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Why now is the time to start planning your growth in Sales and Marketing

  • February 4, 2021

The 2020 job market was undeniably challenging with high levels of unemployment and a seismic shift to homeworking and virtual offices for many industries. And, whilst there is still much uncertainty as we look ahead – particularly amongst those industries hardest hit by the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, a number of areas are gaining momentum once again with the proactive hiring of Sales and Marketing roles across multiple sectors in response to changing consumer behaviour and business needs.

According to the latest Bellwether Report from The IPA on marketing spend intentions and financial confidence, marketing budgets are still in negative territory as businesses continue to ride out the impacts of COVID as well as uncertainly in many sectors brought about by Brexit. However, there are signs of ‘green shoots ahead’ as 2021 picks up pace and companies recognise the importance of planning now and taking back market share through sales and marketing strategies.

In a special edition of their Emerging Jobs Report, LinkedIn reported on the roles experiencing the highest growth between April to October 2020, with a high % under the widely-cast net of Sales and Marketing including Digital Content Freelancers, Social Media and Digital Marketing specialists as well as other creative roles including screenwriters, illustrators and writers. And, whilst particular specialisms (and budgets) such as those in Event Management and PR are still in a state of flux, businesses with a back-to-basics acknowledgement that Sales and Marketing investment is key to long-term business success will surely reap the benefits as the economy, and society, start to recover.

Nevertheless, company budgets more generally will continue to be closely reviewed and justified, including those attributed to the recruitment of talent. Savvy business owners have long realised the value that they get from relationships and partnerships with Recruitment Agencies in attracting top-tier candidates, and even in tempestuous markets like these, nurturing those collaborations to drive business growth is demonstrably advantageous.

Admittedly, whilst it is our job to shout from the rooftops why businesses should use the services of a Recruitment Consultant to give them tangible competitive advantage, now more than ever, those who are tapping into sector expertise of agencies are reaping the benefits and bringing on board Sales and Marketing professionals that are highly skilled and actively looking for work.

Market Overview

Recruitment Consultants have a vested interest in understanding the sector in which you’re looking to recruit and because of the trusted position that they have with Candidates – both active and on a long-term basis, they will undoubtedly be able to offer you strategic insight around movement and activity they are experiencing in the market. Good agencies will have an in-depth knowledge of Marketing specialists that are in demand and a Consultant will be able to offer you impartial and professional guidance on the things like salary benchmarking and market mapping as part of a truly consultative relationship that ensures you are fully armed and aware of your options.

Time better invested

We know from talking to our Business Owners and professionals in Human Resources that homeworking, whilst necessary over the last year (and of value to many), has resulted in unintentional overtime as the office-commute is depleted and the lines between family and work life are increasingly blurred. Hours worked are increasing, and businesses are perhaps not only cash-poor, but time-poor too.

HR departments are often stretched with many other business priorities, and senior management are unlikely to find the time to dedicate to sifting through hundreds of CVs, shortlisting, interviewing and offer-negotiation. According to job board CV-Library, entry level vacancies attracted many thousands of applications back in August 2020 – a sign of the jobs market and associated redundancies no doubt, and whilst more niche roles may mean this volume is whittled down a little, it is certainly a big ask and expectation that a company undertakes this level of focus on top of the ‘day job’.

Even with the world of technology, multiple job boards and social media channels at your fingertips there is no doubt that a good Recruitment Consultant will want to take time to understand your business and hiring strategy inside out; your growth plans, your objectives for bringing other Sales and Marketing professionals in, and your ‘Employee Value Proposition’ that sets you apart as an employer – but this should be an investment that will pay dividends in better representing you in the market. Agencies that keep you updated on progress, whatever the outcome, are worth their weight in gold and should allow you to have confidence that they will search the market for Candidates that are a best fit on all fronts- freeing up time for you to focus on preparing for interviews and the sharper end of the process that will hopefully lead to an offer.

Access to the inside track

In certain specialisms, the active pool of candidates has increased, yet in others, particularly those within Digital Marketing, talent shortages are still abound. Knowing what is ‘out there’ in real terms can often be overwhelming and unclear. A Recruitment Consultant will not only help to cut through the noise but will also be able to furnish you with the finer detail of Candidates on the market as well as general mobility of those looking for career progression.

In addition, many Recruitment Agencies will represent Sales & Marketing professionals on an exclusive basis meaning that in turn, you will have access to top-drawer individuals often before they are seen as ‘active’ jobseekers; giving you a head start on your own competition. The passive market is truly untapped potential, and Recruitment Agencies will already be strategically communicating with these candidates that you will not find applying to your roles or visiting your website.


It does seem counter-intuitive to focus on the savings a Recruitment Agency can offer a business, as the service itself does come with a cost. However, businesses should look instead at the overall value that they get from outsourcing this activity. Costs associated with advertising roles, tech to aid matching and candidate screening can be significant although the impact on not filling the role in a timely manner may be more damaging to the business than such outlays. Many agencies earn their fee only when the successful candidate starts their position and passes their probation period ensuring that agencies are always driven by a targeted approach that demonstrates a deep understanding of your requirements and matches those with only the most relevant individuals. Conversely, the cost of a bad hire (and associated expenditure on training and onboarding) can also be hugely damaging to businesses – so getting it right first time is the goal for all parties,

The human touch

A professional Recruitment Agency should, in this day in age, have a world-class ‘tech stack’ that tangibly benefits their Clients and their search for skilled professionals. Whether that is through systems that produces better matches between roles and candidate profiles or enhances candidate screening with tools like psychometric testing. Technology undoubtedly can aid the recruitment cycle and chance of success of a good fit for your business.

