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The Talent Conundrum – The Ultimate Guide to Attracting Talent

The Talent Conundrum – The Ultimate Guide to Attracting Talent

Written by James Osborne

Last edited May 2, 2023

The Talent Conundrum – The Ultimate Guide to Attracting Talent

There’s a talent shortage on a global scale


Talent. One word that is synonymous with the recruitment industry. More specifically the attraction of talent into the recruitment industry and your business. This has to rank as one of the highest pain points amongst recruitment leaders in the UK.

Yet this isn’t just a problem for the UK recruitment market.  Talent shortage is a global issue, that is leaving many recruitment companies who are not wise to the art of attracting the right candidates scratching their heads.

40% of Global Employers Report Talent Shortages


This is a large blog filled with lots of information, so to make it easier we’ve provided a table of content that’ll take you to each topic.

Table of links

Is there a lack of Industry Engagement?    5 tips to make Recruitment in your company desirable Attracting Fresh Talent    Academies and training courses Brand engagement to attract experienced talent    Benefits and packages    Planning and getting tactical    Company Culture   Thought Leadership

Is there a lack of Industry Engagement?

Recruitment as we all know is a fascinating career choice for many, knowing that your efforts can help change someone’s life forever is great. But unfortunately it does not always get the respect nor the engagement it deserves.


Continuously increasing the attractiveness of the industry for new, talented people is a large undertaking, but if you commit to the ground work of making your company and the profession itself something that people really value and deem an industry of choice, then you’ll find it a lot easier to attract talent.

5 tips to make Recruitment in your company desirable

We’re not ones to beat that tired old drum and tell you the lay of the land. We’re more interested in helping you take something away from our articles. So what do you, as a Recruitment Leader, need to do to further upgrade the desirability of the Recruitment Sector and draw in the very best Talent?


There’s nothing private anymore, everything can be found out and everyone shares. It’s the way of the world and companies that embrace this thrive. Transparency is simply about humanising your business and making outsiders and your employees feel the earnest truth, honesty and ambitions of your company.

Make your Company Expectations and People Transparent

As a Leader you’ll know as well as anyone the characteristics of the people in your office and the culture that has been created; can you be expected to leave early on a Friday? Is your team big on company outings? Is remote work a big no and could employees be spending late nights in the office? Make these expectations clear through all stages of hiring, although some of this could seem counterproductive, it’ll build trust and new hires will know what to expect, reducing turnover.


Another tactic is to bring in members of your company into the Interview. Established members of your team can build rapport and see if this person will make a good fit. This is something we do with our new hires, we’re able to establish whether this person will fit into the team. So far we’ve had great success and have a strong team in which everyone gets on. This kind of thing stops turnover in its tracks.

Make your goals and plans transparent

Employees who are ‘engaged and thriving’ are 59% less likely to look for a job with a different organisation in the next 12 months.

Source of data

Employees who feel invested in your organisation are more likely to stay. Communication with your staff on what you’re trying to achieve in the long term will bring these employees into the fold, you’ll turn the pessimistic ‘nine-to-fiver’ into a true champion of the cause.


Make sure you’re making your company’s goals transparent to your growing audience. If you’re creating a buzz about your ambitious plans and latest initiatives, you’ll establish yourself as a company who knows where they’re going and a place where talent can carve themselves a place. Achieve this with press releases, blogs and videos – shout about it and be proud.

2. Double down on Customer Experience

Word of mouth is making a renaissance, maybe it’s more like ‘Word of digital’ because people are not afraid to leave scathing reviews and feedback. Bad feedback is un-removable and can make the difference between you and your competitor. But good feedback and referrals will set your company out from amongst the competition.


Customer experience is something you’ll need to do as a collaborative team. The first step is to put yourself in your clients’ shoes, make sure they’re secure and happy through every step of their journey with you. The organisations that do this truly right leave an imprint on their customer’s minds and word will spread, building your company a great reputation.

Things that’ll make a great customer experience:

True personalisation.

Never forget that a great Recruiter is the one who nurtures and sustains relationships with their candidates. The cookie cutter approach may be efficient but it’s the same approach as everyone else – true personalisation can be your first step to nurturing a good customer experience.

Establish your moments of truth.

