Finding the Best Talent In A Candidate Driven Market

Empty 03 September 2021

Employment patterns are cyclical and depend on many different factors. At the moment we’re in a candidate-driven market, with the advantage firmly in the candidate’s hands. We take a look at what this means, and how it affects your ability to attract the best talent for your organisation.

What is a candidate-driven market?

We’ve seen over ten years of growth in the UK, following the end of the recession in 2009. At the time, when unemployment stood at almost 9%, employers had the pick of talent in a highly-competitive market. However, with the fall-outs from both Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, the market has shifted dramatically. Now, with unemployment at a low of around 4.8%, it’s the candidates who are in the driving seat in terms of being able to demand attractive salaries, more flexible working patterns, career development plans and a better work-life balance. 

How then are employers expected to cope with these changes and what strategies can they use to ensure that, with the competition for the best talent at its fiercest, they both recruit and retain the ideal people for their vacancies?

Emphasise your Brand

An organisation’s ‘brand’ can simply be described as the perception which people, whether that’s customers, employees or stakeholders, have of it. In marketing terms it involves communication, attracting customers and maintaining loyalty, but it also encompasses attitudes towards HR and looks at what it has to offer potential and current employees.

The best brands evolve with time, and will change in response to prevailing attitudes. This change must be managed carefully to ensure that it’s the organisation itself which is steering the experience, rather than having it veer off in its own direction.

In an employment situation it’s your chance to ‘sell’ your company to a prospective employee, to raise excitement levels about working for you and to articulate what your company stands for. It’s not only an opportunity for you to demonstrate what a great company yours is to work for and differentiate yourself from other organisations, but it could also sway potential clients who may be encouraged by a positive company culture.

Salary PLUS benefits

In today’s competitive job market candidates are not only looking for a good salary, they also want to know what benefits or perks an employer is offering. These might include a company pension or private healthcare but increasingly employers are seeing a demand for such things as flexible working hours, generous holiday allowances, remote working opportunities, the potential to take a sabbatical, gym membership discounts or even ‘Bring Your Dog to Work’ days. 

Not every employer has the capability to offer candidates all that they desire, but with over half of all employees stating that they’re prioritising their work/life balance, it’s an issue which must be considered.


The rules and regulations around accountancy and finance change rapidly so it’s in your best interest that your staff are up-to-date with all the latest legislation. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a priority for candidates at the moment. It’s vital that you demonstrate that you are willing to train your new employees to enable them to grow into the role, and offer them structured training so they can perform to the very best of their abilities, and advance their careers.

Training not only increases efficiency but also improves employee retention so it’s important to discover a candidate’s ambitions for the future and do your best to facilitate those dreams.

Speed up the process

Research has shown that around 66% of candidates will wait no longer than two weeks to hear back from a potential employer before they move on to another prospect. If your hiring process is slow you will be missing out on the talent that you need.

Competition for the best candidates is fierce so move through the process with a sense of urgency. This not only lets the candidate, who may have several other interviews or even offers lined up, know that they are in demand but it projects an image of efficiency on your part, rather than that of a ponderous, bureaucracy-heavy workplace where vital decisions are not taken when they’re needed. You need to act fast after the final interview stage to ensure that the candidate waits no more than 24 hours for an offer to avoid being rejected or, more devastatingly, ghosted.

Work with specialists

Ultimately the best way of attracting the talent that your organisation needs to take it to the next level is to work with a specialist recruitment company. One that understands the market you work in, that has the contacts to bring you the best candidates, and that actually saves you time and money.

Specialist financial and accountancy agents have a range of resources at their fingertips and are able to reach far more candidates than a job board advertisement can. They can act as head-hunters, reaching out to candidates who may already be doing the job you need filling, and will be actively looking at alternative networking tools which will be far more effective than a simple job ad. 

They will also streamline the process for you, presenting you with a list of potential candidates, having already whittled it down from a long list to a short list, and will act as an intermediary to guarantee a long-term match.

If you’re unsure on how to find the best talent in a candidate-driven market, speak to WSH Recruitment.

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