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Where is the young talent?

Where Is The Young Talent?

The BBC have reported what I believe most of us suspected and that is that manufacturing is growing at a fast rate. Activity in the manufacturing sector has actually grown at its fastest pace for three years according to the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

This is great news for all of us who operate in the sector, but it’s also not without its problems. There is still an important question to be asked: will there be enough skills to allow the growth to continue? Trade skills, specifically electrical and controls engineering are at a real premium, with companies fighting over experienced talent. With many people leaving the sector through retirement or progression into other, more lucrative areas, maintenance engineering has struggled to attract the right amount of talent. Data suggests there is a current shortage of 69,000 engineers and technicians entering the sector. I’d argue that there are not many better learning opportunities for a young engineer than working in the manufacturing sector – the degree can come later, should you so wish.

Apprenticeships are on the rise – but is enough being done to ensure we have the talent? With so many different degrees available costing thousands of pounds and with little vocational experience gained at the end of the four years, isn’t it now up to the government to convince more companies and young people with the relevant abilities to consider starting their careers with manufacturing apprenticeships?

Employers and recruiters have a responsibility. We need to ensure the proposition is attractive and is sold to the right people. If all we do is continually search and move the experienced candidates in the industry around, we will not create the environment needed for young people to succeed. We must actively work together to provide young people the opportunity to learn.

There are no quick fixes. However, we as stakeholders in the industry can make a difference if we stop chasing the short-term wins.

Delve work with candidates and clients to create realistic expectations and improve succession planning with our clients. To find out more, feel free to contact a member of our team.

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Spam recruitment – are employers to blame?

Spam Recruitment - Are Employers To Blame?

As a recruitment business owner, you might think this is a dangerous topic to bring up. However, as a recruitment “puritan”, it’s a subject close to my heart and one that needs to be addressed.

Recruitment has changed immeasurably over the last 12 years. The whole scope of finding candidates, especially in the engineering and technical worlds, has taken a 180° turn. Whereas originally recruiters had to be skilled in assessing applicants who respond to adverts, they must now be far more proactive in finding the candidates (networking) to fill client opportunities. The interview part has since become more limited with telephone screening becoming increasingly common. Quite simply the time spent and skills deployed are now focused on finding, rather than assessing and shortlisting the right candidates.

Why has this happened? Is this a good thing?

Without doubt a lack of technical talent has impacted on this. My theory is that during and immediately post-recession, clients who were recruiting needed quick results to justify the investment in new talent. This led to a poaching culture, and along with the emergence of LinkedIn and portal-led recruitment, recruiters were now focused on finding experience rather than the “right person”. This can lead to unrealistic goals which aren’t met and ultimately slow and poor hiring decisions.

If companies were to focus on hiring the right person with the skills to do the job (and there are some great examples out there), time to hire and quality of recruitment would improve as a result. Poor recruiters would be found out. Recruiters should have the skills and confidence to consult with a client, but the reality is that most just focus on making placements as it’s easier not to challenge a client on their brief than to challenge them. Unfortunately, this costs recruiters and clients time and money in the long run.

At Delve we use unique client qualification and candidate assessment models to give our clients the confidence of getting recruitment right without compromising on speed. We don’t just follow wish lists and hope to find the golden ticket – we work in partnership with our clients to ensure objectives are met on both sides of the table.

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Candidate onboarding – where to start?

Candidate Onboarding - Where To Start?

It’s reported that one in three people experience poor onboarding when they are joining a new business. One in three. Wow. As someone who is hiring, just think about all the pain that goes with finding that person. All of the time, money, and blood, sweat and tears. Then they start, and due to bad onboarding you have already given them reasons to think that this isn’t right for them.

As a recruiter, I hear great onboarding stories and hear horrendous onboarding stories. I hear vanilla ones as well, the ones that people forget the moment they leave the room. So, how can we combat this and put our best foot forward, I hear you say? Well, say no more…

It all starts with the interview. This will sound crazy, and you may think this is so obvious that it’s pointless to even write it. But here goes… Don’t lie. If you lie to get someone through the door, you are setting yourself up for failure. Simple. Now, understand this: I’m not saying be critical of your business to the point that they think it’s the worst place they have ever seen and would never step foot in the door again. But do tell them about the opportunity to address challenges within their role. “Yes, our business isn’t perfect and we are aware of some of the challenges. We see this role solving some of those challenges by implementing X, Y and Z”. No lies. Just honest, transparent opportunity. 

