Recruiters in public sector organisations can attract more right-fit applicants by leveraging dynamic and engaging digital marketing tactics.
With the Baby Boomer generation quickly ageing out of the workforce, the UK economy is now facing a widely publicised skills gap, and it’s not just private industry that’s being affected. Public sector organisations, from schools to central government ministries, are struggling to find candidates with the proper attitude and qualifications to fill a growing number of open positions.
Take the NHS as an example — according to NHS vacancy statistics, nearly 75% of applications received for advertised NHS openings are from wrong-fit candidates. Thanks to this scarcity of qualified applicants, only one in four NHS trust leaders firmly believe they are sufficiently staffed, and just one in five are confident their staff will be large enough to deliver quality care in six months.
Public sector employers must adopt a different perspective when it comes to attracting right-fit applicants. Rather than lean on stopgap solutions like using temporary workers to fill permanent positions (a particularly persistent problem in the public sector), they must engage the right-fit candidates out there ready to take open positions in civil service, the NHS, education and local and central government. The goal of public sector recruiters should be to increase the quality of their candidates by leveraging digital technology to properly engage job-seekers.
Adjust Your Strategy for the Digital Age
As vacancies increase across the economy, each organisation will have to compete with a bevy of other employers in both the public and private sectors. Luckily, the public sector has a few natural advantages when it comes to grabbing candidates’ interest — for example, candidates with an eye on the future may be interested to know that public sector pensions in the UK provide an income five times larger than those in the private sector.
But this should hardly be a major focus of your recruitment campaign, especially when trying to attract candidates so far from retirement age. Perks like salary and benefits should take a backseat in your pitch to candidates — instead, organisations should be identifying the kind of personal qualities that work in public services can cultivate and reward, such as attention to detail and a desire to help others. After all, good employer branding isn’t about attracting as many applicants as possible, but rather, as many right-fit applicants as possible.
Once recruiters have established what makes their organisation so great to work for, they should focus on developing content that effectively showcases that employer value proposition. Many organisations have seen excellent results from the use of employee testimonials, realistic job previews and other employer branding initiatives that help to communicate the expectations surrounding a vacant position in a clear and authentic way.
Moreover, leveraging dynamic and engaging media types, such as video or interactive content, plays to emerging consumer preferences and increases the likelihood that your message will resonate with the right candidates. This recruitment video from the Civil Service does a great job of showcasing its wide array of opportunities for young graduates, its core values and the experiences of current employees throughout the UK.
At the end of day, the public sector needs to recruit a new generation of driven, passionate civil servants — but in order to identify those individuals, it needs to start speaking their language. That means recruiters need to keep up with evolving candidate preferences and adapt their talent attraction practices accordingly.