This is something Geoff Ramm spoke about at one of our previous huddles. This is that moment in which you as a customer make the realisation that you’ve engaged with a company that goes that extra mile to make their customers feel special, that celebrity treatment.

Fact find your clients, this is where this relationship building starts. Sending someone a birthday gift, or a joining gift that is unique to them will be spoken about and shared. Make yourself a company that cares about the client and the human aspect of Recruitment. Talent will see this great reputation and want to be part of your company.

3. Net Promoter Score?

Are you leveraging your Net Promoter Score? Your Net Promoter Score is a great metric that is becoming more and more utilised in our industry. It’s a feedback question that asks ‘How likely are you to recommend us?’. Knowing whether someone is likely to recommend you is the core question to remedying the inability to track talent. If your NPS is low, then you know you’ll need to get under the hood and tweak some stuff. A low NPS means your company is sitting in a pool of inadequacy which leads to a lack of engagement from clients, candidates and subsequently your staff.


Here’s a link to a great Net Promoter Score Calculator.

4. Testimonials

Testimonials are a great way to establish the social proof that you are a true leader in your market. If you’ve refined the steps above, then happy clients and candidates should be targeted for good testimonials and referrals.

Try and get the best testimonials captured on video – This will strengthen their impact!

The very best testimonials should be visible to perspective talent, whether that means all over your website, on your marketing and social collateral and even on your job postings. Testimonials will certainly set you apart from those who do not, it cushions your status and any talent joining your firm will know they’re joining a company that not only values their clients, but pursues a better service that deserves recommendation and good words.


getting great feedback from clients will make the employee who also dealt with that client in the first place feel like a valuable and celebrated part of the team!

Make your testimonials feedback abundant and obvious.

5. Applying for and winning awards

Awards are great and should definitely be part of your overall strategy. Entering and winning awards not only gives your company PR and marketing a huge boost they also spur the business to push themselves to not only meet the criteria but also to win. This type of concerted team effort makes your team feel central and responsible for the result. With a win reinforcing that their extra effort payed off, this kind of thing makes strong teams that will want to stick around.

Winning an award is also another great way to attract valuable talent. Make your win known via social media, adding it to your footers, website and job-postings. This will establish you into that upper echelon of ambitious and desirable businesses. Talent is very much attracted to success and nothing says it better than a shiny new award!

Use the award ceremonies as an opportunity to establish connections and relationships with talented attendees through networking. Go in ready and armed with your testimonials, ambitions, opportunities and information of ideal roles to fill – being prepared for these chance encounters could be extremely lucrative.

Looking for fresh talent

Talent needn’t come from the experienced Recruiter whom you might find it hard to change their ways and struggle to come around to your way of thinking and or working! There are always opportunities to bring in fresh young talented people who you can shape, invest in and transform into great talent that are embedded into your way of working and fully signed onto your mission.

With over 2 million students graduating each year it’s a hard demographic to ignore. The pushback would be that not all young grads have nurtured the skills and aptitude that can make a great recruiter, so simply going by gut instinct can sometimes be costly with both time and money. So how can we find the most talented young individuals that will prove to be a great hire?

Academies & Training Courses

Academies and Talent Training is an initiative that any size organisation should think about undertaking. With Graduates and young professionals being constantly pushed back by a wall of ‘need more experience’ they can often find themselves getting into a chosen profession that they don’t entirely want.

One way to solve this, and we have seen this work in other industries with great results, is to run internal academies where by graduates can in essence test the water as to what it is like to work in recruitment.  If we can tap into this generation’s innate desire to self-improve and grow, then you’ll give them an opportunity to discover if they have a potential passion for Recruitment. Having a group of students undertake entry level training courses in recruitment in your offices, test driving what it is like to be a recruiter, can help them self-actualise if recruitment is truly for them, which will help you find people who’re are not ‘just trying it out’.

And remember these training courses needn’t be just for new graduates or young millennials. We have seen professionals from a wide variety of sectors (HR, Sales, Marketing) take their experience and knowledge and outperform in recruitment. These training courses can also help many on the fence decide if recruitment is for them.

Companies that set up these kind of academy programmes, helping drive talent into the industry set themselves apart as thought-leaders. This kind of thing is great for company reputation.

