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Rising cost of job ads calls for a recruitment rethink

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Headlines are all about rising costs at the moment. It’s not just food, fuel and heating. It’s affecting recruitment advertising too.

Some companies – Total Jobs, for example – have recently changed their rates so customer type or size no longer dictates how much you pay to place a job ad. 

It is leading many recruiters to look inward. Often the best way of generating good candidates is to focus less on advertising and more at managing your existing database of potential talent.

By re-engaging the names on those databases and talent pools, using modern technology solutions, and finding some flexibility, you can make those names fit the roles.


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Rather than putting effort into creating ever-more eye-catching adverts, the smarter approach is to work with what you’ve already got.

You have nuggets of gold in front of you that you attracted years ago and they may be looking for opportunities right now.

Make best use of your time by warming those candidates up and getting rid of unhelpful data. The key is ensuring that as you draw people in, you focus on quality rather than quantity.

Start to build your brand and deliver a valuable content plan to your candidates about what is happening in the marketplace, what interesting roles you have, and what challenges you are trying to solve right now. In not too much time you will get candidates wanting to chat to you about their careers and what you have to offer them.

In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for recruiters to wade through thousands of names on a database only to find a potentially great candidate who hadn’t been engaged with in years.

Assessing candidates is easily automated but it’s important to stay in touch. Think of them as partners.

They are part of a valuable network; people you want to nurture lasting relationships with. By being human, showing genuine interest and empathy, you will persuade them to engage.

Lean into what you know best – your market. Take some time to map out where candidates have been, who they’ve worked with, and the networks around them. Word of mouth referrals are priceless and if you’ve done a good job you’ll become the go-to recruiter in their network. 

And don’t forget the shop window. It’s always worth taking a step back to look at how your website, social media and overall branding compares to competitors and whether it is attracting the right applications, and more importantly, converting these into your recruitment CRM.

Agencies in particular want to have an identity that chimes with their target market. This in turn helps you put forward candidates who reflect well on you.

Maintaining and engaging with a candidate pool requires effort but it will help strengthen your ability to find the right people. And as we know, the search for good candidates isn’t going to get easier any time soon.

So, if the cost of advertising is causing you to pause, consider how technology can make your existing candidate database work harder for you.

Wendy McDougall is founder and CEO of Firefish Software