Tarka Talent

Attracting, Interviewing and Closing in 2021

Attracting, interviewing and closing in 2021
By Sam Temperton

For a long time, as a hiring team, you could be pretty confident that by providing interesting work and a 10% salary uplift, you could secure the candidates you needed to fill your vacancies.

In the post-pandemic (ish) recruitment boom we’re experiencing at the moment, even passive candidates are being approached and engaging with 6-10 different processes, being offered 20-30% uplifts, and being taken off the market within a few weeks.

So how do you compete in this sort of market and secure the best people for your business?


  1. Attraction

There is significant division in the candidate pool at the moment. Some see the current climate as the ideal time to be looking for a new role – lockdown has sharpened their ideas of what a career can look like, and what a job should (& could offer). However, a lot of candidates who have been kept on by their businesses during the worst of the pandemic are increasingly loyal and increasingly passive in the market.

Attracting both of these types of candidates to your application process is key.

  • Clear and coherent job specs are vital. Candidates are busy, be that working or applying, so make sure your JD has a clear (& brief) brief.
  • Advertise not just the role but the culture, the team, the progression, the flexibility. Candidates’ expectations look very different than they did 18 months ago – a flexible work from home policy might well trump a decent pension scheme in many cases.
  • Use a trusted recruitment partner. Whilst the good candidates might be in high demand, it is still a candidate rich market. With the increasing prevalence of “one-click” applications, there will be a wealth of candidates applying who unfortunately are not relevant. This is a huge burden on internal talent teams time to sort through these – let a trusted recruitment consultancy do this due diligence for you. They will inevitably know the market inside out and can provide a shortlist of 5 great candidates, rather than 100 average ones.


  1. Interviewing

The recruitment market in 2021 is incredibly fast-moving. Unless you are the first business that candidate has interviewed with, they will inevitably have several other interviews elsewhere already. The business that moves slowest is likely to lose the candidate, however attractive the role and offer may be.

It is worth reviewing your interview process. Could the senior leader pop into the 2nd stage, rather than have their own conversation with the candidate as the final? Are the aptitude tests you’ve been using since 2005 still relevant or even necessary? Have you considered that your competitor makes an offer after two stages?

Naturally, you want to do your due diligence on any candidate that you might bring into the business. Just make sure you aren’t doing 4 stages and a case study presentation just because that’s what you’ve always done. Otherwise, the candidates may do their due diligence on you and find you wanting.


  1. Closing

How do you usually manage your offer processes? Do you offer the candidate below their expectations and hope for the best? Do you leave a great candidate on hold whilst you benchmark them against new applicants? Or do you offer good salaries to great candidates once you’ve met them and get the best people to join your business?

All businesses should be aiming for the latter. I get that there are situations where a candidate may have unrealistic salary expectations or unaffordable salary expectations vs your budget. But this should have been obvious from the start. If you are under-offering candidates just to chance your arm then you are very likely to lose that candidate in this market.

As discussed above, most decent candidates in this market are in several application processes at once, and will inevitably be offered more than one role. If you don’t offer that candidate the salary that they asked for, you can bet that your competitor will.

My advice to businesses looking to offer candidates in this market is to make your best offer first. Tell a candidate you think they’re great and tell them why, and then offer them a good salary to join your business. Trust and transparency in these processes are key – if we can’t get it from our politicians then at least let’s get it from our recruitment processes.


To surmise, if you are looking to grow, or add to, your business in 2021, do the following: tell the market exactly what you’re looking for and why, and let a recruitment partner help you find it; interview the candidate quickly and efficiently; finally, you like the candidate – just give them what they’ve asked for and enjoy a glass or two to celebrate!

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