Make Hiring Work for You

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Reading UK
Bounceback Toolkit

Article contributed by Ben Morgan, Reading Council

10 Top Tips to make hiring work for you


In late 2018, Reading Council launch a new candidate first approach to hiring. This new approach has led to a five-fold increase in applicant numbers and a reduction in recruitment advertising spend of more than two thirds. Furthermore, the improvement in candidate quality has helped to half temporary agency spend - contributing to a happier, healthier, team-centric working environment we call Team Reading. Here are our ten top tips for hiring better candidates, for less, in 2021.

Reading Borough Council


1. Make jobs easy to find

Avoid jargon, and even change job titles that are advertised to make them more findable – both by search engines and the candidates themselves. Think about all the key words within each ad, and avoid buzzwords – if for example, you want to hire someone to work in your accounts team, then words like “payroll”, “VAT” and “cashflow” will all make your ad easier for people to find. 

2. Have a consistent format for ads

Not only does a consistent format make it easier for you to write new jobs ads, but it will ensure that your employer brand is portrayed in the same way each time. Keep ads brief and to the point, and explain who your organisation is, and what you stand for, in the same way each time.


3. Don’t be afraid to post jobs everywhere

Job ads can tell people a lot about your organisation – and specialists look on job boards, just like everyone else. By posting specialist jobs on generic job boards, you open yourself up to a wider pool of candidates, as well as demonstrating that you are an organisation with interesting or specialist roles – which will all lead to speculative applications, even if not for the role currently being advertised.


4. Don’t be afraid to haggle

Job boards and recruiters alike are all open to doing a deal – in fact they have probably set their prices high, expecting you to negotiate them down.


5. Use everyday language

We tend to revert to saying things like “You will be accountable for” in job ads, instead of simply saying “We’d love you to …” or “We will support you in ….”. A less formal tone of voice makes your ads feel more approachable as well as easier to scan.


6. Create a social media strategy for hiring

Mix job ads up with other content, and you will increase your organic following. Encourage your own team to like, share and repost job ads within their own network, and you will massively increase the reach off job posts, without paying for advertising. Reading Council have increased our reach on LinkedIn from 1,000 to 6,000 followers in just two years by taking exactly this type of sharing approach.


7. Be cheeky

Make your job posts fun and engaging – try to get some personality into them. Use video (can just be made on an iPhone and posted directly to LinkedIn) to highlight what you are looking for in a role.


8. Treat hiring like a first date

From a candidate’s perspective, the more drawn-out the process, the less engaged they will be. Remember that you will have more unsuccessful candidates than you will have successful ones – so treat them all well, and they will be inclined to join your social “tribe”, telling others about you. As well as showing the people that you DO want to hire, that you are professional and responsive, you also avoid potentially damaging posts on Glassdoor, or any other negative sentiment.


9. Tailor the interview experience

Treat bid writers differently from refuse loaders (that’s bin men and women, to you and me) – understand what are the core skills you need in a role, and test for those qualities. Ask writers to write a sample piece. Ask people interviewing for a more practical role to work together on a team exercise, or to undertake a physical challenge. I If you test the wrong skills, you’ll end up hiring the wrong person!


10. Data, data, data

Not everyone has an all singing, all dancing ATS, and the truth is you may not need one. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t track your hiring data, a simple spreadsheet can work wonders. As a minimum, track your applicant numbers, time to hire, fill rate and your costs. Keep an eye on your social channels. If something gets results do more of it,. And if not, use the data to inform changes.

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