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The Talent Show: Your cheat sheet to hiring in 2022

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Are you putting the people of your business first this year?

The property industry has significant growth plans upon the horizon; platforms like RightMove have reported their ‘busiest ever start to the year’ and HMRC’s numbers highlighted that December’s sales were 30% higher than October’s.

Each business will want to strategically capitalise on the market’s bounce-back and its shared knowledge that having the right people in your business will help you achieve your tactical end goal.

Our goal? To advise on the hiring market, how to retain talent and candidate behaviour.

Our team at deverellsmith spend their career talking to professionals within the property industry – from entry level to C-Suite – and we’re confident our market intelligence can help with key business decisions.

Every quarter, deverellsmith’s CEO (Andrew Deverell-Smith) and Managing Director (James Campion) will provide insight, uncover data and have some fun whilst doing it.

For the launch episode, the duo will respond ‘true or false’ to statements regarding six topics which we often get asked about: candidates, hiring process, interview process, salaries, leadership and Employer Value Proposition.

You can listen to the podcast online, on Spotify or Apple Podcast, or read the article below for a quick fix to learn more.


Section 1: Candidates

65% of recruiters have stated that labour/candidate shortages are their biggest concern for 2021 – true or false?


James Campion

“I imagine it's significantly more than that. But I don't think it's a concern. I think it's an opportunity.”

If you put it into context, it’s a candidate short environment so you want to make your business standout. There’s going to be lots of opportunities for any candidate in the market right now. In a normal market, good candidates already receive multiple offers so in a candidate short market the competition between employers really heats up.

I’ve always put things into two categories: authenticity and knowing what you as a business really want from your hire and how to reach them.

The authenticity part is even more relevant right now, not just because ‘fake news’ is now a common term, but the current news landscape damages a lot of trust amongst people.

I think people are getting very, very cynical now and that politicians all over the world are making people doubt.

What people read on a website or on a job spec has a big impact on a candidates first impression. If that doesn't stack up with their first impressions of a company, they tend to immediately have doubts. So, you've got to be authentic. Saying ‘we’re not great but we have plans to get better, here’s how’ is a far more honest way of approaching the situation than pretending your business is something it’s not.

The second part refers to refining your hiring process. Lots of people think they want really, high-quality, top, phenomenally capable people, so competition is high.

At deverellsmith, we’ve had to really refine who we’re looking for depending on market conditions. Each time was strategically decided, and we agreed at the beginning of the year who we wanted to hire.

This enabled us to clearly think about how we're going to reach out to our target audience, have consistent messaging and how can we engage them. I think the idea of putting a job ad up and hoping to get a response are gone, you've got to have multiple channels to market. Additionally, you've got to think about the experience that the candidate goes through when they interview with your business. You’re selling to them as much as they're selling to you. I think it's about viewing it from a slightly different paradigm.


Andrew Deverell-Smith

“I’ll be slightly controversial due to my experience of being active in the market right now, I’m finding that candidates do want to talk to you.”

The volume might not be what it has been previously - we know that there aren’t enough builders available to build these schemes and that’s probably due to Brexit - but my experience in the market today is that candidates will engage, and we've just been through a pretty big crisis.

In those types of scenarios, lots of candidates in jobs don't want to engage. I think if you're a hiring company or capable recruiter, then, like James said, these are quite exciting conditions to find yourself within.


Correct answer: True


Section 2: Hiring process

According to REC, 25% of people in the UK think that companies do a poor job recruiting efficiently – true or false?


Andrew Deverell-Smith

“I'm biased having spent my entire career really looking at trying to do this well, but I think, sadly, it tends not to sit on a company's priority list.”

We've really looked at bringing people into our own business and really apply the advice we deliver to clients, but I think most companies probably put hiring behind servicing their own clients and promoting themselves and their services into a market.

My advice?

It really depends on the mission and what you're looking to achieve. Who is it you're looking to attract? That really defines the process and the strategy to being effective and efficient. I don't think there's a one size fits all process that I can map out right now.

The recruitment process can tend to be inefficient, the time taken to hire in my experience is far too long and can have negative implications. By investing time upfront and planning the process, you can really map out all the stages that need to take place. I almost guarantee that if you complete that piece of work, you'll find a recruitment process takes a lot less time and there should be big upside in the organisation for that.


James Campion

I agree with Andrew, I don't think it's ever deliberate neglect that means companies are bad at hiring. As Andrew said, it's prioritisation and many businesses simply don't prioritise the attraction and equally the retention of people into the business. The most important asset is its people and it's rarely at the top of their to do list.

So how do you get more people productive quickly?

It’s really hard and I don’t think there’s one solution to that. First of all, you've got to make sure that you've had a really thorough hiring process, so you know exactly what you're getting and they know exactly what they're walking into.

I've seen people walk out week one, day one, morning one because what they were sold doesn't represent the reality. Both sides have got to be clear as to what you're getting.