Right. You operate with transparency and honesty and the candidate accepts your challenge. This is where your induction starts. As a recruiter, I will tell you first-hand that time kills deals. Resigning from a job can be the most daunting thing many people will do. So please, please, please try to be there for your new employee. Give them a call and ask them how they are doing. Ask if they would like to pop in and meet the team? Tell them you’re having a couple of drinks on Friday and it would be great if they could come along. Do anything that would suit you and your company, but keep in contact. The chances are that after a resignation, your chosen candidate will be asking themselves if they have done the right thing – show them that they have.

Next, get your tech and merch ordered ASAP. Laptop, phone, keyboard, pens, papers, phone list, brochures, merchandise, employee profiles, chocolates, mug, business card holder – you name it, get it ordered. There’s nothing worse than turning up on day one and nothing being ready. Then, send diary requests to the people you want your new employee to meet on day one. Plan it in, and make sure you talk to people face-to-face to check that they know what you need from them and that they understand the plan.

Once everything is set, sit back, grab a brew and phone your future employee to check they are okay (again), and then confirm the start time with them. It’s also worth pointing out dress code and what people typically wear. It may sound silly, but people worry about these things.

Day 1, 10.00am, they arrive (always ask them to arrive later than you). Their desk is set, laptop waiting, phone plugged in, and there’s merchandise everywhere. Show them to their desk. Introduce them to people. Walk them around and make them known to everyone who is available. The more the merrier. Remember your first day in a job? You will forget 99% of the names but the face is at least familiar. Show them where the tea and coffee is, how to work the annoying vending machine and the best sandwich shop in town. Make them feel like you actually want them there.

Execute your well-planned induction covering the history of the business, future growth plans, and in what way their role and team is crucial to your success. 

The small details count. If you’re a line manager, give them your mobile number, take them for regular one-to-ones and set an appraisal date three months from now. Engage your new super hire. Create the environment where they will motivate themselves.

The detail behind the actual onboarding is a different blog all together, but hopefully this highlights that you have the power to make that candidate journey brilliant from the second they sit in that first interview, or even beforehand.

If you’re keen to ensure your onboarding runs like clockwork then I’d be delighted to hear from yougareth.foden@delverec.com.

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International recruitment

International Recruitment

I am often asked by my candidates and clients why I am based in the UK but support the European and American market. It always brings a smile to my face and being honest, there are a couple of reasons why we have this offering.

Beyond the Paper

It’s our mantra. It drives us to do what we do every single day. We constantly ask one another, “have you got the detail?” Or in other words, do we understand what we can’t see on a job profile or CV? This process doesn’t change for roles that are based in the UK, Europe, USA or even on the moon! We have a strict way of operating that enhances our success rates for candidates and clients alike. Taking this process to other countries and utilising technology platforms means that we can be successful wherever we recruit.

Process

Our clients love to work with us and after doing so, they love our process and best practice. It helps them to organise diary availability and have assurances that once we have taken a brief, we have a deadline for delivery. In essence, once you have spoken with us, you can remove the role from your radar for the coming days. Similar to our work in the UK, these processes don’t change wherever you are based.

Opportunity

We found that lots of our UK clients were asking us for European support on their requirements. The growth and next step seemed logical and like something we could do to offer a wider selection of services to our growing customer portfolio.

Network

Sourcing top talent is just as tough wherever you go within the engineering and technical community. In this quest to find great people, we were searching globally for talent, thus building up a unique and desirable network of contacts. It made sense for us to engage with like-minded people and organisations worldwide, with the goal being to support their needs.

Overall, we have found that blending our uniquely designed and proven recruitment processes with our well-defined and established network allows us to have a global offering without compromise.

To learn more, contact Gareth directly at gareth.foden@delverec.com

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Is your recruitment partner working for your business?

