As the UK seeks to get back on track following its Covid lockdown, a recruitment crisis puts the country's economic recovery at risk. According to the British Chambers of Commerce, the percentage of firms experiencing hiring difficulties rose sharply for the second consecutive quarter in Q2, climbing to 70% .

The pandemic has prompted many to revaluate their work lives, while some still fear a return to the workplace, and Brexit has only complicated matters. More than 1.3 million non-UK workers have departed since Covid-19 emerged, making the tussle for talent fiercer than ever .

In order to secure the best possible candidates and solidify their future prosperity, businesses must explore various recruitment strategies and develop an approach that can fill their needs.

Referral schemes

Employee referral schemes seek suitable recommendations from existing employees - typically in exchange for a monetary reward. However, incentives such as days off, activity days, and trips abroad can be just as encouraging. With the lifting of Covid restrictions, these rewards are becoming easier to offer again and are exactly what our getaway-starved workforce desires. For those that prefer to use external agencies, many recruiters use similar schemes to find suitable candidates that come with endorsement from fellow professionals in their industries.

In exchange, businesses receive vetted applicants that have passed initial screening before a resume even lands in HR's inbox. Nobody understands what is required to succeed - both in skills and personality - better than those within a department or who have been placed by an agency. With employees unwilling to risk their reputation, recommended candidates are among the most likely to have the ability to get the job done and fit the company's culture.

Likewise, studies show that involving employees in decision-making processes, such as recruitment, inspires them to care more about an organisation and work harder for it. In turn, this boosts retention, reduces turnover, and saves on future recruitment costs.

Executive search

Businesses can turn to specialist executive search and recruitment firms to seek out highly qualified candidates for executive and highly senior roles. This involves working with a specialist recruiter who is an extension of the business and can offer access to a pool of candidates who have been thoroughly vetted to guarantee success.

Quite often these roles are sensitive, making public recruitment strategies unsuitable. An agency like Totum can seek out the perfect match for both role and company and approach individuals with the right mix of knowledge, skills and abilities. Most executive search firms will have the right network and be able to identify and engage suitable candidates on the client's behalf, using highly-optimised techniques and tactics to find the right match.

Training programmes

Planning for progression can be a successful strategy for filling roles. Offering training programmes will show employees that there are opportunities to progress and encourage their development. When a higher position opens up, these employees will be prime candidates to fill the role.

Studies show that internally hired managers feel more supported, with 56% stating hiring from within has a positive impact on morale. Likewise, according to Joblist, 70% of employees would prefer to be managed by an internal hire that has proven their worth, with higher productivity, greater loyalty, and stronger relationships resulting.

A core of employees that have grown within the business will only enhance external recruitment efforts by helping to identify the skills and traits that supported them in their development. With this knowledge, businesses can recruit talents that will not only thrive in a role but have the potential to step up in future.

Internal vs external recruitment

Sourcing and screening potential candidates is a full-time role, especially during these busy times when excellent candidates are such a hot commodity. Businesses may opt to use their internal recruiter or seek the help of a specialist firm.

Internal recruiters will have a strong understanding of the company and its culture. However, they may not have the time to manage a variety of roles across different departments. While this may be suitable for roles with common skill sets, filling highly technical and senior positions may prove challenging without expert knowledge of that specific function.

External recruiters can provide specialist support with their hiring strategies. Quite often have a larger pool of potential candidates, and the knowledge of what role requires and who would be best suited to fill it. They can provide specific advice on the market, salaries, bonus structures and more, and will know what other firms a candidate may be interested in - as well as how to make your offer the most attractive option.

Furthermore, according to McKinsey, diverse workforces outperform those with limited diversity by as much as 48% . We at Totum believe that the best candidates are found by casting the net far and wide and sourcing from a broad and diverse pool of talent that is right for our clients.

Developing a smart recruitment strategy

Businesses have a plethora of options available to them, whether hiring internally, turning to job boards, or seeking the help of a specialist. Recruitment isn't a one-size solution, and businesses should consider which strategy is best suited to the role they are hiring for. Quite often firms will adopt a number of strategies dependent on role and seniority.

While ineffective recruitment strategies risk resulting in unsuccessful hires and wasted resources, no matter the strategy chosen, emphasising the human-side of the recruitment process to make recruits feel special is vital. Particularly at present when candidates are scarce and competition is fierce, going the extra mile will pay dividends.

In this way, adopting a carefully considered strategy will result in hires that excel in their role, fit the culture, and stick around for the long run.