What Candidates Want from Employers

The UK job market is now flourishing, after an initial slump at the start of the pandemic. Recruiters faced many challenges in 2020 but we saw a renewed energy in 2021 and the start of 2022. The likes of Brexit trade deals being finalised and the successful vaccine rollout were cause for increased positivity. Meaning that we now have a competitive job market with the best candidates having the pick of the jobs. So clients really need to sell themselves in order to attract the very best.

Knowing what your candidates are looking for in a job will help to secure the right person. Businesses need to be thinking about why a candidate would want to work for them in that job, with that boss.

What motivates a candidate?

Of course salary is important. If you are in the position to offer a competitive, regularly-reviewed salary package, this will help attract top talent. But where that isn’t possible, think what else you can offer.

Job security is equally key – as you would expect after the year we’ve had. Therefore it’s essential that you are prepared to answer candidate questions about personal development and career progression. What skills can they learn on the job? Do you offer extra training or exams? This will ensure candidates are reassured about their future prospects, which in turn will increase productivity.

Flexibility has become a buzz word. People have learnt that their jobs can work around their personal lives. That said, being stuck in front of a screen 24/7 has lost its sheen. Employees are keen to get back into the office, although they still want a balance. Be open to having conversations about how you can make this work for the job and the candidate.

In our industry we know that Executive Assistants, Office Managers etc. play an important part by being in an actual office. They are an ambassador for their boss, particularly when the boss needs to be somewhere else. This is especially important for junior roles, who will learn from being around others. However there are elements of the jobs that can be done from home, report writing and presentations for example. Be open and transparent with your candidates. This will gain their respect.

If your candidates are working from home think about what you can offer them in the way of equipment. Is there the provision of ergonomic workplace equipment, work laptop or phone?

How to set your company apart from others

Benefits, number of holiday days and the hours people work matters. Top candidates can also be attracted by perks such as the Bike to Work scheme, birthdays treats, gym membership and health care. Company events are also a big coup – can you offer a candidate skiing trips, a weekend in Paris or a fabulous Christmas party? We aren’t in lockdown anymore and can look to the future when it comes to events. Not forgetting the traditional incentive of a bonus scheme.

Looking at the bigger picture. How you are cultivating company culture? After a year of solitude, businesses need to bring their employees together. Think team sports, charity initiatives, regular group lunches, team building days.

But it’s not all about the frivolous. Social responsibility is a huge priority. Companies that show they are caring are the ones everyone wants to work for. This can manifest in a number of different ways, from charity work to having a solid mental health policy in place. Health and well-being is of huge importance and cannot be ignored. Similarly top companies must be serious about diversity and inclusivity. There are many ways to embrace this from investing in a mentoring programme to actively hiring people from minority groups.

Finally, candidates will be looking for an efficient hiring process. Think about the interview process – they don’t want to be asked the same questions over and over again. Respond to emails quickly and have a proper hiring strategy in place. Don’t let holidays or other events get in the way of missing out on the right candidate.

It is all about the right fit at the end of the day. But thinking seriously about what you can offer a candidate will pay off. You will attract better staff, see increased productivity, motivation and ultimately loyalty. Change is expensive.

If you’re looking to hire a Personal Assistant, Executive Assistant, Private PA, Virtual Assistant or other Office Staff candidates please contact one of our recruitment consultants on 020 7468 0400 or email us

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