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Recruitment costs rise due to increase in job seekers

The increase in job seekers seen since the economic downturn has led to extra expense for businesses as they struggle to manage an unprecedented rise in applications, according to research by SHL, the leader in talent assessment solutions

The increase in job seekers seen since the economic downturn has led to extra expense for businesses as they struggle to manage an unprecedented rise in applications, according to research by SHL, the leader in talent assessment solutions.


The survey of over 500 in house recruitment professionals in a range of industries has found that a quarter have taken on more people to cope with the increased demand, with more than one in ten (12%) taking on two or more extra staff. With the average salary for a recruitment manager standing at around £35,000 (Reed Salary Survey, February 2010), this could be putting a big strain on budgets at a time when many businesses are already struggling. Plus, almost half (49%) of those questioned admit to incurring further costs for people time, technology or external suppliers, in order to help manage the increased number of applicants.


To help screen out unsuitable candidates, a quarter of employers have added more stages to their recruitment process and 70% have introduced additional methods of selection, such as increased entry requirements (28%), increased detail required at the initial application stage (26%) and realistic job previews (24%).


However, almost a fifth (18%) admit that their process has now become too onerous for applicants and this could be costing businesses even further. Of these, one in ten say it puts candidates off applying, a fifth (20%) say this has led to a longer time to hire leaving a gap in the business and almost a quarter (23%) say it is leading to candidates accepting offers elsewhere.


Furthermore, where companies haven’t taken on extra staff to cope with the increased demand, this seems to have taken its toll on existing employees with a quarter (25%) admitting that they or their team is now overstretched. Worryingly, this could be leading to a drop in recruitment standards, with many admitting that they are now unable to let candidates know when they have received their application (19%), provide detailed feedback to interviewed candidates (17%) or let candidates know if they haven’t been successful after the initial application (15%).


David Leigh, CEO of SHL, said: “With unemployment high, it is unsurprising that employers are struggling to deal with the increased number of applicants going for what is likely to be a fewer number of jobs. However, it is important that they deal with this situation effectively so that it doesn’t end up costing them, both in terms of extra tools and resources, as well as a loss of reputation if they are failing to treat applicants fairly.


“There are a number of ways that employers can screen applicants at the beginning, or a very early stage in the recruitment process, in order to minimise time spent reviewing CVs and conducting interviews. Tools such as ability and personality questionnaires as well as job previews all help to identify those who have the right skills, experience and motivation for a role. Plus saving this time means that recruitment professionals can focus more on communicating with candidates to let them know whether they have been successful and providing feedback. It can be easy to dismiss applicants who aren’t suitable, but employers must remember that unsuccessful job applicants are also potential customers and ignoring them could impact the bottom line.”