Is Your Recruitment Partner Working For Your Business?

Sometimes, relationships can break down and one party starts to provide more than the other. This is true in all aspects of life but in business it can be particularly damaging to your bottom line. When you are trying to scale your business and move forward, hiring the right people is often the most critical aspect, but it can often be time-consuming and
effort- and resource-intensive to secure the right person. Ask yourself the questions below in order to work out whether your recruitment partner is the right person to meet your business needs.

1 – Are they attentive? Ultimately this is a partnership and you don’t want to create a master – slave relationship. However, the recruitment company you engage with are providing a service, and they should therefore be prompt, clear and open about what they will do by when. If you feel like you are getting five-star service, that really is a great starting point.

2 – Do they actively listen? This is really important. Sales is a tough gig and I often hear examples of recruiters wanting to sell to customers rather than listen. The key to success with your recruitment partner is for them to listen and understand your problems and then challenge you to create solutions.

3 – Are they timely? Look, a thorough recruitment process takes time. A no-stone-unturned approach is not a quick fix. However, your chosen recruitment partner should outline timescales for delivery or at least provide a review on how they are progressing. This gives you peace of mind that the process is working towards a deadline but also allows for any issues to be captured and dealt with in a timely manner.

4 – Do you like dealing with them? This is purely down to individual preference but you have to like who you work with. If you are finding it a slog and see the recruiter you are working with as a necessary evil, then it should be time to consider your options.

5 – Do they deliver? Ultimately it all boils down to delivery. Do they solve your problems by delivering great people who fit the brief on time and in a professional way? And if not, do they add value by telling you what to do to solve your problems? In a candidate-short market, it may not be down to the recruiter you are using, but the proposition you are asking them to take to the market. If this is the case, you need to know so that this can be addressed.

There are numerous things to consider when choosing your recruitment partner or reflecting on the one you are working with at the moment. My advice would be start with the above and if you are still in a position of questioning the results, then perhaps it’s time to consider a new option. For an open discussion call Gareth Foden on +44 1606 212 020.

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Soft skills when interviewing

Soft Skills When Interviewing

Recently, I supported a global business in their search for a Business Development Director. It was great. I helped them define the brief, met every single candidate face-to-face, provided feedback and helped them define a shortlist. I was then involved with the final face-to-face meetings as a HR presence. I realised quite quickly that whilst the people conducting the interviews were seasoned experts in their field, they were missing some of the ‘recruitment basics’ I would want to be crystal clear on.

After the first interview, the advice I gave them was pretty straightforward, and I felt like it really helped to shape the rest of the interviews:

Firstly, set your stall out and explain to the interviewee what is actually happening. Rather than diving straight into the questions, introduce the people in the room, and let the interviewee know their roles and why they are present. Try to make the candidate feel at ease in the room before jumping in to ask ‘explain to us the complexities of the technology you are involved with?’.

The next tip I gave them was to focus on understanding the motivations of the candidates. Yes, you can ask all the technical questions under the sun, and the market and product match might be fantastic, but for a long-term hire, motivations and aspirations are key, so don’t let them leave the room without finding out what these are. Find out what makes the candidate tick, what really gets them out of bed in the morning and importantly what their short-term and long-term career goals are. Secondly, ask yourself whether these goals link in with your business objectives and whether you can then use this as leverage to sell your company to the candidates.

Next, box off the candidate’s reason for leaving their current job. I explained that this seems really simple but doing so maintains good practice. Yes, your recruiter will ask this when they interview candidates, but make sure you are happy with the reasoning. Ask yourself does it make sense, do you understand it, and above all else, is it consistent with the reasons I received?

My final pointer was to leave a great impression to all the candidates who took the time to meet with them. Explain the next steps in the process, ask them to contact the recruiter with any follow up questions they may think of and thank them for their time. Again, it seems really simple but it’s powerful to leave candidates feeling like they have had a great experience with your company.

So there you have it: whilst your focus may rightly be on typical questions surrounding experience and expertise, to create a fully rounded interview process, you need to start with a great introduction, conclude with a clear next steps for all candidates and focus on understanding motivations and aspirations during the interview. With these tips in mind you should make candidates feel at ease and as a result feel more comfortable giving honest answers to your questions.