That being said, overwhelmingly where Recruitment Consultants excel is the personal touch that you get from speaking candidly, confidentially and openly with another person. Adding to headcount can be draining – financially and through time spent searching the market with sometimes no experience of that industry, and whilst they may have their part to play, automatic watchdogs and the like alerting you to new candidates pinging into your inbox just won’t offer the emotional support and empathy that you get from Consultants who are fully emersed and experienced in the recruitment cycle and all its nuances.

Salesperson, Negotiator, Arbitrator.

Recruitment Consultants are unashamedly sales-trained and commercially minded, and when you take those skills and couple them with a deep-rooted understanding of their clients, the result is professional representation from someone who knows how to ‘sell’ your business– your culture, working environment, mission and values – and leverage those elements with the non-negotiables of the candidates. This is crucial in a competitive market and smaller more specialised pools of jobseekers.

Moreover, once an offer is on the table, your Consultant will act as negotiator (sometimes arbitrator) with the candidate in order to not only cover off some of the basics like remuneration and package, but set expectations around notice periods, start dates and the finer details of the contract. All without you having to have any forced or awkward conversations at the early stage in your relationship.

Service-led support throughout relationship

Support for Clients should not end once an offer has been accepted either. Many agencies will proactively offer guidance if required around the lead up to start date for your new hire, how to combat counteroffers, and keep lines of communication open between all parties.

Whilst the world is still arguably in a state of flux in many ways across the economical spectrum, we are seeing real confidence once again in a number of Sales and Marketing roles with firms that are committed to their growth strategies and bringing in talent that supports their vision. As demand outstrips supply in several practice areas including Digital Marketing, businesses who are now thinking beyond notice periods will find that now is a good time to strike and take action.

If you would like to speak to us confidentially about market conditions, candidate mobility within your sector or geographical region, or if you are actively looking for talent now and would like us to help navigate the market, we would love to chat. Contact us or call the office on 01772 259121 for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can help your hiring strategy.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.
With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, and Engineering appointments, on a permanent basis.

If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121.

If you would like to access our free guides, view them all here.

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How to Recruit the Right Talent When You No Longer Have A Recruitment Department

  • November 4, 2020

Recruitment should be in every strategic business plan. Recruitment is a necessity in business, yet in times of crisis, some short-sighted organisations start to disband their HR department to cut costs – leaving the company in a precarious position.

Aside from the fact that cutting your HR department will make growth and expansion more challenging – there are also unexpected vacancies to think about. What often happens is that the recruitment process is left to someone who is either unqualified or who lacks time – not an ideal scenario. Today we look at how businesses can approach recruiting when their HR departments have been severely affected by Covid.

Get Your Job Adverts Working Harder

Think of your job advert as an extension of your company brand – it should act as a beacon not just to attract the best candidates to you, but to ensure that the candidates you are attracting are ‘right’ for your business.

Businesses recruiting with an HR department can be tempted to hire the first person who applies who is qualified. And this is understandable.

But you must consider the implications of hiring someone who is not right for your company culture – and this can happen when hiring is done in a rush.

So spend some time crafting your job advert to signal to applicants if they will really be a good ‘fit’ for your organisation.

Some tips include –

  • Skip the buzzwords – say what you really
  • Be as detailed as possible, but keep it succinct
  • Focus on where the company is going – this will attract driven individuals
  • Be honest and realistic – often when companies can’t find the ‘right’ hire, it is because they’re looking for a unicorn.

Of course, you can always work with an expert recruitment company to write your job adverts. At Clayton Recruitment, we can not only compile talent attracting job descriptions for you; we can help you to understand what it is your team is lacking.

Promoting Your Brand To Attract Talent

I have been surprised at the number of businesses who have gone quiet on social media throughout the pandemic.

It has never been more essential to promote your brand and keep your name at the forefront of your customer’s and client’s minds.

But this is also a great way to attract top talent to your business.

Use social media, LinkedIn especially to promote your company brand, to position yourself as an employer with your finger on the pulse.

Many great individuals are looking for new roles right now, and they will be attracted to the companies who have the most engaging profile, whether that’s social media, your website, a YouTube channel or podcasts. Get your name out there, and the best talent will be attracted to you.

If you don’t have a dedicated person to run your social media account, appoint a member of staff to do checking regularly and interacting with people. And this doesn’t have to be a long task, even just 15 minutes a day will help to strengthen your brand.

When you are more active and engaged on social media, you can then build a talent network which will be the next stage of your recruitment drive when you haven’t got a dedicated HR department.

Build a Talent Pipeline

Having an active audience and interacting with people from your sector on social media and LinkedIn is a great way to start building your talent pipeline.

A talent pipeline is the best way to ensure that you have people lined up for your upcoming vacancies – remember that you never know who might be handing their resignation notice in next.

I’ve mentioned LinkedIn and social media, and the following are great ways to build a talent network –

  • Hold or attend sector webinars. Due to the pandemic, networking has gone fully online. Connecting with members of your sector virtually is a great way to increase interest in your brand and your business.
  • Use your existing contacts – do you have an employee referral programme? Do you keep in contact with previous candidates and applicants?

Building a talent pipeline is going to be essential for your business strategy if your HR department is not operating at full capacity. Get in contact with us here if you would like to discuss how we can help you build a talent pipeline.