Once your ‘students’ have completed these type of academies, then your team leaders can select the most talented (and those most aligned with your business values) and engage them to join your company. You’ll have yourself a trained recruiter that follows your way of recruiting (and is probably very grateful that you have already added value to their lives!).

The concerted effort you and your team put in to create a valuable entry level curriculum to teach your new employees will inadvertently help your company develop a best practice guidebook. This can be extremely valuable, something that you’re able to continuously tweak and help improve the way in which everyone does their job. This streamlined approach will help you teach not only your students but also your existing staff.

This is something that many other industries are excelling with – here’s one case study of a SaaS company using an academy to find talent.

Brand Engagement to attract experienced talent

If you want to truly attract existing talent to your company, you’ll need to be a company that knows how to change within. All the tactics we’ll run through are not quick fixes or shortcuts, they need to be grown and nurtured – with anything great you’ll need to play the long-game.

Remember: You’re not recruiting talent, you’re attracting it!

Continuing with the theme of ‘withinness’ (we think that is a word!), you will want to look within your business at your current talent. Ask  questions like:

  • “What traits do my best talent possess currently?”
  • “What are their typical motivations?”
  • “How ambitious are they?”
  • “Are they better working individually or in a team”
  • “Do they prefer flexible hours or strict office hours”
  • … and so on

Start to conceptualise who your current talent is and what is therefore the makeup of your future hires.  Knowing exactly what you’re looking for will help you establish a solid framework when it comes to advertising and hiring potential talented candidates.

Planning and getting tactical

So, this moves us onto the planning. Elaborating on what we just spoke about you’ll want a clear conceptualised idea (written down somewhere) of what your talent ideally should look like. Think of this kind of like a buyer persona, but internal.

What things should I be looking for?

Value alignment. Find out the true motivations of the individual you’ll want to join your team, everyone is not the same so this may include a few motivations.

Your plan should clearly focus on the alignment between your company’s values, brand, culture and ethics, alongside those of the ideal talent. Having this done in an actual document that you can amend and draw inspiration from will really help when it comes to making the final decision on potential hires, or making the right brief when appealing to the outside market. Furthermore, getting someone in your team that aligns perfectly with the business will avoid unnecessarily painful turnover rates.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of who you’re looking for make sure you’re promoting the message of the brand clearly for all to see. Doing this through channels like social media will be especially effective but if you are going to do that make sure that you do it as if you were your best customer – be relentless, be noisy and be passionate about spreading the word.

On a final note, break the mould of stereotypical thinking when it comes to the type of talent you want. For example, do not assume that because a potential hire is older they’ll be useless with technology and new systems, or that a younger candidate may be undisciplined and lacking that ‘worldly’ knowledge to hold such a position. This kind of thinking is dangerous as you could really miss out on someone that could be a valued asset to your company.

Benefits and packages

Once you’ve got yourself a plan of action and your potential talent is attuned to your value alignment plan, you can start to get a clear idea of how to package out your offering to make your company even more appealing. Is big money and a fast paced competitive office the real hook for your talent? Perhaps it’s more of a team effort where a concerted push can reap greater reward? Maybe your talent wants a package of the latest tech on arrival? And then some people want to grow in the company and hold a big title!


What you might think is a great motivation may be the wrong thing for someone else.

True talent is exactly that because they’re ambitious and strive to be the best. Offering a great structured development opportunity will turn heads and help you entice individuals to join your team. You’d be surprised at the amount of companies that have not got this planned out to tailor the needs of whoever they want to bring aboard – simply doing this ad-hoc will not work.

Talented individuals are interested in making a name for themselves and promotion opportunities should always be considered beforehand. Do you have a plan of how talent can thrive and grow? Try the practice of imagining what would happen if you hired your ideal candidate and they outperformed your expectations, how would you reward them?

Company Culture

What is company culture? It’s the ‘Personality of the company’. It’s the shared goals, practices and characteristics of your organisation, the everyday reality of our corporate life. Don’t mistake culture for your mission statement, the end goal, or staff handbook. Culture is the way in which everyone in that company cooperates in how we behave, react, treat another, our products, the customers and community.


How do we build a culture to attract talent?

Like your value alignments this takes a bit of investigating and documenting. Remember having something in your head is not good enough, thoughts and idea come and go. Make sure your company culture is a document you can build upon and something that is a point of reference. It may seem like I’m going on about this a lot, but it’s truly important!