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Working from home and flexible working

Working From Home and Flexible Working

​Flexible working and working from home is a real hot topic at the moment. It seems like with millennials and Gen Z entering the workplace, and with an array of images of employees using a Macbook by the sea on social media sites such as Instagram, there is a real drive and desire for flexible working.

Companies often wrestle with this, especially those who are more mature in their processes and those who want visible presence from their employees. I get why this is this case, but, as a recruitment consultant, I often find brilliant candidates who don’t or can’t meet the location requirements of the role. It really got me thinking about what employers should consider before they allow or reject flexible working requests. Here are some of my ideas:

1 – Do I trust my employees enough to allow it? Ultimately, it boils down to trust. Sure, the odd person will always be the exception to the rule, but trusting your employees to complete their tasks within times and locations to suit them is where this often falls down. So as a business leader, ask yourself, do you trust your team?

2 – Do employees need to be present, visible or both? Recently, I spoke to a candidate who rejected a role with a lower salary but greater responsibility purely because it required “visibility”. He explained that he was able to work all sorts of hours to meet the needs of the role, but ultimately his family life was important and the obligation to be in the office 8.00 – 18.30 every day made accepting this role impossible. It wasn’t due to the money, it was a decision which was purely based on this required “visibility”. The business wanted him to be present (i.e. available for calls and meetings), but also visible (i.e. they wanted to see him in the office doing his job).

3 – Will it suit my business? Ultimately, flexible working won’t suit every single business. As an employer it’s critical to consider if allowing flexible working will impact on your customer service and above anything else, on your bottom line. If it will, maybe it’s not the route for you.

4 – Will I be comfortable with the perceived lack of control? As mentioned above, it is all about control. Will you, as a leader, be comfortable with your employees working from home whilst not being able to physically see the contributions they are making each day.

5 – How will I measure success? If you go for it, and decide to implement a flexible working or work from home policy, it is worth considering how you will measure success. Will it be day-to-day wins, weekly productivity reports, or monthly project completions for example? Each role may be different, but to really be in tune with how well your work from home strategy is doing, it is worth being on top of what success looks like.

You could literally write pages and pages of considerations before implementing or removing a flexible working policy. It is really worth sitting back to consider the positive impact this could have on your company as well. Yes, there is a risk, but in equal measure there is reward. Could this type of policy reduce childcare costs, save commuting time and money, allow people to be back home before 7pm, and ultimately, could it result in immeasurable benefits that boost your staff retention in return?

If you would like to discuss how to implement something like this, or discuss examples of businesses who have implemented or removed flexible working policies, then I would be glad to discussGareth.foden@delverec.com

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Covid-19 culture shift

Covid-19 Culture Shift

​How could more people working from home (WFH) during the COVID-19 pandemic affect the culture and value proposition of your business?

First of all, let’s look at what WFH means for your employees and business.

–      Working from home is already a fast-growing trend, with 44% growth over the last year and 91% over the last decade.

–      Remote work attracts and retains more talent, with 75% of respondents citing flexible schedules and remote work as the most effective non-monetary employee retention driver.

–      Remote and flexible work is good for business, with 90% of employees saying it would increase morale and 80% saying they are less stressed.

–      Fewer distractions, less disruption, zero commute, minimal office politics and a more personalised work environment lead to 65% of people stating they are more productive when working from home.

Could the COVID-19 outbreak act as a catalyst for a digitised culture shift in your industry?

With research showing that WFH is a growing trend due to improved employee satisfaction, increased productivity and morale, the question is, will your company be outdated and less attractive once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted if you mandate a return to the office?  

It’s reasonable to suggest that once employees get a taste for the benefits of WFH and your business becomes more profitable as a result, the culture of your business moving forward ought to adopt a more flexible working schedule to compete, as there’s a clear competitive advantage to be had here.  

The reality is that if you do not adapt, your workforce could be more inclined to explore opportunities with your competitors who do promote a flexible working culture and can provide the best technology. Those at the forefront of a new, exciting and rewarding culture will naturally be more attractive the most talented people in your industry.

