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TPP’s tips on recruiting top talent for your University

Posted on 2/05/2019 by Samantha Johnston


Do you find that you have certain roles that you struggle to recruit for? 
Are you trying to find a Research Excellence Framework (REF) professional to help with your REF submission?
Alternatively, an Admissions Manager during a busy admissions period at a time where every University is doing the same?
Have you put your vacancy out for the third time and still not received a good quality response?

We have put together some of our top tips for recruiting and attracting talent in the university sector!

Build your employer brand

Building your employer brand is integral to attracting top talent in the market. This isn’t just about being top of the university league tables but about being seen as an attractive place to work. 

Do you value your employees? 
What are your benefits like?
Are there opportunities for progression? 
Are your salaries in line with the sector? 

More and more of our candidates are rating flexible/ agile working or team culture as one of their main motivators for moving jobs over salary.

As we are now living in an age where people can go online and review everything, employers are no different. Make sure you are using resources such as Glassdoor and encouraging your employees to review your organisation to build up your employer profile. Social media is a powerful way to promote your organisation’s culture and why your employees love working there.

Make the recruitment process as smooth as possible

Communication is key to keeping a candidate interested so ensure you are clear about the application process from the start.

When is the closing date?
When will you shortlist candidates?
When will you interview and let candidates know the outcome? 

Make sure you stick to a time-frame so you don’t lose out on good candidates throughout the process. For the same reason, refrain from putting out job adverts for longer than 3 weeks. If your candidate is actively looking for a role it’s likely they will have another 2 to 3 roles on the go, and you don’t want to be beaten to the post.

Provide feedback good or bad! Let’s face it most candidates have spent a lot of time putting together an application and undertaking in depth interview preparation. It provides candidates with a positive experience if you can give them feedback on how their interview went with clear constructive advice on how they can improve moving forward. Don’t underestimate the value of good word of mouth! When candidates are talking to friends and colleagues about their experience of interviewing at your organisation you want it to be a positive one!

Partnering with a recruitment agency

The market is a big place, don’t just rely on just putting out an advert to attract talent. In the Higher Education market 1/3 of job seekers are actively signed up to job boards. Of those, not all are looking for a job and 2/3 of candidates might not even hear about your vacancy!

Solution: use a specialist recruitment agency with a strong network in the university sector and experience of researching universities and where to headhunt from. It is important to build a strong relationship with your recruitment partner, so they are representing your employer brand in the best way possible understanding your vision, goals and values and providing a good quality candidate experience.

If you would like more advice on attracting and recruiting talent for your team please get in touch with Samantha Johnston, Higher Education Divisional Manager at TPP on
020 7198 6090 or email