The skills needed to find the skilled: how to find the talent you need

Finding talent can take talent. Getting the right employee for the job can be a huge challenge for any business. A 2020 survey by Glassdoor found that 76% of hiring decision makers cite attracting quality candidates as their biggest challenge when it comes to recruiting. So, how can you break the mould and get the talented and passionate employees that you need and deserve?

Fourth in the series of our Let’s Talk Talent webinars, in partnership with Give A Grad A Go, Sophie Milliken, an experienced managing director at SRS recruitment teams up with Jo Dalton, founder of JD & Co. The talented two discuss the best methods to employ when seeking out that special employee for your business.

What makes the perfect job description?

“It’s just making sure its fit for purpose and you haven’t got stuff in there for the sake of it” – Sophie Milliken

Provided you know what you need, the first step is to put the position out there. With so many seeking employment and employees and a record number of job vacancies in the UK,  how can you make your job description stand out and reel in the people you want?

Short and sweet

“Has anyone actually ever read one that’s that great?” asks Sophie, briefly lamenting the frequency with which she finds job descriptions “boring and traditional”. First impressions are always important; Sophie’s advice to those looking to spruce up their job descriptions and entice potential employees rather than putting them to sleep is: “Be brief and to the point, no jargon, no internal language that makes it difficult for people to understand.”

Picture and perspective

Jo Dalton agrees:“I think just painting a picture of your company and the culture is so important,” she says. Also attesting to the importance of considering the candidate when writing up the description, Jo adds: “It’s important to write it from the candidates perspective.”

The panellists agree that it’s important to consider you’re the one offering the job, you need to take into account what a candidate might want, or get from the position. “What are they going to get from you, what are they going to get in their career?” poses Jo.

Wants and needs

Furthering into why a job description is so important, Sophie talks about some of the things that can go wrong during headhunting: “The obvious things that can go wrong are probably not attracting any candidates, or not very many,” says Sophie.

One of the biggest things that can turn candidates away is a ‘hostile’ job description; one that outlines your “needs” and “musts” can immediately dissuade a candidate with bags of potential. Sophie encourages employers to really consider whether or not that list of essential requirements is really needed.  


Occasionally, job descriptions choose to not mention the salary of the position. It’s something Sophie believes is a “waste of people’s time”.

Managing the expectations of the applicants is an important part of the process and ties back in with writing the description from their perspective. People want to know what to expect when applying for a job and it’s better to have those that apply to have more realistic expectations.

Not being clear and concise about all the important aspects of a job can lead to an application being a waste of time for the applicant and the employer. Sophie says even if the salary isn’t exact, “my advice would be to have a guide. It can be quite wide, but at least it gives the candidates an indication whether or not they can actually go for it.”

Years of experience

“I don’t think [experience] necessarily means anything” says Sophie, discussing the validity of experience when it comes to looking for the right candidate. Jo and Sophie continue on, agreeing that despite many years of experience someone might have, that doesn’t necessarily make them a good fit for the job.

“Luckily it’s becoming extinct like the dinosaurs,” says Jo, giving some telling insight into the declining amount of jobs seeking out people entirely based on their years of experience in a particular industry, rather, focusing on their own personal skills.

Avenues for hiring

With the job market so saturated, employers and potential employees need to put themselves out there as much as possible. Jo urges everyone – employers and candidates – to be “living on LinkedIn”. She explains that the first thing an employer or candidate does is research the other, and that should take them to a LinkedIn page or profile.

LinkedIn plays a vital role in building personal brand as a candidate, and business brand as an employer, strengthening the ability to hire or hireability. “The more [authentic] connections you’ve got, the wider your job spec will travel,” says Jo. 

“It’s important that everyone in your company is sharing it, liking it, leaving your digital footprint with the people you’re potentially interested in talking to.”

Sophie agrees, recalling her own personal experiences with the platform: “I’ve shared things just for people I know before, and they’ve got in touch with me afterwards and said ‘it was someone that saw your post that applied and they were brilliant.’”

While a great platform, you do have to put in a bit of legwork to truly thrive on LinkedIn. 

“You don’t just want to pop up and post that [job specs] every six months,” mentions Sophie, furthering on into the fact that rather than simply using it as a platform to advertise, people engaging with your ads and you yourself engaging with others is what can get you the most success.

Vocation location

“If location isn’t an issue for particular roles, you’ve suddenly got access to every human on the planet.” – Jo Dalton

The new way of working seen over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic has opened the eyes of many businesses as to the real restrictions of exclusively hiring local employees. 

“Being as flexible as you can be, you might get some awesome people you’ve not had access to in the past” says Sophie.

It’s no doubt that hiring outside of the local area (or even country)  opens up the horizons for many businesses, especially those smaller start-ups that can’t yet justify the expense of office space. 

“We’re actually in danger of a real talent drain,” says Jo, mentioning that the recently lifted location restrictions of her own company when it comes to hiring potential talent across the globe has encouraged many talented British employees in tech to deviate towards companies across Europe due to remote working.

“Talent has never been in such short supply” – Jo Dalton

Don’t stress

You can be hard pressed to find the people you need for the job, but many have seen great success through many of these methods. Keep your avenues open, write your job descriptions appropriate to the role and candidate and consider external help from the variety of schemes and grants out there, intended to help businesses like yours. Kickstart, grants and many other options are available when you’ve got big ideas but need an equally big talent-pool.

 With over a decade in the graduate recruitment industry and a database of over 400,000 graduates; Give A Grad A Go know how to write a job specification to attract the right candidates. Get in touch for more information on Give A Grad A Go’s UK Recruitment Services.