Recruitment strategy ideas for employers: new trends and solutions


Hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic came with its own complexities, but what issues are UK employers facing in its wake? Building your new recruitment strategy around new tech trends and candidate attitudes might just be what you need to solve common recruitment challenges in 2023. We’ll take a look at what you’re up against, as well as some key solutions.

Current recruitment trends

The UK’s hiring landscape has changed again following the pandemic. The BBC found that job vacancies are still high (though falling from their peak in 2022), making it hard to attract the right candidates. But first we’ll look at a factor which has remained intriguingly the same. Flexible working became a hot topic throughout the pandemic. Now that candidates have a taste for it, it’s still a hugely desirable perk. 

Flexible work is still a candidate priority 

Candidates are still resilient to fully returning to office-based work following the pandemic. A CIPD study on flexible working found that 9 in 10 UK workers either had flexible work or wanted it. 

Why might this be the case? With the UK’s ageing population and a workforce juggling other commitments outside of work, most employers will likely have to reckon that candidates are still looking for flexible work as a benefit. As we address in our article on Diversity and Inclusion: Improving Practices to Hire and Retain Top Talent, the idea is to go beyond recruiting employees from underrepresented backgrounds, and instead making your employee experience more inclusive. Flexible hiring is one way to do just that.

Jobseekers demanding flexible work isn’t necessarily bad news. In fact, flexible working schedules have their benefits. A recent survey in The Guardian found that most managers believe that it increases employee productivity, and 62.5% believed that it boosts motivation. This suggests that clearly advertising your flexible working perks is still one way to win over candidates in a competitive market. 

Applicants are now using AI

Business Insider found that candidates increasingly use ChatGPT and other similar tools to write their CVs and cover letters. Another article by PR Newswire uncovered that 25% of Gen Z candidates were already using AI bots to write CVs.

Some companies, however, are responding to unfavourably. As The Telegraph reported in April 2023, online banking institution Monzo are now discrediting any candidates that use ChatGPT to apply for jobs at their company. Whether employers deem the use of ChatGPT or AI in recruitment to be a strength or weakness will likely depend on what the role requires from a candidate if they were offered the position. 

Employers might want to note potential inaccuracies (or AI ‘hallucinations’) in AI-generated text that may not reflect a candidate’s communication (or even critical thinking) skills. The Independent found that researchers are working hard to solve these inaccuracies, but they’re already proving a problem for many sectors. An increasing number of applicants using AI to build cover letters may also lead to plenty of junk applications to sift through – costing employers time and money.

Candidates are switching occupations

So we’ve seen why some businesses might be facing too many applicants. But conversely, you might be finding that your position isn’t receiving enough applications. And this also depends on the industry you’re hiring in. Our hiring trends article revealed that the most attractive jobs offered competitive pay and flexibility. Those less appealing were less specialised, entry-level, or had working conditions that were ‘less favourable’.

The least desirable occupational categories in the hiring trends study included hospitality and tourism, community and social service, and retail and customer service. Those who had spent a lot of time building up specialist skills in a particular role were less likely to leave for a different occupation. 

Our report found that employers looking to hire and retain employees in these less desirable roles would probably have to focus more on training and support; giving employees a sense of purpose and career progression may make their role more meaningful.

Also, with the knowledge that almost half of UK workers think that the praise they receive at work is ‘meaningless’, according to an OC Tanner Global Culture Report, it’s time that employers looked for new ways to keep their employees on board for the long haul.

OC Tanner’s own research also identified ‘four factors of fulfilment’ that drive employees: balance, community, connection and belonging, and growth and purpose. These findings are similar to our hiring trends study; the overwhelming consensus is that employees and candidates alike are looking for belonging and a clear career path when applying for roles. What’s more, Indeed & Glassdoor’s Hiring and Workplace Trends Report 2023 also found that employees are primarily looking for pay, but other features like company culture and diversity and inclusion were top priorities as well. Companies that promote diversity and inclusion have been found to create more valuable services and make bigger profits.

Creating an effective shortlist

To solve some of the above issues, we looked at how employers can maximise their hiring budget by paying for results. From our research, we found that employers are increasingly looking for services that help them narrow down candidates to a concise shortlist of talented options. The idea is that having a smaller yet better quality list is more helpful to employers, simplifying your recruitment strategy while saving time and money. 

What’s more, returning to a more human-centric recruitment strategy might also work in favour of both employers and employees. As our article found, employers and employees may benefit from using matching algorithms to increase the visibility of relevant ads to the right candidates.

If candidates don’t have to sift through irrelevant ads, they’re more likely to find the right jobs for their skills. It also means they’re more likely to find jobs that match what they’re looking for, whether that’s flexible working or other popular benefits. And likewise, employers are more likely to attract a higher calibre of candidate – as well as the right candidate.

In today’s hiring climate, listening to candidates is key

This year has brought along some old challenges to your recruitment strategy, as well as a few new ones. These include candidates using AI to write their cover letters or increasingly switching occupations for better career progression opportunities. By listening to their concerns while responding with a more streamlined digital recruitment process, you can better attract and retain talent for years to come.



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