Early on, make sure people understand what's expected of them and what good looks like, what support they're going to get to help deliver that and then consistently deliver it because if there's a war on talent at the moment, there's a bigger war on retention.

There's lots and lots of soundbites about the ‘great resignation’ which basically means that lots of businesses aren't treating their staff particularly well. Treat them well, and it leads to even more opportunities.


Correct answer: False (52%)


Section 3: Interview process

97% of recruiters reported to the REC that vacancies are taking longer to fill than normal – true or false?


James Campion

I think that's where one of the significant issues is occurring within hiring right now. The process should take a similar amount of time because you should be shortening the interview process to compensate for a longer search process. The average number of opportunities that any candidate has on the go - especially highly skilled candidates - is typically four to five. Assuming that a candidate joins the hiring process midway through their search, you've got competing employers automatically ahead of you and in a better position to make an offer. Be prepared to speed up your internal moves so that you're leaving people with enough information to make a decision.


Are there any additional candidate demands which have been newly introduced following the pandemic and Brexit?


Andrew Deverell-Smith

I think it's still quite early days. I'll forecast though and say that, yeah, I think there will be big differences. I cannot see most employees in a business, going back to the old ways of working entirely. I think flexible mindsets will be much more of a thing. And I think candidates will be exploring that much more meaningfully than they ever did before COVID.


Correct answer: True


Section 4: Salaries

According to ONS, growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 4.9% between August to October 2021 - true or false?


James Campion

It’s basic economics; supply and demand. They’re fewer good people around so they’re able to request higher salaries, however I think there is an element of caution to note. Some of the requests are not necessarily in line with skills and wider market value.

There are some candidates out there with very, very big demand at the bank and in some cases, justifiably so. Equally in others, candidates are just testing to see how far they can push. And I think there's just an element of caution that needs to be taken.

I’d suggest getting your numbers checked before paying out above market rate.

Andrew Deverell-Smith

You need to be really effective when you go to market, launching a search with the wrong offer will lead to disengagement and ultimately affect your brand proposition.

We have a team at deverellsmith that specialises in crunching these numbers, getting real time data which can support your business make the right decision in terms of salaries.


Correct answer: True


Section 5: Training

A)   According to the government 2019 Employer Skills Survey, the average number of days an employee receives in training is 6.4– true or false?


B)   A study conducted by deverellsmith highlights that 43% of managers rated their training as poor or non-existent, with none rating it outstanding – true or false?


James Campion

It's back to retention, there is a multitude of reasons why people leave jobs now and it’s not just down to salary. We find that most people leave for skills development, training included. So, when retention of staff is the single biggest impact on the bottom line of any business, it’s madness not to invest significantly into it.

I've always been a big believer that the more you invest in your staff, when it comes to learning, development, coaching; the more you get back. In the current environment, you want people to feel like they are moving forward in their career. You want people to feel like they are adding new skills to their portfolio, irrespective of performance; that will keep people engaged, positive and happy far longer.

In line with the change in the dynamics of the workforce is if you look at skills development, there's an obvious commercial benefit to that because people do their job better, they become more efficient, they deliver better performance, etc. But I think that's only half of what development should be. One of the things that we're looking at this year, is tailored personal development driven by the employee.

When you look back at your career, you're rarely going to remember how somebody told you to manage an account better or be better at business development but if somebody teaches you how to have more confidence on how to deliver a speech for example, that'll stay with you for quite a while,


Andrew Deverell-Smith

I think some of the best events we've held have been training related, whether it's annual offsites, bringing in sports coaches, authors, and speakers to share their knowledge and experience with the company.

It doesn’t have to be the boring stuff around how you do your job that little bit better. I think the bigger picture stuff has been some of the most engaging and interesting, and I think they're great team building opportunities.


Correct answers:

A) True

B) True


Section 6: Leadership

Based on a survey of 1,000 people conducted by TotalJobs, 30% of UK workers leave a job because of a line manager - true or false?


James Campion

As the saying goes, people don't leave a business they leave a boss. I think that's a phrase that's been around for a long time for a reason. I've got first-hand experience of that, you want to feel like you're valued, and the work that you do is valued. And if people aren't feeling that in any way, shape or form, then you're going to vote with your feet.


Andrew Deverell-Smith

I'm not sure it's a boss, as much as you said, the question is the manager. I think it's quite an interesting debate because you become a manager by firstly, not being a manager.

I've seen this more times than I care to mention, a really, really, really good operator gets put in a management role and fails which is quite normal. Which circles back to our conversation around training, how much do organisations invest in how to how to build and retain trust? I don't see that happening very often, if at all, it's just assumed that the person stepping up should be able to do the job.


Correct answer: False (It’s 50%)

Listen to the full podcast at the top of this page, on Spotify or Apple Podcast.