Consider Temporary and Contract Employees

This is one of the best ways to recruit when you need to fill a vacancy or to help your organisation with what it needs right now – that is not a long-term commitment.

The rise in temporary and contract employees happening right now shows that many employers are using this as a strategy.

Hiring an employee on a temporary basis, whether that’s an interim director or a marketing specialist, is the ideal solution to getting the HR resources you need into your business right now as you figure out what you need in our new normal.

We specialise in temporary and contract work, and we can help you find the talent you need on a non-permanent basis.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you hire for the roles you need during this business-critical time, on a flexible, temporary basis, get in touch with us today.

Call us on 01772 259 121 or contact us here to find out more about our temporary recruitment service.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on a permanent basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Your Post-Furlough Team – Where Are the Skills Gaps?

  • October 15, 2020

In any organisation, there will always be a certain number of skills gaps. As the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to and end, it is now that companies realise how vital it is to take stock of their employees, where they want their business to go, and see how the two directly correlate.

You may have had an idea for some time as to who from your pre-Covid team, will be returning to their roles, and also who won’t and therefore it’s time to conduct a skills gap analysis of your post-furlough team. This blog contains a how-to guide. Finding out where the capability gaps are in your organisation are the first step to putting in place a plan to close this gap, and strengthen your team.

So let’s take a look at how to perform a skills gap audit, and what to do if you find any critical gaps in the abilities of your team.

Identifying What Roles Your Organisation Needs

The roles that you had in your organisation pre-Covid might have changed now that your team has returned. Has the size or the nature of your business changed? Are there departments which have grown or decreased due to changes in the market?

During these times, it would be more unusual if your business hadn’t changed, so an audit will likely be in order.

The following is the three-step process of discovering where your skills gaps lie.

Step 1 – Identify the Skills Your Organisation Needs

Identifying skills comes in two parts – finding out which roles are necessary for your organisation, for example, depending on your sector the range might be varied from:

  • the number of packers you need to work in a warehouse to meet demand,
  • or the number of team leaders,
  • or care assistants
  • The number of customer service people,
  • or the number of accountants required in your accountancy firm.

Many organisations are currently trying to cut costs, to deal with the uncertainty that Covid has caused across many sectors. Of course, no employer wants to be overstaffed, but the consequences of being understaffed during this critical time will be more severe. And with the UK economy growing the way it is, from an increase of 11.4% to 15% in the third quarter – planning for growth is a smart idea.

Questions to ask include –

  • Where do we want the organisation to be?
  • In which areas are we planning to expand into?
  • With the current workforce, is our desired level of growth possible?
  • Do we lack knowledge and resources in certain areas?

Once you have identified the number and the nature of the critical roles you need in your organisation, it’s time to find out if your current team have the skills required.

Step 2 – Assess the Current Skills in Your Team

Assessing the skills in your current team will mean individually reviewing your current team’s abilities.

For each role, use the following framework to evaluate team members –

  1. The employee is unaware of this task.
  2. The employee is aware of this task but does not have the skills to perform it.
  3. The employees can undertake the task assisted by someone else.
  4. The employee can perform the task unaided.
  5. The employee possesses the skills to teach others how to perform the task.

This assessment can be performed either by the employee themselves or by their managers or supervisor, and you will get the best results if you work together with your employees to discuss their skills and abilities.

Step 3 – Bridging the Gap

From your analysis, you will quickly see how you might have many employees who are at the same skill level, and a lack of employees who possess the necessary capability to grow in the areas you want.

Where are the expected gaps?

There are skills gaps in many sectors across the globe, with the financial services sector and manufacturing two of the most affected areas.

The skills gap in the financial services sector has been increasing year on year, up 30% in recent years.

In manufacturing, a recent study of organisations found that 81% of employers were finding it difficult to hire employees with the skills they need to expand.

Your Next Steps

Once you have discovered where your skills gaps are, the next logical step is to find the talent you need. When you do this, working with a dedicated recruiter in the commercial sector, you will deliver results faster than internal recruitment alone.

At Clayton Recruitment, we are experts at finding you the talent you need to fill a particular skills gap in your organisation, and many of our clients are finding this service invaluable in the current climate.

We can even provide help if you are unsure where your skills gaps are and would like to talk to an expert about what your organisation might need moving forwards.

You can get in contact with us today by calling 01772 259 121 or send us an email by clicking here.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on a permanent basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Why Hire Temps? Your Guide to Employing Temporary Workers in a Post-Pandemic Job Market

  • July 30, 2020

Hiring during a pandemic – it’s not something that many employers thought they would ever be doing.

After the imposed slowdown of the U.K. economy, businesses are more aware than ever of how critical it is to have the right team in place.

But the pandemic has also created the challenge of business planning – many organisations aren’t sure of what lies in store for the next few months, perhaps even years.

Protecting jobs has been a central focus of the fallout of the pandemic from Rishi Sunak, our Chancellor to Managing Directors across multiple Corporate and SME organisations.

As we now emerge into the ‘recovery’ stage, employers who have opportunities for candidates must decide on their hiring process to avoid being swamped by candidates and making the ‘right’ decisions from the many candidates available.

If you’re currently in the process of hiring temporary workers for your organisation over the next few months, this guide is for you.

