Hiring – things to think about in 2018


1 word that defines my world – bit like Baking is to bakers, and Butcher is to butchers. This is my trade.

Weirdly never thought I’d be a recruiter – actually was an Aircraft engineer –  went to uni, then found myself looking for a job after, trying to find a job in the aerospace industry. Fell into Recruitment, and here I am – 12 years on, working with some of the best companies in the engineering marketing place.

Engineering recruitment is a funny game. 2 things you need to understand about it.

  1. There is a boat load of jobs in the industry at various levels, in various places…
  2. However – nearly 2/3rd of the jobs won’t get filled in the first 3-6 months – because the number of candidates that are out there, is very low.

Which makes it a candidate driven market place.

What is a candidate driven market place, I hear you say? Well, remember the recession (shudder) – when suddenly, there were a lot of people on the market place, and you had the pickings of the best.

Well – think the opposite.

Which means – candidates are equally as picky, of who they work for. It can be worse, the ones that have skills you need, and they know it – are seeking something different.

So, what does that mean?

Something serious. Especially in 2018.

We can’t look at the recruitment process in 2018 the same we did, as in 2017 and previous. Recruitment has, and is evolving beyond the standard approach of what we are currently doing.

  • Some jobs, will win applications from a job advert, but most wont.
  • Some jobs, will gain referrals from your staff, but most wont.
  • Some jobs, a quick message on social media might gain some interest – but most wont.

The most jobs that won’t – tend to be the jobs that really need a skill set. Normally one in high demand.

I remember meeting with a client around November 2016 and saying to them, that the role they are seeking is niche. They’d been looking for about 2 years. And they said, “why do you keep calling it niche?” – Well, I said to them, its niche, because the number of specifics they were looking for, coupled with the location, competitors or similar companies that hire this type of person and also demand from the competitors. Then there is the salary – and is it the right level for that market place (turned out not to be, it was about 10k too low).

Lastly – what is on offer, the company, the way the company works, culture and all the other things that make a candidate say yes to take a job with them.

February 2017 – the role was filled by me, it took that long to find the very specific person they needed. It was so specific, so niche, that it took time, effort and energy to find this person.

What did they learn from my approach?

  1. If you advertise jobs. Get better at writing Job adverts. Steer away from posting job specifications as adverts. Give the applicant the reason why to apply. But also – it is better to receive 1 brilliant application – than 20 not so good. Measure your adverts by quality – not quantity.


  1. Keep it simple. 2 interviews are probably enough these days, with a response of 24 hours or sooner. Remember most good candidates have 2-3 interviews on the go at any one time.


  1. Social media isn’t your solution. Social media takes a lot of time, and development of your business “brand” – you need a lot of content, a lot of communication with your core audience. And what a lot of people don’t realise now, is that social media actually costs money, the more you pay the greater the return, with no guarantees.


  1. Recruitment is commitment. You got to see it as important as your main business – especially the hard to find roles. Be prepared for it to take up to a month for some roles to find 1 person. And if there are good, don’t wait for 5 more to turn up. Interview what is there, and as long as they meet the standard, offer them, you can’t afford to shop about.


  1. Offer reality, not what you believe is worth. Reality is, most jobs offered, are turned down because of salary. Salary in the past few years, has been the biggest issue for candidates. According to sources like Reed, or Total jobs, candidates move because of stagnant wages and better progression. Most won’t move for the same, but a little more. But the skilled ones, in the niche roles, salary isn’t something you pay the employee – those guys, your buying experience. Check out online salary surveys – or ask your recruiter, there experience.


  1. Recruitment agencies – I try not to make my blogs a thinly vailed sales blog – to promote my business. I genuinely hope most companies/hiring managers, can walk away with my advice and use it, and get results.


Using a recruitment agency will help. Don’t be scared to use them. Make sure, you cover the basics with them – which are…

  • Know what you want, job titles aren’t enough, walk the recruiter through the role, where it sits in the company, how it works, and what you want them to achieve for the business – and for your personal reasons too. Focus on what you need, not what you want.
  • Make sure you discuss the agency rates at the start, and read the terms of business. Look, I understand that business is tough, and we got to budget. What your buying is expert advice, that will bring your relevance, saving you time and energy.
  • Work closely, work with one agency per vacancy. More agencies reduce the quality of candidate – and with GDPR coming soon, a whole load of paper work for you to deal with (GDPR Thoughts blog to follow soon).
  • If the role is contingency/retirement/new opening – get the agency in now, to get a head start. Sooner the better.
  • And my top tip if you use an agency – Use them like a part of your staff, bring them into your hiring thoughts, expansion plans and recruitment needs, as a true consultant. An agency can be a lot more than just one use, for one role.


I hope these thoughts help you in 2018. And beyond. There is more information to follow on 2018 and the future of recruitment.