writes on behalf of Advorto. Used by some of the world’s leading organisations, Advorto's recruitment software provides workflow and structure across the entire hiring process. 


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