Temp Workers for Your Post-Pandemic Organisation

Hiring temporary employees might not have been on your business plan at the start of the year, but the pandemic has forced many businesses into doing so, to protect themselves as we find a new normal.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show that the number of temporary employees in the U.K. increased by 1.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the three months March-May 2020 compared to last year.

If you’re hiring temporary employees right now – you’re not alone. Delivery giant Hermes just announced they are to hire an additional 10,500 workers in the U.K. after the surge in new demand.

Temporary and contract workers are a smart choice for employers, as they offer more flexibility and less commitment during this business-critical time.

Let’s look first at applicant tracking systems and how these could be helping or hindering your temp hiring process.

Applicant Tracking Systems for Temp Workers

When hiring temp workers, speed is critical to the process – is it time you reviewed your applicant tracking system?

Many companies continue to use outdated tracking systems which could be harming your recruitment process. Now more than ever, you need to know that you can rely on your ATS and that it is helping, not damaging your recruiting efforts for temporary roles.

If your ATS is turning away more candidates than it is attracting, or if it is filtering out suitable candidates without your knowledge, you need to remedy this now.

Right now, there is likely to be an influx of applicants for roles, and you need to make sure your system isn’t missing the best applicants.

My top tips for evaluating your ATS are:

  • Decide if the amount you are paying for the software is giving you a decent ROI.
  • Consider if the features of your ATS are pulling in the temporary candidates you need right now.
  • Are you able to accurately measure and track whether the ATS is providing you with quality candidates? If not, it might be time to consider a different recruiting method.

Next, let’s look at how current hiring practices are affecting the hiring of temporary employees.

Video Interviewing

Since the pandemic, hiring has gone digital, with many organisations and recruiters alike taking to video to interview candidates, at least for the first stages of the recruitment process.

The pandemic caused a spike of 67% more companies using video interviews to hire for critical roles, and this worked the other way too, with a 150% increase in candidates wanting to upgrade their digital CV with a video.

Video interviewing is a great – and safe – way to interview several candidates when you have multiple applicants for a temporary vacancy.

Set aside a day to conduct video interviews with your candidates, but with social distancing measures in place, safe face-to-face interviews can also now take place. Remember that an in-person interview is the best way to ascertain if a candidate is a good fit for your organisation, even if the role is only a temporary one.

Hiring Candidates with the Right Skills for Flexible Roles

Flexibility is going to be a key theme in businesses going forwards, and companies who fail to flex could find themselves in trouble.

When hiring temporary workers, you must think past the immediate role the candidate is applying for. Think about how much value your applicants can bring to the role – what other soft and hard skills do they have, and what experience do they have in different positions?

With an influx of candidates currently on the market, now is an excellent time to hire employees with great in-demand skills, think problem-solving, customer service, excellent communication skills, critical thinking, and creativity.

In a period of economic downturn, it can be easy for employers to forget about forward-planning, as they look to fill roles with the employees they need right now. When you hire with the future of your organisation in mind, you are protecting and strengthening your business for years to come.

This means hiring the very best from the available talent.

Finding the Best Talent for Your Temporary Roles

Before the pandemic, Clayton Recruitment specialised in finding the best available talent for temporary commercial roles, and that’s what we’re still doing today.

Our extensive network and connections can put you in touch with candidates, who can add value to your business now, in their temporary roles, and for when the time comes to make more permanent hiring decisions.

Remember, even though you are hiring for a temporary role, you should employ the same high standards in your hiring as you would for a permanent employee. As the current business environment is changing so quickly, you might need permanent employees faster than you think.

The cost of a wrong hire can be in the thousands; it can be costly in terms of time and effort too.

For peace of mind that you are hiring the very best temporary employees from the current pool, work with a recruiter with extensive experience in this field.

Clayton Recruitment offer a tailored recruitment service for each of your roles; we have the insight, network and market credibility to supply you with the temporary candidates you need right now – get in touch with us here to find out how.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Where Are All the Finance Candidates?

  • May 20, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has altered the dynamic in recruitment. While some industries have seen recruitment freezes, others are struggling to locate the employees they need.

With furloughs and some inevitable redundancies in various organisations and sectors, finance and accounting departments remain necessary throughout, which has contributed to a shortage of finance candidates.

With almost half of senior leaders in the financial services sector reporting high competition for finance roles, and now the added challenge of recruiting in the age of coronavirus – finding the right finance candidates is not an easy task.

Companies looking to hire and retain finance employees are struggling to locate the talent they need. Today, I want to discuss why, and what your organisation can do about it.

The Skills Shortage

A general shortage of candidates is the first problem organisations must contend with to hire their next Credit Controller or Payroll Assistant.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, employers were struggling to hire talent due to a skills gap. Data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) Jobs Outlook Report found that between May and July 2019, 46 per cent of employers of permanent staff expressed concern over finding enough suitable candidates for their vacancies.

The skills shortage in the UK has increased year on year, as employers struggle to locate finance candidates for pivotal roles within their team.

Businesses Competing for the Best Finance Talent

The headlines we have seen recently about COVID-19 potentially damaging the UK job market do not tell the whole picture.

Shortly before the coronavirus hit the UK, chancellor Rishi Sunak boasted of a ‘national jobs miracle’. There was indeed a steady growth of jobs in many sectors, and tying in with the skills shortage, many employers were struggling to locate talented employees.

While the hospitality, retail and travel sectors have been affected, in many areas of the UK economy, there is a steady progression.

The coronavirus outbreak, however, has put an unprecedented strain on many finance departments, due to recent financial activity – let’s take a closer look.

