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​Where have all the candidates gone?

  • Publish Date: Posted over 1 year ago
  • Author:by MERJE

Article three of our Recruitment Challenges series discusses the most significant challenge in the hiring process right now: being unable to find relevant candidates in the first place.

Are you struggling to fill vacancies because candidates with suitable skills and experience are seemingly impossible to find right now?

You’re not alone!

Nearly half (45%) of respondents to our recent LinkedIn poll said that lack of relevant talent was their biggest hurdle to successful recruitment at the moment.

The phrases “talent shortage” and “candidate-driven market” may come to mind as we consider the reasons for the current hiring challenges, but this doesn’t mean you should give up on your staffing plans.

Achieving recruitment success may take a little more time, resource or effort at present, but it’s what every business needs to do.

Taking action will optimise your company’s market perception, promote a superb employer brand and appeal to wider audiences of both active and passive candidates.


It’s time to dig deeper, look harder, and work smarter. Our tips to kick off your recruitment process with a higher chance of success look like this:

The whole package

There is plenty of research demonstrating that the UK population values more than just salary when it comes to choosing a new job.

In this study for example, UK workers said, on average, they would be willing to be paid 10.5% less to work at a company with higher employee happiness levels.

Employee satisfaction is made up of all manner of things, and the first step to attracting more candidates is reviewing and updating your internal processes, policies, and working environment so that your business truly is a wonderful place to work!

What could you improve? Here are some ideas:

  • Flexible working policy

  • Diversity & Inclusion commitments

  • Team bonding opportunities

  • Incentives and bonuses

  • Office environment

  • Training & development opportunities

Shout about it

Now you’ve started working on making your company an excellent employer, it’s time to tell the world about it. After all, potential candidates are not just those looking at your job advertisements.

Passive candidates are those who are not actively looking for a new job right now, and every individual who sees your organisation on LinkedIn, Google, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok or any other social media platform could be a passive candidate.

Sharing regular updates about your team, their achievements, upgrades to the workplace, new incentives, etc. will showcase your commitment to being a great employer and turn an ordinary social media user into a potential future employee.

The more they see from you, the more likely they are to think that your business looks like a great place to work, meaning they will reach out to you or head to your careers page to see if you’re hiring.


The age of social media is all about conversation. Although, maybe this isn’t a new concept. For how long has the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” been around?

Businesses tend to push for more transactional interactions because it’s efficient and time-saving. But, at the end of the day, we’re all human and humans love to chat.

To really get the edge on your competitors in the hiring market, you need to actively engage with your intended audience. LinkedIn Influencers haven’t reached their status by directing their followers to a form to fill in. They ask open questions, chat with them, respond to comments, and interact.

Encourage your hiring managers and talent teams to be active on LinkedIn. Having more online discussions will open up the floor for recommendations and referrals, allowing you to find lesser-known candidates that you may not have come across via the usual channels.

Not everyone uses job boards to look for a new job; they ask around and tap into their network to find out who is hiring. Being an active member of those networks gives your employer brand a boost in visibility.

Don’t sit back and relax

It may seem like common sense to rely on advertising your vacancies across job boards such as Reed, Indeed, CV Library, and the rest. Just write your job advert, post it online and wait for the talent to come to you, right? If only it were this easy!

The truth is, job advertising only gives you access to a portion of the hiring market – the active job seekers. As we’ve said, passive candidates are those who aren’t actively on the lookout for a career change but are passively open to a conversation.

According to Workable’s survey, The Great Discontent: 2021 Worker Survey (UK), 45% of UK workers are passive candidates.

In fact, over half (56%) of the candidates MERJE placed in roles in the first half of 2022 were found by us actively going to market and searching for relevant individuals, rather than just waiting for them to apply to our adverts.

This shows that banking solely on job advertisements for candidate generation means missing out on a huge number of qualified professionals, most of whom won’t have been contacted by dozens of other agencies and won’t be in process with other businesses, meaning less chance of them choosing someone else over you.

Work with the experts

The fact of the matter is though, internal talent teams have limited time and resource, if they even exist at all! Many smaller businesses don’t have dedicated recruitment professionals, with the responsibilities falling between the HR department and the hiring managers or company directors.

In these cases, often the most effective hiring plan is to pass the buck on to the experts. Dedicated recruitment consultancies like MERJE spend all day every day identifying, qualifying and engaging with talented professionals and have been doing so for many years, which means we have vast networks of suitable candidates just a phone call away.

Especially when it comes to niche skill sets, specific experiences and tricky locations, hiring success can be achieved much quicker by engaging with a talent partner that is dedicated to those markets and knows them inside and out.

Working closely with a specialist recruiter can be the difference between having vacancies open for months on end and finding the right candidate within a matter of days.

If you’d like to chat with MERJE about exactly how we can transform your recruitment plans, get in touch.


This article is the third in a series sharing advice and guidance for clients to overcome the recruitment challenges they’re facing in the candidate-driven employment market.

Check out all the articles to see hints and tips for different stages of the recruitment journey to help you build a successful process:

Introduction: Why is hiring so tough right now?

  1. The dos and don’ts of making a job offer

  2. Stop losing talent at the last hurdle!

  3. Where have all the candidates gone?

  4. Harmonious hiring relationships

  5. Bonus! Interview Processes: neither a marathon nor a sprint