Lost for Candidates? Navigating “The Great Re-evaluation”

“a million fewer people in the labour force than on pre-pandemic trends.”  

“The tight labour market continues to be reflected in high levels of vacancies and relatively low participation in the labour force. On vacancies, these hit a record high of 1.3 million..”



It really is a tight market, with record numbers of vacancies and a workforce re-evaluating what work means to them.  So how do you find these elusive candidates and, once you’ve found them, how do you hang on to them in such a competitive, candidate-driven market?

Top of the list is the culture of your company – there’s little point in hiring people who are just going to leave.  It’s easy to focus on getting recruitment right but people need to want to work for you and to stay.

Where pay and benefits used to be the main drivers, these days it’s all about culture and flexibility.  We know there are some roles that can’t be hybrid or fully remote, however, if it was possible to work from home during the pandemic it should still be possible now.  If you’re not offering at least a hybrid working pattern you’ve probably noticed your attrition rate increasing and your chances of recruiting are significantly diminished.

Up next is candidate experience. What was previously something of a buzzword among HR and Talent Acquisition teams is finally being understood and engaged with as an integral part of brand messaging, company culture promotion and – ultimately – business growth.

In today’s highly competitive candidate-driven talent market, the candidate experience can hugely positively or negatively impact your organisation’s ability to attract more candidates, compete for top talent and increase positive brand awareness.

Research shows consistently that candidates who have a negative experience during the hiring process will tell others not to apply. So what exactly about the candidate experience should your company be focussing on?

At Hunter Adams, we know that the basis for great candidate experience begins and ends with effective communication. From the initial call to the interview process and finally, to the offer or rejection stage, candidates want to feel that they are the most important part of the process – and in this market they are.

Often in the busy workdays of our clients, they have little time to spare. However, a growing understanding of how carefully planning space and time for recruitment activity can impact the overall growth and development of a business is beginning to see traction.

Managing expectations throughout the process is important. A clear idea of timescales should be communicated early on and adhered to by both parties. Few things are more frustrating for a candidate than feeling left in the dark with no idea of what or when to expect the next step in the process.

Today’s candidates aren’t only looking at the job description or compensation and benefits. They want to feel that they are part of a bigger picture, working for a company with shared values. The hiring process is the first opportunity for them to get a feel for the culture of your organisation and first impressions not only last but often to have the most impact. Get it right and you can have your pick of the crop. Get it wrong and you’ll find yourselves struggling to fill those key roles and drive success.

The importance of treating candidates well at all stages has future implications, even if they are not the right candidate for the advertised role. The experience they have with your organisation will determine whether they choose to engage with you for another position that they may be a better match for, as well as whether they would recommend a friend or colleague to apply. An honest but tactfully handled rejection feedback conversation is key to maintaining engagement and adding to a future talent pipeline. As Recruiters we spend more time giving people bad news than good news, it’s important that regardless of when a candidate leaves the process, they feel like they’ve been treated fairly.

So if you’re finding it difficult to attract the talent you need into your business at the moment, maybe it’s time to review your company culture and that all-important candidate experience. Unfortunately, culture’s not something you can change overnight, but improving the candidate experience is a relatively easy and valuable thing to do and it can make all the difference.


This article was written by Eilidh Robertson, Head of HR Interim & Recruitment at Hunter Adams.