Finance Departments Affected by Coronavirus

Finance departments have had to alter their regular schedules in line with new increased financial activity.

Cashflow forecasting, audits, tax, accounts assistants dealing with debts – all of these roles have been put under increased pressure due to changes caused by COVID-19.

Nearly 300,000 companies applied for CBILs (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans) last month. Pausing and taking stock of all incomings and outgoings is not something which finance departments had planned to do at the start of the year. For this reason, many businesses are seeking extra help in finance departments right now.

There has also been a sharp increase in credit controller roles as businesses futures look uncertain and as some will inevitably close permanently. A quarter of all UK businesses have temporarily closed due to COVID-19, with half a million companies reporting that they are in ‘significant financial distress’.

For now, and the foreseeable future, recovery and debt collection will be a focus for many finance departments, with an increased need for employees within these roles.

For businesses that remain open, getting their finances in order after the significant changes that coronavirus has had is a difficult task, the scale of which we will not know for weeks to come.

Remote Recruitment

Finally, an additional problem that businesses have had to contend with is the physical difficulty with hiring at the moment.

Social distancing measures have meant that the face-to-face interviews have been halted and recruiting in general in lots of companies has ground to a halt – despite there being empty vital positions.

Many businesses are not equipped to conduct virtual recruiting, and in light of the recent situation, there hasn’t been time to set up a process.

If you are in need of finance candidates for a vacant role, and you haven’t got remote recruiting procedures in place – we can help. Get in touch with us here to find out about how our recruitment service is continuing and how it can help you recruit in lockdown.

How We Can Help

If you currently have a finance vacancy in your organisation and are struggling to navigate the current job market to find appropriate candidates, we can help.

Our team of experts are working remotely to help you find the finance candidates you need to help your organisation through this challenging time. If you have a finance vacancy you would like to discuss, get in touch with our team here today.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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What Benefits are Employees Looking for in 2020?

  • March 24, 2020

In an increasingly competitive employment market, employers must keep up-to-date with the compensation, perks and benefits that the best talent is looking for, or risk losing them to your competitors.

I speak to candidates daily, and I hear the same incentives that are driving candidates away from specific workplaces and into others.

In this blog, I will share what the most talented candidates are looking for in their new employers right now – are you offering these incentives?

Flexible Work Schedules

We have seen a decrease in the typical 9-5 working schedule for some years now, with flexi-time gaining popularity in the ‘90s through to the present day.

But increasingly, employees are looking for even more flexibility from their employers.

Employees today – and especially millennial employees who now make up the majority of workplaces – want schedules that are flexible to their personal needs.

This is different to flexitime, as instead of being able to come into work anytime between 7-10 am and leave between 3-7 pm, they might ask for flexibility at other times. For example, a half-day finish when they have an appointment and be able to make the time up somewhere else or to come in later on days when they have to take their child to playgroup when their partner is busy.

As well as a flexible working arrangement, another popular demand among employees is a compressed working week – let me explain how this works.

Compressed Work Week

A compressed working schedule allows employees to work full time, putting in more of their hours on the days they choose, and allowing them to take time off elsewhere. For example, an employee might want to work four 10 hour days and have Fridays off.

Employees love this perk, as it allows them to have a better work-life balance, and studies show that working non-regular office hours improves productivity. Employees are more focused on their tasks, they have fewer interruptions, and it reduces fatigue which causes productivity and quality of work to slip.

Pension Scheme

We’re all living longer, and with government pensions not as reliable as they once were, employees are looking to their employers to provide them with an excellent pension scheme.

Employees highly value an employer who invests in an excellent pension scheme for them – it shows that they are invested in their future.

Working with a workplace pension provider to ensure that your employees are given a good rate on their pensions and that they can have as much or as little input as they want in the matter is a highly desirable bonus to many employees.

On-Site Amenities

Depending on the type of your workplace, there will be a range of amenities that you can provide for employees.

If your organisation is based somewhere away from shops and other conveniences, can you provide food for employees?

Some larger organisations can provide gyms, which is seen as one of the most sought-after perks; of course, this is not always possible and will depend on your size and budget. A good alternative is a chill-out zone, where employees can take time out to de-stress or have a quiet 5 minutes.

Even something as small as making your workspace bright, with plenty of natural light and indoor plants can make workplaces much more appealing to candidates.

Your goal should be to provide a workspace that your employees look forward to coming to, where they feel that they can thrive and work towards the shared goal of being healthy and happy.

Creating a positive place to work for your employees contributes to their overall wellbeing, which in turn increases productivity – it’s a win-win!

Finally, a great way to boost morale and give employees a little something that everyone enjoys – free social events!

Social Events

The solitary annual Christmas party doesn’t cut it anymore – many workplaces provide events for their employees throughout the year, and this is has become the mark of a great employer.

It doesn’t have to be monthly away-days at outdoor pursuit facilities; something as low-key as a shared team breakfast every few weeks, or making sure you celebrate birthdays in the office, makes team members feel valued.

Not only this, but research shows that employees who spend time together form stronger bonds which enables them to work better as a team when they are at work.

Your Benefits

How many of these benefits do you currently provide, in one form or another, to attract and retain the best employees?

The smartest organisations are always on the lookout for the most talented employees, and so attraction and retention should be something you are actively monitoring.

Hopefully, this article will have given you some inspiration on how you can make changes to transform your organisation into a talent magnet.