How is COVID-19 WFH affecting your ability to access the passive candidate market?

Whilst we’re in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s understandable that businesses are having to improvise to keep things running. Supply chains have been affected and markets are suffering which can lead to uncertainty and caution with your hiring plans for 2020.

42% of all hiring managers in our network have stated that being able to engage with the most talented people for their business is the biggest barrier to success with their hiring strategies. The figure is even higher for small- to medium-sized companies who have more niche or expansive role requirements. The second biggest barrier is not being able to compete with salaries offered by larger companies; however, this is where cultural, or non-monetary, benefits are being offered to offset a monetary disadvantage.

With more people in sales and commercial roles being forced to WFH than ever before, there are now more opportunities to market your brand and business. Typically, the most talented people are only available to talk about job opportunities in a confidential environment.

There’s scope to gain a competitive advantage in a number of ways. Here’s how we could help:

–      Gain more clarity than ever on your desired local and international passive candidate pools.

–      Keep the wheels turning with your hiring plans by staying active in passive candidate pools.

–      Champion your company’s value proposition in a time of uncertainty.

–      Market yourselves as a strong organisation with a flexible working culture.

Essentially, if you remain proactive with your hiring strategy for 2020 and beyond, you will be in the strongest position to attract the very best people to your business.

(Sources – https://www.merchantsavvy.co.uk/remote-working-statistics/ , https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/remote-work-statistics/#grefhttps://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/remote-work-statistics/).

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You do what you eat – tapping in to your second brain

You Do What You Eat - Tapping In To Your Second Brain

​‘With a sophisticated neural network transmitting messages from trillions of bacteria, the brain in your gut exerts a powerful influence over the one in your head’.

Millions of partners, friends and family members across the world are finding themselves in a polarised predicament with big decisions to make. Always together or always apart?

 

I find myself in the latter and I have friends facing the former. Either way, the ‘happy medium’ and ‘healthy balance’ we strive for in our personal relationships has never seemed further away or is too close for comfort.

 

This isn’t an article about relationship advice.

I felt, like many others, depressed and defeated with the situation. However, I told my partner that I just had a feeling that things will be great again and we need to keep on keeping on… a feeling that this pain will all be worthwhile even though the end isn’t in sight just yet. I made a decision based on my gut feeling and it felt right.

 

My partner has a mild addiction to TED talks and so was immediately on YouTube checking out what experts were saying about gut feelings and relationships.

What she stumbled across was actually even more interesting and relevant than what we were expecting…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awtmTJW9ic8

 

I found out that:

 

–      The gut is responsible for upwards of 80% of our body’s serotonin production aka your organic happy drug and natural anti-depressant.

–      We have more neurons in our gut than in our spinal cord.

–      Our brain (CNS) and gut (ENS) communicate with one and other. This is known as the ‘Gut-Brain Axis’.

–      Our ENS or ‘second brain’ can operate and think completely independently of our CNS and influences our mood, emotion and mental wellbeing.

–      Our microbiome, the symbiotic bacteria that live in our gut, outnumber all of our body’s own cells by 10 to 1.

–      Our gut doesn’t just help us digest food and harness energy, but also fight diseases and infections by boosting our immune systems.

 

I started to try to comprehend how my gut, something associated with the ‘messy’ emotive work, could be playing a masterful role in my mental wellbeing, ability to fight off infections and key decision making: three key challenges we’re all facing during these times of uncertainty.

 

It sounds obvious now, but I do feel more energised, motivated and cheerful when I eat a healthy, mixed diet. I always presumed this was my brain telling my body I’d been good, not the other way around. I always associated getting ill after a big holiday with ‘dirty aeroplane air’. The fact is the air on a plane is filtered and is particularly clean as a result. It’s more likely that binging on alcohol and unhealthy food whilst on holiday is what hampers my immune system by knocking my microbiome off balance.

Ever really enjoyed eating a 12-inch pizza and drinking a full-sugar Coca Cola at the time but felt depressed later on?

