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Running a Successful Recruitment Campaign

With the current COVID-19 Pandemic and the general uncertainty that business’ face, recruitment will for many, be on hold.  Equally, employees will continue to stay with their organisations where perhaps ordinarily, they may have explored external opportunities with other organisations.

When the job market resumes, business’ will be fighting to secure the best candidate and candidates will want to seek out the best employers.  So now is the perfect time to review your organisation’s  recruitment practices so that when the time comes, you can not only compete for the best candidate but be in position to offer a candidate experience that will entice people to come and work for you.

Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

Before considering the finer detail of a recruitment process it is worth considering what your organisation’s Employee Value Proposition is (EVP).  An EVP is the unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities and experiences they bring to the organisation.  The ability to accurately define your own organisations’ EVP can enable you to effectively attract the best talent but also help you to retain the best.

Recruitment is just one important aspect of EVP.  An effective recruitment process that clearly aligns to the organisation’s vision and values will help the company to stand out from its competitors.  By communicating your organisation’s EVP throughout the recruitment process means you seek out the best candidates and talent.

EVP is a selling point and when there is a competitive labour market you want to do as much as you can to stand out.   Here are just some ways in which you can translate your EVP through your recruitment processes to get the best:

  • Telling your full employer brand story – your origins, vision, goals. This could be perhaps in any marketing materials you publish to applicants, or information contained on your webpage, or you share your story during the selection process
  • Understand why your organisation is unique and then share this
  • Showcase why your organisation is a great place to work such as through your website and social media
  • Showing your work by giving candidates a real view of how creative, interesting, or meaningful your work is, as this can resonate with the right candidate
  • Have a salary and rewards package that is competitive.

Defining the role

Before starting any recruitment campaign, it is also important to review and update the job description and person specification to ensure it remains fit for purpose.  If the role is a new post be sure to create a job description and person specification.

The job description is an important tool not just for recruitment, but for the employment relationship moving forward.  It provides a useful picture of the job for the potential employee helping them to understand what is required but also, once employed it is key tool for a line manager to assess performance against. 

The person specification defines the skills, experiences and attributes needed to do the job allowing you to define what is essential and what is desirable.  Ensure that your requirements are not unlawfully discriminatory.

Finally, before going to market, consider whether the role can support a more flexible approach to working, as this can open the labour market increasing your ability to access talent.

Writing the job advert

When recruiting, your job advert is your first chance to attract talented individuals to your roles.  This is the first impression that candidates will get of your organisation.  Spending time and effort on your advert can be extremely beneficial saving you time and money in the long run.  Getting it wrong could end up with irrelevant applicants, or worse still, none!

It is important to follow a basic structure so that you have a clear layout and include only the most relevant information.  You should include:

  • Job title
  • Salary
  • Location
  • Introduction to your business
  • Role and Responsibilities
  • Key requirements (qualifications and skills).

To ensure an aligned recruitment process and securing the best talent for your vacancy, the job advert should be drawn up using the job description and person specification.

Attracting candidates

In order to have access to a more diverse and broader pool of candidates, it is important to consider using several different methods of attraction.  There are many ways to attract candidates including:

  • The Internet – add a page to your website so you can attract candidates directly
  • Job Centre Plus – there are no fees attached to this and so can be effective
  • Internal advert – encourage personal development within your own workforce
  • Adverts in local, national press or a professional body association
  • In line with GDPR rules, a file of previous applicants
  • Connect with local schools and colleges
  • Social media.

With social media now being a large part of people’s lives both for social and career purposes, it means that the use of it can vastly increase the pool from which you recruit, as well as making the recruitment process more efficient.  For those industries that experience fast paced markets this will be particularly beneficial.

Candidate Engagement

If we treat others as how we would like to be treated, then we cannot go far wrong.  This is important throughout the employment life cycle, but especially so during recruitment.  After all, if your candidates are treated properly and with the utmost respect, this can really influence their decision if they have multiple job offers on the table.  Remember small things such as:

  • Every candidate deserves to know what has happened to their job application
  • It is important to be prompt in your communications with your candidates
  • Candidates expect courteous and professional communications
  • Provide constructive feedback for those unsuccessful at the final stages

Your communications can tell the candidate a lot about your organisation and its culture.   Not only is the candidate selling themselves to get the job, but the organisation is selling and promoting itself to secure the best talent, which is important when recruiting in a competitive market.