If you need further help or advice on how to recruit top employees, we can help. We work with organisations in the North West to help them find the talent they need to drive their business forwards – get in contact with us today to find out more.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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5 Reasons to Work With a Specialist Recruiter in 2020

  • December 20, 2019

The start of a new year – how many business owners have been mulling over their plans for 2020 and the coming decade while they were at home celebrating with family? I know I was!

Here is the thing.

To achieve growth, to scale your business and to more importantly – increase revenue – what you need is a great team.

Some people go as far as saying that your team are as equally as important as your customers. No successful business has ever made it with a sub-standard team in place, and engaged employees are widely considered to be essential to higher efficiency, productivity and profits.

The cost of a bad hire, while expensive in monetary terms (estimates range from £12,000 to up to tens of thousands of pounds) will potentially send shockwaves which will be felt throughout your business.

And the smaller your company, the more impact making the wrong hire will have. Increased workloads and stress for current employees, low morale, decreased productivity…all of these put a strain on your business in a time when you were planning on growing.

So, with this in mind – what are you doing to ensure the hires that you make in 2020 will be the right ones to ensure your business grows and moves in the right direction?

Make 2020 the year that you put your recruitment process in the hands of the experts by working with a specialist recruiter; and here is how it will benefit your business.

Unrivalled Expertise

Unfortunately, many business owners who are not well acquainted with the world of recruitment don’t realise the vast difference in service they will receive between a specialist and a general recruiter.

This is understandable, as those who don’t live and breathe recruitment (unlike us!) have less of an understanding of what different recruiters provide within their service.

Most people don’t realise the extent of the knowledge gaps that a general recruiter can have, and the impact this will have on your eventual hire. Every employee in your organisation has a bearing on your success, and so each employee must be hired for the value that they can add to your business.

You can only achieve this by working with a recruiter who has an in-depth understanding of your sector, and sadly, this is not what a general recruiter will provide.

Local Knowledge

As well as extensive sector knowledge, one of the most crucial elements of working with a specialist recruiter is their geographical location. Can you expect your recruiter to understand current issues affecting your town or city when they are based elsewhere in the country?

Understanding, and having a good knowledge of the businesses in the area is an added benefit that people often overlook when choosing a recruiter.

If your specialist recruiter focuses their recruiting in one geographical area, this means that they can give a vastly improved service. Understanding your local area, the current economic and job climate, and the local candidate base is an added layer to your specialist recruiter’s service, which strengthens their hiring process.

The Skills Shortage

A recent survey of recruitment in the accounting and finance sector found that there is a current ‘moderate’ skills shortage in pivotal roles. Another accounting survey found that 95% of recruiting partners have struggled to find skilled accountants – does this sound familiar?

There is a distinct lack of talent in the active accounting candidate market. Firms who attempt to recruit by themselves, or use a general recruiter, are failing to interview candidates who possess the right skills and attitude.

A niche specialist will have access to the broader talent pool and will have contact with candidates that would not otherwise be looking to apply to your organisation.

An Efficient Process

How fast is your recruitment process? How many stages are there to ensure that the candidate is right for the role?

Or is it more of a relaxed affair that can take weeks depending on when the senior staff can get together? Is it more a case of hiring the person who can start the soonest? Your specialist recruiter will have every stage, and more importantly – the time frame already in mind.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from candidates, and sadly, one of the reasons many businesses miss out on great candidates is that ‘the hiring process took too long’.

The speed and efficiency of your hiring process is something which many business owners fail to recognise as essential to the candidates. Your specialist recruiter has the time to keep in touch with candidates at every step of the way, ensuring that they don’t switch off or worse – get approached by a rival company..

The Right Hire – First Time

Finally, but certainly not least – perhaps the most value-adding aspect of working with a specialist recruiter is the guarantee that the right hire will be made for your organisation.

As I have highlighted in this article, it is so essential to make the right hire, the first time around, and working with a specialist recruiter will ensure that this happens. It reduces the chance of being left for weeks (or months) of uncertainty as you attempt to carry out the recruitment process around your businesses daily tasks.

Or the worry that a sub-standard hire might be made, as a result of working with a recruiter who doesn’t understand your businesses and your sector-specific needs.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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This is What Your Millennial Hires Are Looking For

  • December 6, 2019

How many millennials do you have in your organisation? If you’re not sure as to what constitutes a ‘millennial’ – it is generally accepted that this generation was born between 1981-1996, meaning that their current age is from their early 20s to late 30s.

As a Manager, it is vital to understand the needs of all generations in the workplace, but as of 2020, millennials will make up the most significant section of the UK workforce, so it pays to understand what they’re really looking for from their job.

Managers who understand what millennials want, and who offer them the opportunities that they’re looking for, will reap the benefits in the long run – these employees will stay and grow with your organisation rather than moving on in a year.

So, what exactly is it that millennials are looking for from their job?

Innovative Technology

Millennials have grown up around technology, and figuring out how to make the lives of everyone in the office a little easier is part of their DNA.

You might be thinking ‘, but we’re a small accountancy company, we don’t have any innovative tech’ – but this is not as complicated as it might sound.

Any office with a computer system will have processes in place – the organisation of files, the procedure of dealing with a client, even updating your website; these are all examples of conventional technology which millennials are adept at working with.

If your cloud filing system is a mess (or non-existent), if you have held back on upgrading your website or even your internet speed, these can all put millennials off from wanting to join your company.