 

I’ve found it so helpful to follow really good tips for keeping my mind active and at ease with home exercise routines, reading and keeping in touch with friends and family via Zoom or Skype. I’m now sharing my focus on how to best look after my gut in order to keep my mind happy and ensure my immune system is fighting fit so that I’m in the right place to hit the ground running once lockdown and social distancing restrictions are lifted.

 

Decision making is crucial. We can’t rely too much on what’s happened in the past when what we’re facing is unprecedented, inconsistent and unpredictable. The decisions you make over the coming weeks, months and rest of the year could be magnified as our surroundings are uncertain. Some hiring managers are being proactive, others are pausing completely. The best candidates are more easily approachable than ever, but they need more reassurance. Businesses are consolidating and some are gaining a competitive advantage.

Keep a healthy gut and go with it. If you gut is saying you’d like some advice on your hiring strategy then give us call – no obligation.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-humans-carry-more-bacterial-cells-than-human-ones/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4367209/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/

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Friday fright night – halloween recruitment fears

Five Things We Learnt From SemiConEuropa 2021

Nathan is the only member of the team who lives alone so we asked what might leave him sleeping with the light on as we approach Hallowe’en this weekend:

“Specifically, ghosts and in general, trying to score an actual date via online dating app.”

​We all know that online dating can be terrifying, but has an experience with a recruiter ever left you with the kind of bad aftertaste you might have after a negative dating experience? Have you ever been left not knowing where you stand in the same way as when a romantic interest doesn’t reply to your texts?

“As technology continues to change our attitudes and approach to communication, the likelihood is that you will experience ghosting not only in your personal life but in professional contexts too, and the job seeking and hiring process is no exception.

Increased levels of ghosting have typically been attributed to a candidate-led employment market with high levels of competition for roles. Data indicates that ghosting has ‘become normalised behaviour within the hiring process’, but this doesn’t mean that this behavioural trend is without adverse effects. According to a report by the recruitment software company Tribepad, over two-thirds of job applicants have been ghosted by a recruiter, and of those who responded, 86% were left feeling down or depressed as a result of the experience. Ghosting is having a real impact on jobseekers’ mental health, to such an extent that Tribepad has launched a campaign called End Ghosting to create greater awareness of the problem of ghosting in recruitment.

It’s understandable then that there have been numerous calls on social media for an end to this worrying trend”.

What’s causing this?

“I know first-hand that people are less likely to respond to my approaches as they either believe the opportunity isn’t genuine and/or the likelihood of being left hanging by a recruiter during the assessment process is too scary a proposition.

This is obviously frustrating as I’m comfortable engaging with people when I don’t have a live vacancy and my Tinder pictures are as real as the come, and I’ll be honest about this. Most of what I do in recruitment is candidate-led and I enjoy building trusted relationships with people. I can empathise with candidates who aren’t always as keen to engage and it’s understandable how this problem manifests itself.Attractive candidates are being super-liked more than ever and the demand for some recruiters to get numbers on the board is high”.

So how can we stop the ghosting cycle?

“I don’t think there’s a fool-proof solution but as recruiters, we have to commit to putting our best foot forward by taking the time to target the right candidates with the right roles instead of swiping right on every LinkedIn profile with a matching keyword, or penchant for pet pics. Maybe recruiters need to be more transparent about what we’re offering upfront as well, divulging more information about the package and perks from the off, which are usually more like second or third date topics – each to their own”.

 

How can we move forward?

“I do honestly believe that the role of a recruiter in the matchmaking process can be underrated, overlooked or not understood. I think candidates would agree that the fear of not knowing is worse than finding out you’re not the right fit. I back myself as being more likely to get a response from a hiring manager than if you apply direct and will do my best to outline and manage expectations without making false promises.

 As in our personal lives, ending ghosting in recruitment requires a commitment to honesty, transparency and empathy within relationships. Communication is a key aspect of any good relationship, and better communication throughout the hiring process, both between the employer and recruiter and between the recruiter and candidate, would go a long way to minimise the impact of ghosting in the hiring process”.

I’d be interested to hear what candidates need to know about an opportunity to initiate engagement – whether positive or negative.

I’d also like to hear what candidates most enjoy about having a recruiter as a wing-person and what they would like to be done differently.