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Q&A with a recruitment expert

By Jack Campbell | |7 minute read

How to navigate recruitment was discussed in a Q&A with The HR Leader recently.

Ben Townshend, technology sales recruitment lead at Bluefin Resources, touched on the best ways employers can stand out during talent shortages, and the biggest mistakes hiring managers make.

HR Leader: “What are some ways that employers can stand out from the crowd during a tight labour market?”


Mr Townshend: “First thing to start with is your employer branding. That’s massively important. And that is done by a number of ways, but the main thing that you see now is through social media, through LinkedIn, posting regular content, meet-ups, webinars, and podcasts.”

“It really enables you to attract the best people kind of without actually having a specific recruitment team that’s going out there and approaching people,” he explained.

“Secondly, I think just offering benefits that people actually want. I’m not talking bean bags and ping pong tables. It’s actual benefits that are going to really work in today’s marketplace. So that’s maybe flexible work in arrangements, working from home.”

“Working from a home is obviously standard across the globe, but we’ve seen a lot of companies now are still trying to get people back in now two, three days a week. And for some people, that it’s not right; they’ve got used to their arrangements that they did through COVID-19. So, some companies are missing out. I think if you can afford to be flexible enough working from home or remote working, that’s really going to help you in this year and beyond,” said Mr Townshend.

“Maybe reduce days, four days a week, especially returning mums. And maternity leave. There are companies out there that have rolled out some lucrative leave that covers both maternity and paternity. So, these are all things that are really going to help you attract good people.”

HR Leader: “What are the biggest mistakes hiring managers make in the recruitment process?”

Mr Townshend: “The biggest mistakes that hiring managers make is, I like to call it, the fear of missing out. So, if a hiring manager has a role, they’ve interviewed a candidate, they love the candidate, no red flags at all, but they’ve got that fear of missing out where they go, ‘Well, they were great, but what if there’s someone better?’ And that is so detrimental to your business if you’ve got that mindset because that happens all the time.”

He continued: “They go, ‘Well, we’ll put that candidate on ice for a couple of weeks and we’ll go and see what’s out there.’ They do that; they wait two weeks, they probably have a few people come in, they interview them, [and] no one’s quite as good. Anyway, they go back to that candidate who was great two weeks later, that shock horror, he’s found something else and they’ve lost him, and I think that’s the biggest mistake you made.”

“And we’re all guilty of it. You always think that maybe the grass is greener or there’s something better out there, but my advice would be don’t make that mistake. If you’ve got someone who you feel it in your gut that they’re good, they tickle the right criteria, and they’ve got buy-in for the rest of the business, then just go with it. Don’t worry if the role’s only been open for a week. If they’re right for the job, they’re right for the job, move to offer with them.”

“Second one, and unfortunately, this is one that I’m seeing really exclusively happening again this year, are companies that are now starting to backtrack on offers or lowball candidates at the office stage. And this happens all the time in a downturn because salaries that you were paying a candidate even six months ago, they think, ‘Well, we could probably get away with paying less now.’ That’s actually not the case,” Mr Townshend commented.

“Salaries haven’t reduced; they’ve just flatlined, they’ve not gone up anymore. So my advice would be if you told a candidate that the salary is X when they’ve started interviewing, you have to honour that when it comes to office stage because, sure, some candidates, you might feel are desperate and they want the role and they’ll accept it, but they’ll be the first out the door when the market changes again. It can really damage your reputation if you’re not staying true to your word.”

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full audio conversation with Ben Townshend on 4 April is below, and the original podcast article can be found here.




The practice of actively seeking, locating, and employing people for a certain position or career in a corporation is known as recruitment.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.