They are looking for forward-thinking and innovative workspaces; however, it isn’t all about how futuristic your office is, it is more a state of mind – which brings me onto my next point.

Collaboration and Flexibility

The millennial workforce is known for their love of collaborative working, of pushing boundaries and of rejecting the style of work where you basically get your head down, do as the Manager says and don’t ask any questions – this is seen as a ‘baby boomer’ trait, and is now less common in the world of work.

When you harbour and encourage an atmosphere of collaboration and shared knowledge, this is an attractive trait to high-performing millennials. Equal partaking makes millennials (and indeed employees of all generations) feel that they are valued, rather than simply a ‘cog’ in the wheel, and gives them a sense of purpose – let me explain this in more detail.


Millennials want to undertake work which gives them a sense of purpose. Whether that’s on updating a mortgage administration process, taking ownership of their bookkeeping role, or doing an excellent job of pulling together contracts for your contracts administrator role.

Older millennials might be old enough to have experienced the world of work before open-plan offices and when being an ‘angry Manager’ was still seen as a reliable leadership quality – not any more.

The workplace is a much more open and forward-thinking place these days, with companies of all sizes and in all sectors striving to show their clients and their employees that they are purpose-led. A recent Forbes article even highlighted that purpose-driven companies evolve faster than others.

So, to attract the best millennial talent, make sure your company not only has a mission and a vision statement but that all employees are committed to the cause. If you are an accountancy firm who has honesty and customer service at the heart of your ethos – highlight this to your millennial candidates; it will make them consider working for your business even more seriously.

To Be Developed

Lastly, I want to talk a little bit about millennials and their long-term career plans. Many employers wrongly believe that this generation of workers are ‘job-hoppers’ and they have gained a reputation for being more likely to leave their jobs than their boomer predecessors.

But how true it this?

In reality, millennials are actually no more likely to leave their job than any other employee of different age.

Yes, it is true that the workforce, in general, changes their jobs more often now than previously, but this is the same across all ages. The average employee now changes their position up to 12 times throughout their career, but this is not because they are flighty. It happens because the idea of a ‘job for life’ is not in practice anymore, because of the unstable economic times of the last ten years in the UK and because there is more choice for employees.

A recent study on millennials in the workplace found that the number one factor that they consider before taking a new job is if they will be trained and developed in their role.

Millennials want to develop and grow with your company – they will be put off any role which does not offer scope for growth, and this is not just for the increase in salary; they want to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from personal growth and pride in doing their job increasingly well.


Do you need help locating quality candidates for your finance or accounting vacancies? We work with accounting talent for roles in the North West and have been recruiting in this sector for 30 years – get in contact with our team today to find out more.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Why You Should Work with a Recruiter To Hire Your Next Accountant

  • October 18, 2019

A recent survey by the accounting resource company Karbon found that 95% of accounting firm partners said that they had experienced challenges when attempting to recruit Accountants.

What’s even more shocking is that only 22% said that they are confident that their recruiting strategy is reaching the very best applicants.

It’s that word – ‘reaching’ where the importance of a good recruiter comes in. You might think your recruitment process is as slick as possible, with excellent salary and remuneration packages and your company culture is on point, so why aren’t you getting any takers?

The truth is that in the current tight employment market, the best candidates are not few and far between – they’re not even looking.

The ‘war for talent’ is much documented at the moment across many sectors, including finance, as the number of vacancies advertised continue to grow as firms ramp up hiring activity after a tumultuous 12-18 months. And, according to statistics from Broadbean, despite a 20 per cent rise in vacancies advertised in Q1 2021 compared to the last three months of 2020, applications to those roles rose by only 4% in the same period.

Businesses are one again competing for the same, sometimes scarce, pool of talent; some of whom are reluctant to move roles against the backdrop of a pandemic and perceived market uncertainty, and those that do have the confidence, have a whole host of options available to them.

I want to use this article to tell you about the issues facing hiring managers who are looking to recruit Accountants and how managers and recruiters across the country are attempting to remedy the problem.

Changes in Recruiting for Accountants

If you have faced challenges in your search for accomplished and suitable accountancy candidates – you’re not alone. Companies across the board are struggling to attract great accounting talent and are being forced to think outside the box, which has resulted in some unusual candidate attracting methods such as this archived LinkedIn accountancy job advert.

The job vacancy has long since gone, but LinkedIn has kept the advert up as an example of extreme advertising – the specification uses words such as ‘kick-ass’ and ‘misfits’ to describe their ideal candidate – a real deviation from the accountancy job descriptions from the past!

Many other accountancy firms who recruit in-house, as well as accounting recruiters across the board, have overhauled their recruiting process, and it is now the norm to ask prospective accountancy candidates to apply initially via video rather than the standard CV and cover letter – even more so over the past 12 months as video technology utilised in recruitment processes has accelerated.

Gone are the days of simple processes for hiring Accountants – hiring managers and recruiters are having to change their processes dramatically to have a chance of attracting the best Accountants.

Changes in the Industry

Not only are hiring managers struggling to find the number of candidates to provide a comprehensive interview process, huge changes in the accounting industry have left some managers wondering what kind of candidates they should be searching for.

The advent of cloud computing, automation and the millennial-age workforce has meant that the industry is unrecognisable to what it was just a few years ago.

This younger generation of Accountants has changed what it means to be a stand-out accountant. Alongside the quintessential traits such as excellent organisational skills, a true passion for numbers and an obsession with detail; millennial Accountants are active problems solvers, they are creative, and they are not afraid to ask difficult questions.

