In a difficult market, how do we attract candidates?
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In a difficult market, how do we attract candidates?

In a difficult market, how do we attract candidates?

Posted on 27th November 2018

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It is well known that the tech sector is facing serious skill shortages - so much so that if I had a tenner for every time I’ve said this I’d be a rich man.  Sadly, that’s not the way the world works, so instead, like all recruiters, my colleagues and I have to search far and wide to find the talent our clients demand.

inch wide, mile deepFirst and foremost, it’s important to start with experienced resourcers and recruiters who know the market and how best to search not just the key channels but also the nooks and crannies where the best (often passive) candidates lurk. Often, it’s a question of trawling “an inch wide and a mile deep.” 

Job-boards, although declining in importance as a source of killer candidates, are still important.  In 2018, 19% of the traffic to the Be-IT website came from job-boards, the same percentage as from social media, and of that job-board traffic the biggest percentage (10%) came from Totaljobs, while Indeed and S1jobs accounted for 4% each. In reality, we feel that although the job-boards do generate candidates and applications, much of our work there is for PR purposes, ensuring the Be-IT name is prominent. The same, of course, applies to Google for Jobs, and it will be interesting (and vital) to see how that develops vis-à-vis the job-boards over the next few years. 

Although media account for a significant portion of our web visitors, the most important channels are actually organic (Google) and direct traffic, both of which individually account for c. 28% of the total. In other words, roughly 40% of our traffic comes from media, whether social or job-boards, and roughly 60% comes via people finding us on Google or keying “” into their browser. 

Having said that, our media traffic has actually remained virtually constant in absolute terms but declined in relative – i.e. percentage of total – terms, while organic and direct traffic have grown substantially, thus demonstrating that the hard work put in by our marketing team and SEO advisers over the last few years has really paid off.  

Clearly, this increase in website traffic helps us: more candidates are registering on the site for jobs and we can contact them to offer one or more of the many vacancies we have on our books.  In fact, our own database is now our No 1 source of candidates, followed closely by our networking, either via LinkedIn or other CV databases and/or by the events, conferences and the general pressing of the flesh that is such a vital part of a recruiter’s life.

Referrals too are growing. To adapt a well-known phrase, “the more people we speak to, the luckier we get.”  The more networking we do, as for example at Digit Expo recently, the more people get in touch for a chat.  It’s not unknown for us to speak to an in-house recruiter only to be told, “actually, I’m looking for a move myself, if you can help…?”

It’s a constantly moving battle, requiring flexibility, perseverance and, above all, regular acquisition of technical knowledge to build up experience and what used to be called “interpersonal skills,” aka “getting on with people.”  Ultimately, this means that because recruitment is about people, it’s those who don’t just have experience and expertise, but can also empathise and demonstrate their knowledge who succeed. 

Michael Phair, Be-IT


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