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17 January 2019
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The tables are turning

16 August 2013

One thing FM companies don’t often think about is their brand as an employer. But it’s something they can’t afford to ignore as we return to a more candidate-led recruitment market.

Our latest figures show a noticeable increase in permanent vacancies in the facilities management sector in the last three months, and an even greater rise in candidates being called in for interview. There’s a shortage of high-quality people with specific skillsets and the best talent is being snapped up quickly.

When a candidate has had a bad experience during the recruitment process, it can take a lot to persuade them to give that employer another chance, and word tends to get around. People want to work for companies that are consistent in their communications; companies that stick to a structured timeframe for first and second interviews and don’t leave people hanging.

A lot of our clients say they always try to give feedback, but when you talk to applicants, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should. The personal touch definitely helps – phoning applicants instead of sending an automated response, for example. Candidates should be left thinking: ‘That seems like a great place to work, I’ll apply again next time a job comes up’.  

In this market, it’s also vital that FM companies have a pipeline of talent coming through so they can mobilise quickly when they take on new buildings or add new services. Build up a relationship with trusted recruiters so they understand what you’re looking for. Go to networking events, collect cards and stay in touch with people. It’s short-sighted to be interested in a high-quality candidate only when you’re actively recruiting – especially because once someone’s been knocked back, they’re less likely to approach you again.

A good employer brand takes time to develop, so employers should start to prepare now in order to attract the best candidates in the future.

Ian Higgins is director at Hays Facilities Management