If your company is seeking to replace a boomer-aged accountant who was methodical, steady and old-school, it can be worrisome when every accounting candidate that you encounter seems completely different.

What companies must remember is not only that change is necessary; it is a good thing. The accountancy candidates that we are seeing coming through the ranks are a new breed – and this can seem scary – but they will bring skills to the accounting role that you didn’t know were missing!

Why Recruiters Are Needed to Find Accounting Talent

As you can see, there is a perfect storm of problems affecting the accounting world currently, with multiple reasons culminating in the inability for companies to find the accounting candidates they are looking for – with financial analysts and reporters, as well as mid-management candidates in highest demand.

How can recruiters help? A general recruiter might not have the network in place to know where the best veteran and upcoming accounting talent is – but a dedicated accountancy recruiter will – it is in this network of passive candidates that the best talent lies.

Not only this, but as accounting recruiters know which kind of candidates have worked, and not worked previously in different firms, we can source talent that a hiring manager alone might not have considered.

If you need help in finding accounting talent for your business, talk to a dedicated accounting recruiter today to discuss your options.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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How to Attract The Right Accountancy Candidates With Your Employer Brand

  • September 21, 2019

Is your company paying attention to its employees, as well as your customers?

Your employer brand might be the silent reason between attracting the accountancy candidates you want and being left wondering ‘where are all the great candidates?’

Currently, three in four employers state that they find it hard to fill vacancies. It is a candidate-driven market, and the best candidates invariably flock to the ‘best’ companies.

Your employer brand is a tool which you can use to attract the kind of people who will enrich your company and who will be good for business – so what exactly is an employer brand? And how can you use it to your advantage? This article will show you how.

What Does Your Employer Brand Say About You?

Before you can decide how your employer brand needs to be tweaked (or overhauled), you first need to understand what kind of employer brand you currently have.

When you think of a company – take Google, for example – what is the kind of ethos that you associate with this brand? They’re forward-thinking, have a famous reputation for their incredible workspaces and are at the cutting edge of most software technologies.

What do you think would be the first things that pop into potential candidates’ minds when they think about your company? Do you have a strong market presence? Are you active on social media? What kind of people works for you?

You can create an audit using a variety of sources – ask your current employees to take part in surveys, hold stakeholder interviews with key figures, and send questionnaires to people who have rejected your job offers.

When you have compiled an analysis of your current employer brand, you can start to see where you might like to improve.

Size Up The Competition

In your quest to win the best candidates, your main barrier is your direct competitors.

When you are based in a big city, there can be several firms all competing for the best talent, but over a smaller area, the numbers can get uncomfortably close. You might even personally know the accountants working for other firms – you might have lost out to them previously.

If you have one, or a few, direct competitors (be that geographically or in your sector specialism) how does your firm measure up?

I’m not suggesting you copy mission statements or logos from your competitors, but you can take inspiration from organisations you admire. Has a rival firm recently upped their marketing with physical and online adverts? What are their job descriptions like? These are places where you can take inspiration from.

Create a Plan

Once you have identified the issues with your current employer brand, how would you like these to improve?

If you are attracting X kind of candidates, but you want Y candidates, how can you get these candidates to interact with your business more?

It is here that you can develop your ‘Employer Value Proposition’. Your EVP describes the salary, compensation and benefits that you provide to your employees.

In today’s job market, EVP’s are becoming increasingly competitive. Driven by a younger workforce (millennials are set to make up a third of the global workforce by 2020), employers are increasingly offering health insurance, dental plans, childcare, and health and wellbeing programmes.

Recent research from the United States shows that 80% of employees think that workplace benefits are more important than salary, and it’s a similar picture in the UK too. Get your benefits package right, and the great candidates will follow.

Review your candidate avatar and direct your online presence toward the kind of candidate you want – starting with your online content.

Upgrade Your Online Presence

Updating your online profile is a great way to cultivate your employer brand. Gone are the days of dry finance websites full of blocks of monochrome text.

While accountancy might have once had a reputation for being a sector which operates strictly behind the scenes, this is now changing.

A desire for transparency in all areas of the workplace has meant that companies are now more forthcoming with information which was previously only ‘behind the scenes’. An example of this is CEOs of companies getting involved in online videos that can be shared as advertising – think of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Twenty years ago we never knew the directors of large multinational companies: now they are never out of the news.

Some of the biggest news stories in the last few years have included accountancy – there is rarely a week where the global financial powers are not in the news.

Adapting your online presence is an easy way of remodelling your employer brand. Most job seekers will now check your website as their first port of call before applying to your firm, and they have certain expectations. They will be looking for active social media accounts, a modern and informative website containing blogs and other forms of content.

Encourage Advocates

Thanks to our hyper-connected world, review culture have made it possible to ‘try before you buy’ for almost anything and everything.

Your current employees should be involved in your employer branding strategy, and this is an opportunity to build the kind of team you want.

LinkedIn is a great way to involve your current employees to act as advocates for your firm.

Use your company’s LinkedIn company page to share articles, give company updates and engage with your staff and other companies whose values align with your own.

A company with a robust online presence with actively engaged employees is a crucial way to impress prospective candidates. Job seekers are far more likely to apply to a company that has provided them with some credible information and can demonstrate a good employee experience.

Remember – you can’t make your employees engage with you on social media, but they are far more likely to if you are providing them with a great employee experience!

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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