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How To Respond When Candidates Are In Short Supply

The latest Markit/REC Report has revealed that demand for temporary staff has reached a 17-month high, whilst the volume of staff available is at a three month low.

That might sound like worrying news for recruiters. After all, when your business depends on placing highly skilled temps into roles, things will be significantly more difficult if you’re working with a limited candidate pool.

Commenting on recent figures, Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, said: “Employers are crying out for people to fill vacancies. Recruiters say that fewer candidates are available in all regions, and this is dampening jobs growth.

“If businesses can’t find the people they need they will outsource abroad, automate activity or shut up shop, resulting in fewer jobs available to UK nationals.”

Green also voices his concern about skills shortages in the NHS. He notes that the government has chosen to prioritise immigration controls over the economy in EU negotiations and that this is likely to result in more difficulties finding candidates in the future.

Here at Contracting Scout, we’re also aware that roles in the NHS – and the public sector generally – could prove less enticing for temps once the reforms to IR35 legislation are in place.

As we explained in a recent post, many contractors will simply refuse public sector roles, or demand a higher rate before accepting them, if these reforms lead to them being taxed as if they are permanent employees.

If the candidate pool is limited, it’s essential to become the preferred agency for the temps that are on your books. We’ve already explained how to build trust with the temps you work with, but when temps are in short supply, it’s also important to widen your candidate base. Here are some suggested steps you can take:


Meet face-to-face

This won’t always be possible, but where it is convenient, you should make an extra effort to meet any prospective candidate in person.

Boosting the number of CVs you have on file will go some way to ensuring a pool of candidates to choose from, but establishing real relationships with candidates when their CV comes in is far more effective.

Meeting in person makes it more likely that a temp will remember you when looking for a contract in the future. And, by meeting up in person, you’ll get a better feel for what roles suit them perfectly, making it more likely you’ll be the first port of call in the future – both from the temp’s and the client’s point of view.


Get networking

Your network is more important than ever. They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Both are important, but expanding your network and ensuring that the people in your circle are aware of the roles you’re recruiting for can pay dividends.

This should include social networking too. A presence on LinkedIn might be obvious – and can be an effective way to approach candidates and assess their suitability for roles – but Facebook and Twitter are also worth considering. Experimenting with different channels and exploring paid-for options within these channels could be a valuable way to reach an audience that is broad yet targeted.


Specialise in niche occupations

When you truly understand your candidates’ industry and the type of roles they’re looking for, you can really add value to their job search.

By specialising in niche industries, you’ll be able to develop in-depth insight into the state of the market, as well as an instinct for which roles are particularly suitable for which candidates.

As you establish a reputation for this expertise, candidates in your relevant specialist sectors will come straight to you when searching for their next assignment.

Equally importantly, this knowledge will strengthen your relationships with your clients, who will be more likely to ask you to source candidates because of your expertise.


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