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How has recruitment changed?

people sitting out interview room in suits


Recruitment in 2021 was not like recruitment of 2020. A lot has changed in how we engage with applicants, select and onboard because of the pandemic, as well as Brexit.  This hot topic will explore ways in which it has changed and how businesses can secure top candidates within a challenging recruitment market.

You can also watch our recent webinar on this topic On Demand.

What has changed?

Recruitment has changed significantly over the last year; not only have businesses dealt with the UK leaving the EU and the consequences of this when recruiting from outside of the UK, but business have also had to change working practices using IT, to attract and select the best talent during a pandemic. 

Current climate and beyond

The good news is that recruitment is back to pre-pandemic levels and there are record numbers of job vacancies.  However, despite this, there are a lack of job applicants and skill shortages within the market, making recruitment very challenging for businesses. 

This makes it even more vital to focus on employee retention in 2022 and to develop a recruitment strategy that focuses on your business becoming the employer of choice in your recruitment market.  As businesses continue to operate within a pandemic, it is expected that there will be a continuation of the use of IT in how businesses attract and select candidates.

Recruitment focus for 2022

Given the applicant shortage, going into 2022 will mean that businesses will need to stand out above others to attract candidates. reported in their October job market review that the market is still very much to the advantage of the candidate.  They report that salaries remain favourable but warn recruiters to focus on the candidate experience because relying on salary alone will not be enough to draw in the candidates.   They suggest that looking at benefits offered, the culture and the employer branding will all help a business to remain competitive and stand out.

Become an employer of choice

To stand out from the rest, a business should look to ask how they can become an ‘employer of choice’.  Whether this is to those who are currently in the recruitment market looking for new employment; or in general, raising the business’ profile in the local community so that when somebody is ready to find new employment, your business is the place they want to be.

Being an employer of choice is having the ability to attract and retain the best candidates because of the ability to offer a desirable company that is appealing in its culture, employee engagement and its leadership.  It is not a blanket approach, so becoming an employer of choice needs to take into consideration the nature of the business and the local community.

Businesses should be able to differentiate themselves to others and turn these differences into their advantage, for instance:

                    Promote your values and company culture

                    Advertise any forward-thinking policies that go above and beyond

                    Be transparent with salary and company benefits

                    Share how you provide career development support

                    List role responsibilities clearly

                    If you offer remote, flexible or hybrid working, include it in your adverts.

Candidate journey

We know that having an efficient, timely and responsive candidate journey provides an applicant with the best start to their career with an organisation.  For those who end up unsuccessful in their process, then at least experiencing a good candidate journey will make them keen in wanting to seek employment with the organisation at another time in the future and may increase your reputation amongst their professional peers through word of mouth.

An effective candidate journey includes:

                    Putting the candidate at the centre of the process

                    Clear communication at each stage, both verbal and written

                    Consider using automated responses to applications

                    Utilise template documents to make the process more efficient

                    Responding to all questions and enquiries promptly

                    If you know you can’t provide response to all applications due to anticipated volume, let them know this

                    Ensuring consistent employer branding is used throughout

                    Sending out company information or direct them to the company website so they can find out more about the organisation

                    Good hospitality and a welcoming, well-organised experience

                    Timebound your commitments and deliver to them

                    Follow up on promises

                    Begin onboarding before day 1


Businesses have relied heavily on technology throughout the pandemic, which for many employers has been a catalyst for becoming more tech-savvy, modernising and streamlining their recruitment; and we expect that this will continue going into 2022. 

For example, job interviews can now take place virtually, whether it is via Zoom or Microsoft Teams or any other platform. 

Here are our recommendations for ensuing the business gets the most out of a virtual interview process:

  • There should be no difference in how you conduct an interview when holding one virtually.  First impressions still count, the body language remains important to show active listening for example, and the questions must continue to be objectively based around the role’s job description.
  • Be mindful that challenges can come with the use of technology – both for the employer and applicant.  If an applicant is experiencing any technical issues, this should have no bearing on their ability to do the role they are applying for!
  • Prepare for the interview just as you would when holding it in person.
  • If the software allows, use waiting rooms and passwords for the applicant to access the virtual interview.
  • Give clear instructions to the applicants on how to access their interview and what type of virtual call to expect.
  • Run the interview in a private area, just as you would when held in person.

Right to work checks

We must not forget that the emergency measures brought in by the government in March 2020 for handling right to work checks during the pandemic, remain in place until April 2022.  Employers can therefore continue to carry out their checks online.  You can read our article for more information on this.

Focus on employee retention

Employees leaving a business, impacts negatively for many reasons:

  • Businesses can lose specialist/scarce skills, valuable business knowledge and experience
  • It increases recruitment spend
  • Can be unsettling on the wider team
  • Can lead to lower performance issues during the transition between one person leaving and their replacement starting and getting up to speed
  • Results in unplanned training costs 

Given the current climate, it is going to be important for businesses to focus on employee retention.  An employee retention strategy should consider the development of the business’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

An EVP is the unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities, and experiences they bring to the business.  The ability to accurately define your business’s EVP can enable you to retain the best talent, help the business to stand out from its competitors and entice people to want to join your business either now or in the future.

There are many elements to the EVP, including how the business compensates employees, the benefits that are offered, the career opportunities in terms of progression and development, the working environment and organisational culture.

Below is an example of how a business may begin to identify the elements of the EVP and the relevance of this to their employees.

Element – on offer by the business

What is in it for the employee



Salary satisfaction

Pay review systems

Recognition system and processes, e.g., bonus



·         Car allowance

·         Bonus

·         Insurance


Non financial

·         Time off

·         Holidays

·         Employee assistance programme

Career Development

Career development opportunities

Learning and development investment

Working Environment

Work life balance

Home / remote working



Organisational Culture


Team working

Corporate social responsibility


Understanding of organisational goals and objectives


Further HR Guidance

·         Webinar Recording: you can watch the HR Solutions webinar and download the webinar slides, at

·         HR Knowledge Base: as part of your PRCA membership you can get access to the HR Knowledge Base, which is the go-to resource for thousands of business owners and managers across the UK.  The HR Knowledge Base includes HR documents, templates, legal updates, news and hot topic articles as well as access to free webinars and HR seminars.  To find out more call 0844 324 5840 or visit