Additionally, how you communicate at this stage will also help with the successful candidate transitioning into the new workplace, making their start that little bit easier.

How do you select?

Recruitment is costly; you want to get it right.  Not only are there the costs associated to the recruitment process itself, but there are costs associated to the onboarding and training of your new employee.

Competency Based Interviews

Interviews remain the most common way for organisations to recruit.  Competency interviews continue to be the most popular technique used.

The theory behind a competency-based interview is “how a person has behaved in the past is a good prediction for how they will behave in the future”.  The interview requires evidence-based answers where the candidate talks through how they tackled something in the past and demonstrated their skills.

Competency based interviews provide a more structured process and present a more professional image of the company.  They enable managers to focus much more on the precision of the job requirements and necessary skills and behaviour.  Requiring the candidate to provide specific examples can give the recruiter evidence that the applicant meets the competencies for the role.  Here are some examples:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to meet an urgent deadline.
  • When was the last time you had to integrate into a new team? How did you go about it?
  • Talk me through a project which you have manged; what did you do to ensure its success?

Assessment Day

Assessment days are useful for when you want to see candidates demonstrate their skills.  You could ask them to give a presentation, set a typing test, assess a complex scenario, or interpret data.    Developing the assessment day should be around the job description so you can assess similar tasks to what they would complete in the role, if successful.

Psychometric Testing

It is believed that standardised tests or tests of cognitive ability can be good predictors of job performance, especially for those roles that require complex thinking.  The tests allow employers to systematically assess individual differences, such as ability, aptitude or personality and very often are administered online.

The recruiter administering and analysing the tests would need to be trained and certified to practice but can be costly to introduce and run.

Line Manager Training

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against job applicants (and existing workers) because of a protected characteristic, which are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity.

It is therefore important that those in your organisation who are involved in the recruitment process are trained not only on your processes, but on the requirements of the Equality Act.

Applicants can claim to an Employment Tribunal if they feel they have been discriminated against during the recruitment process, for which awards are uncapped.

The job offer

From a candidate experience perspective, it is important to consider how you communicate to both the successful and unsuccessful.

For the successful candidate, it goes without saying that an offer over the telephone is the most appropriate to deliver the good news.  It then gives you the opportunity to talk through the terms of the offer.

If you have applicants who have clearly not been successful, then they can be rejected.  However, if you have some applicants that you would like to put on hold whilst you wait to hear whether those being offered are accepting, ensure you call those whom you are offering first.  If your first-choice candidates reject the offer you can then offer another candidate without that person feeling like second best.

Once the successful candidate has verbally accepted, you would then send out to them a written offer and contract of employment.  In line with the Good Work Plan 2020; a new requirement was enforced to ensure all new employees have their contract from day 1 of employment.

Another consideration for those unsuccessful, whilst they may not have been successful this time round, they may have potential for the future, either in a similar role or elsewhere in your organisation,  and so you may want to keep them interested in the organisation. You could seek their written consent to holding on to their CV should any suitable positions come up in the future.

Pre-Employment Checks

Most employer’s undertake background checks for meet regulatory compliance, improve the quality of the candidates, ensure safety and security, or improve the quality of the candidates.

To ensure you recruit the best talent and most suitable candidate we would recommend incorporating pre employment checks.  Not only to ensure legal compliance (right to work in the UK for instance), but you improve the quality of candidates, as they are less likely to lie or make fraudulent claims, it shows you as being a diligent employer raising your reputation and protects the organisation from being vicariously liable for actions of employees.

Checks can include:

  • Using application forms rather than only relying on CVs
  • Checking the right to work in the UK
  • References
  • Driving licences
  • Checks of other qualifications
  • Pre employment health checks
  • Night worker assessments
  • Young worker assessments
  • Alcohol and drug testing
  • Hearing assessments
  • Criminal record checks
  • Additional checks for those who work with children and vulnerable adults
  • Credit reference checks and identity checks.

The last stage of the recruitment process is the onboarding.  As part of the candidate experience, taking time to think about how you are to integrate them into the workplace and welcome them is important.

Recruitment is a huge investment both in terms of time and cost, so you want your new starter to be successful and you want to retain them.  Managing the probation period is then the next phase of the onboarding process.

Further HR Guidance

For advice or support with your next recruitment campaign, contact HR Solutions on 0844 324 5840. Find out about our Fixed Fee Recruitment service by visiting




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