Tips to attract candidates!

The UK is currently in the midst of a jobs boom, with the labour market blossoming as it comes out of lockdown. Around 275,000 jobs were added to in May – the highest level since February 2008, before the financial crash. The hospitality and retail sectors in particular have seen huge increases in job openings across the country, in line with their ‘reopening’ following the lengthy restrictions they endured during lockdown. 

However supply is not currently meeting demand, with many businesses reporting it difficult to fill the vacancies they have on offer.

Businesses are finding they must work harder than before to attract the best talent available. To help, we’ve compiled advice to support recruiters in maximising their talent attraction and recruitment strategies to find the perfect hire during a candidate’s market.

Consider career changers and ‘left-field’ applicants

The UK has been challenged with its highest rate of unemployment in recent years. Countless jobseekers struggled to find work during the midst of the pandemic – when many businesses hit pause on hiring – which spurred them to consider making changes to their recruitment process.

We found in their research that: 

  • 70% of jobseekers are willing to move sectors to land a new job
  • Over half (52%) of are willing to relocate to boost their employment chances
  • Two-thirds (66%) of jobseekers spent 2020 learning new skills to improve their career prospects in 2021 

To maximise the reach of job adverts, consider using a variety of wording for skill sets and job titles in the job description as this will increase the discoverability of vacancies in jobseeker searches. As for reviewing applications, businesses would do well to think beyond the individual’s most recent job title and instead assess each applicant based on the actual skills, experience and education they can bring to the role.

Remain competitive against the market

When analysing all job listings on, we found that average salaries have increased 4% this year. After a decade of stagnant wages, there have been double digit percentage increases in salaries in the hospitality (+18%) and retail (+10%) sectors so far in 2021 compared with 2020 and 2019 – far exceeding the average rate of increase for other sectors.

For businesses that are in a position to do so, the logic is clear: raising salaries will help drive applications. And don’t just boost salaries – advertise them too. Job adverts that display a salary range receive 43% more applications than those that don’t, according to an analysis of jobs adverts on throughout 2020. No matter what way you look at it, money talks.

Businesses are also getting creative to encourage applications. For example, many restaurants and other businesses in the hospitality sector are offering incentives and referral bonuses for those that help bring in successful hires, in order to onboard new staff without delay. 

Be flexible

Over half (51%) of jobseekers surveyed by said they want to work from home for at least part of the week**. And with ‘work from home’ being one of the most popular search terms from jobseekers so far in 2021, it’s not something to be overlooked in job adverts.

Albeit not possible in all roles, if businesses can accommodate flexible hours, a hybrid working model or fully-remote work options, be sure to clearly call this out in job adverts in order to appeal to as wide a candidate pool as possible. 

Avoid buzzwords and cliche phrases

Jobseekers are increasingly searching for companies that will be a good cultural fit for them. Communicating culture in a job advert can be tricky and whilst there are many ‘must do’s’, there are also a number of tactics for businesses to avoid in order to ensure they’re not driving applicants away without knowing it.

Some of the most overused words used in adverts that should be avoided include:

– Energetic’ or ‘Exciting’This type of language can inadvertently insinuate that businesses are only wanting younger workers, which can in turn put off more experienced applicants or older workers. This language also aligns more with extrovert personalities, which can be a red flag for introverted workers that might possess the exact skills a business needs.

– Motivated’ or ‘Hard working: These can be perceived by jobseekers as a business expecting them to willingly put in extra hours to get work done, no matter the cost. 

Rather than buzzwords, job descriptions are best received when they are as clear and concise as possible. Therefore focus on the day-to-day tasks that the successful individual/s will be expected to carry out, as well as both their individual responsibilities and the expectations of them as a team member. 

Within this, be sure to differentiate ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ to again appeal to a wide pool of individuals. A frequently quoted statistic that reinforces the importance of well structured job descriptions is that: men will apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them***.

Set your company culture apart from the crowd – and sell it

It can be easy to overlook the importance of selling a business’ employee value proposition (EVP) whilst bulking out job descriptions. But missing the bullseye here can create a big mismatch between expectations and reality through the hiring process. In fact, according to a study by Leadership IQ only 20% of companies have clearly defined the attitudes and characteristics separating their culture from competing organisations.

Businesses can overcome this by focusing on how it is perceived from within to identify what unique qualities, values and benefits ring the truest across its workforce. Take time to detail the approach and offerings a business has when it comes to elements such as employee wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, mental health, on-the-job learning and development, and so on. When packaged together, this can form a business’ own effective USP to help reach potential applicants.

*Survey conducted online among 1,500 registered jobseekers on in December 2020.

**Survey conducted among jobseekers on between 21st November – 7th December 2020