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Making sure your candidates feel the love

By Kate Maunder, Divisional Manager at TPP Recruitment

The job market tends to be cyclical – lots of job openings tend to result in candidate shortages and candidates are plentiful when jobs are in short supply.  The recent economic downturn has kept the market stable for longer than normal – high levels of redundancy and unemployment have created huge pools of labour while cautious employers have been recruiting less.

However, all the signs indicate that we are now at a tipping point as the market recovers and unemployment drops.  According to the latest REC report on jobs, vacancy numbers are continuing to rise at a rapid pace but candidate availability is falling.  Commenting on these results, Bernard Brown, Head of Business Services at KPMG, said:  “Demand for staff may be up, but the number of individuals putting themselves on the market has dropped for the fifth consecutive month. Perhaps the pay on offer has to rise to encourage staff to ‘make the move’. If it doesn’t we could be about to witness a growing gap between what the employers need and what employees are prepared to do.”

At TPP, as well as a general increase in the number of vacancies in the not for profit sector, we have also noticed a general increase in candidates declining offers that have been made to them.  There are some skill sets that have always been in short supply, such as income generation, but other areas are now starting to see skill shortages, such as digital marketing.  The demand for candidates in general is increasing, which means they can be much more choosey.  Not for profit organisations should be placing more emphasis on candidate care and making sure they are kept happy and engaged throughout the recruitment process.

Below are TPP’s top tips to ensure your candidates feel loved:

1.    Ensure the offer package is right

Obviously you need to make sure your salary is as competitive as possible, which means you need to know what similar organisations are offering.  Salary is not the only thing to consider though, particularly for charity candidates, who are often looking for a better work-life balance.  Make sure you mention benefits and opportunities for flexible working, as these are often really powerful draws.

Some useful links:
Salary surveys
How to offer the right salary
Five ‘hidden’ employer benefits of flexible working

2.    Ensure there is potential for development

Candidates are often thinking about the long term when moving roles, and the opportunities for development are likely to play an important part in their decision.  Almost all roles offer employees the potential to learn and grow their abilities, even if they do not have a direct route for promotion.  The trick is to find the ways in which candidates would be able to make the most of the role and themselves and to make sure they are aware of them in the interview.

In these days of slashed training budgets, any promises of CPD you can offer are a great way to make your organisation stand out.  Remember, TPP give all fundraisers placed through us a £100 voucher to spend with the IoF on CPD.

3.    Don’t take too long to make a decision

This is probably the most common reason why organisations lose good candidates.  If they have great skills and experience, it’s likely that other organisations will want them as much as you do and candidates will not wait around if they receive another offer.  While we appreciate it can be hard to make decisions quickly in non-profit organisations, particularly if Trustees have to be involved, waiting for an offer can be a really negative recruitment experience for the candidate.

4.    Offer constant feedback and communication

On similar lines, one of the most common frustrations for candidates is a lack of communication and feedback.  Even if you are rejecting them, every candidate deserves to know they are not being taken forward and given a reason for that decision wherever possible.

Remember, the large crossover between potential employees, volunteers, advocates and donors make it especially important for charities to take good care of candidates.

Some useful links:
How to reject candidates without turning them off your brand
Lack of interview feedback can damage your donations

At TPP, we know that managing the offer process starts when we first meet the candidate.   We take the time to really understand why they are leaving their current job and their motivations and requirements for a new role.  We drill down into their key criteria, which is often very different to a candidate's stated motivations, to maximise the chances of a satisfactory recruitment process for all parties.