So what is your company culture really? Some companies are zany and fun. (Our friends at Sleeping Giant Media have a ball pit for a meeting room!).  Don’t be afraid to ask your staff what kind of culture they think the day to day office life is, especially if you’re not in the trenches with them every day.

Some of these extra additions like an office pool table, rest area, constantly filled breakfast bars or bikes may seem like pointless extravagancies, but they make companies like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn the aspirational places for talented individuals!

Ask yourself this question – Is your office somewhere where a person actually wants to come to on a Monday morning? This is something you should ask yourself all the time, if you’re serious about getting true talent to your team!

So let’s make a plan for your culture:

Ask these questions, what is my current culture? (boring office, lax on time, strict dress code). Be completely honest when you document your current culture, because then you get into the interesting part of making an aspirational plan to what your ideal company would look like.

Now when you decide what your company culture could be, make sure you take special care aligning it with the motivations, needs and values of both your current company, and the type of talent you wish to bring in the company. If you’ve done this right, it could be almost identical!

Remember defining your company culture is critical, mere discussions will fade and nothing will come of it.

I’ve made a plan what’s next?

Talk about it! Just because you’re on a mission to change the office doesn’t mean you need to be alone. Talk about what your mission is, how you want the culture to be in the office. Make sure it’s daily, the more you talk about it, the more your staff will adopt and live the new culture. Try ‘Talent-orientations’ or talk about it at meetings and catch-ups.


Don’t be afraid to talk about what parts of the culture you don’t think work in the company currently and talk about what you’re actively trying to change. As the leader of the company you shouldn’t be afraid of galvanising change in the office.

Remember that culture is all about what you and your team do. ‘Actions not words’ are important when it comes to establishing a great company culture. Stories, speeches and discussions will have a significant impact on the development of your company culture, it is an embryo that you’ll have to grow carefully to align with the plan.

Measure then reward

Don’t forget to measure this, even if measuring something as impalpable as this seems like an impossible task. How do you measure supportiveness or fun factor in the office? Well it needn’t be a complex algorithm, it could be a white board on the exit where it asks a simple question “Did you find your day fun today?” and each person simply jots down a 1 out of 5. This makes that culture tangible, something that can see trends; if it dips a few weeks in a row then something needs to change.


Rewarding the cultural shift is important, it can be a huge undertaking from your staff. Breaking habits is a very hard task and it’ll be poorly met if there isn’t some kind of gain from it!

Shout about it!

Make sure your culture can be seen by all, promote it on social media! Share things like the welcome packages you give to new staff joining, the way you celebrate an employee’s success or birthdays, document staff meetings and the perks of your office. Remember existing employees will feel great being part of the company’s identity, and talent looking from the outside will feel like they want to be part of what you’re building.


Company culture isn’t just about putting a pool table in the stationary room. It’s about how we as a team react to good and bad news, how the company and boss’s fare when the bad times come in. Plan out possible scenarios and talk about how you would like it be dealt with (pre-mortems). Plan for things like:

  • What do you do when someone isn’t performing?
  • What about when someone is sick or is subjected to a tragic circumstance
  • How are new hires inducted?
  • What happens when you organise team building outings (do you organise them at all)?
  • How do you deal with things such as employee stress, burnout, imposter syndrome?
  • How do you effectively reward hard work and dedication?

This is something that will take time to build but once you’ve done it right it will be one of the biggest assets to talent attraction.

Thought Leadership

The final part is Thought Leadership. Thought Leadership establishes you as a leader in your market. Thought Leadership is the task of creating engaging content that teaches and pushes the boundaries of your profession.


Things like blogs and Vlogs created on a basis of consistency that talk about happenings in the industry or the way in which Recruitment should be done, findings and data conducted on the side, guides and articles – all of this helps build your company a reputation of being trailblazers in your industry. This kind of thing is what Talent looks for, they want to be part of a team that pushes the boundaries and illustrates best practice. Leaders in the Industry attract talented individuals.

Final Word

These are just part of the whole overall scheme of attracting and finding genuine talent into your company – it’s a huge issue that’s facing many recruiters in our industry and it’s something we’ll be talking more about in the future (and something that we here at The Recruitment Network have big plans to tackle).

So please don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list so we can continue this conversation and help you solve the talent conundrum!

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