If you want to hire new staff there are things you can do to make your business more attractive, says Realise HR's Martin Norris

Martin says: “Hiring new talent is one of our biggest challenges.” I’m guessing that for most of you reading, you’ll likely agree with this statement. According to the latest Recruitment Outlook by the British Chambers of Commerce nearly 73% of firms report facing difficulties when trying to recruit staff. It’s a pretty dreary picture, and one that only worsens when you look closely at the industries who traditionally feel the brunt of this such as hospitality, manufacturing, and construction – ouch.

On the other side of the coin, with approximately one million unfilled vacancies in the UK, job seekers feel relatively confident in their ability to secure new employment. According to Indeed research, 43% of survey respondents in September ’23 were confident that they could actively find a new job in the next month, despite hiring intentions and vacancy postings having cooled in the latter part of last year.

It's quite the disconnect and harks back to simple laws of economics, supply and demand. While the softening of the labour market has helped create a more favourable balance of power between employers and candidates, I’d suggest it’s ultimately still candidates who sit in the driving seat. So, this being the case, what can we do as businesses in 2024 to make ourselves competitive and make hiring that little bit easier?

Focus on candidate experience and candidate engagement

As a recruiter, I’m often asked what makes me different. What is my secret formula to hiring? And while I’d love to tell you there’s some secret recruiter alchemy at work, in the main, it all comes down to a tireless focus on candidate engagement and experience. In my view, the candidates you want ARE out there, but they’re much less active than they were 10 years ago.

Do you remember CN-Jobs? I loved running that job board and at its peak, it was delivering an average of 35+ local candidates for every role posted here in Cumbria. This is a bygone age, job boards simply don’t work like that anymore; whereas once we could differentiate between the ‘active’ and ‘passive’ market, it’s now just one market, and most of the talent you’re looking for won’t directly come to you. In a recent Linkedin survey, 84% of recruiters said that engaging passive candidates is becoming more important in lower and middle-level roles for bringing talent into the hiring funnel. Essentially, whereas once you’d only need to headhunt and network for C-suite vacancies, there’s now a similar need for relationship building across all levels, and a focus on the experience of those candidates once you have successfully secured them within your hiring pipeline. If candidates feel neglected in anyway, you can kiss them goodbye...


How quickly do you respond to applications? Schedule interviews? Provide feedback? I get it, it’s difficult to juggle the day-to-day and simultaneously prioritise recruitment, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that every day (even hour) counts. With Gen Z (those born between 1997 – 2012) entering the workforce, their expectations in terms of pace and accessibility means we must have efficient processes in place when it comes to talent acquisition. I’m talking one click mobile-optimised applications, detailed next steps and timelines, support and communication throughout.

Pay Transparency

On 7th June 2023 the EU pay transparency directive came into force for EU Member states introducing new obligations on employers in respect of pay transparency including at point of recruitment. This echoes legislative changes in many states across the US and will likely be the catalyst for increasing obligations on UK employers. It’s well-known that including the salary on job-advertisements significantly increases response, but I foresee that this will be a legal requirement in the near future. Make 2024 the year we no longer say that a salary is ‘competitive’; let candidates understand what you’re offering and reap the benefits.