Many potential candidates may not even be actively looking for a job, which means employers need to utilise a wide range of strategies, writes Jimmy Bent


We’re officially in spring, the season of green shoots and there are some indicators that the job market outlook reflects this. We saw a strong start to the year with new vacancy numbers bouncing back strongly in January and even stronger in February. They did plateau slightly in March and an earlier than usual Easter compounded this.

There is a mixed outlook from practices we’re talking to. Redundancies are still happening, but unlike previous rounds, they’re not driven by pessimism or planning for a downturn. Some companies have been holding out in anticipation of a workload increase that hasn’t materialised, forcing them to make some tough decisions.

In contrast, there has been a noticeable trend of mid-size to large firms ramping up staffing, building project teams with both permanent and contract staff. This presents a unique challenge for hiring managers: generating enough interest in their vacancies to attract a large pool of qualified applicants.

Engaging with a recruitment agency will give you access to a substantial database of applicants; Bespoke Careers has built a database of over 140,000 pre-screened candidates in the 20 years we’ve been in business. But it’s common that some practices want to recruit for themselves (many will do so as well as working with an agency). Those that do, will know there has been a seismic shift in the way jobseekers are finding new opportunities.

The traditional jobs boards that used to dominate the market are no longer the default go-to for jobseekers both within the industry and outside of it. Specialists with good reputations and high traffic still have value in the marketplace. However, the way people engage with content online has changed significantly over the past 10 years, including job hunting.

It’s critical for employers to adapt their recruitment strategies in order to stay ahead

It’s commonly said that the most desirable candidates aren’t actively looking for jobs because they already have them. While hiring managers that use job boards are generating plenty of CVs, the majority of the best talent in the industry are not actively looking for work.

Millennials and Gen X are digital natives, and rather than having to go search for relevant content and opportunities, they’re more comfortable engaging with content that hits their daily feed. Social media algorithms have improved immeasurably in recent years, meaning relevant job posts are more likely than ever to reach the right audience at the right times.

So how are hiring managers adjusting to the new hiring landscape?

Employers are having a lot of success on social media sites such as Instagram and LinkedIn. 76% of jobseekers are using social media when job hunting, and many of those will be actively following the companies they want to work for. The employers that are seeing the best results are curating feeds that showcase their best work which attracts audiences of likeminded architects and designers. They then leverage this audience by (sparingly) marketing their job openings to them.

It’s worth noting that employer branding isn’t just limited to social media and should be considered wholistically if you want to attract great talent. Read more about employer branding in a previous article I wrote here.

LinkedIn has played a massive role in changing the landscape for job hunters. Just a few years ago, many architects and designers disregarded the platform, viewing its corporate aesthetic as incompatible with their design sensibilities. But LinkedIn’s recent growth has been extraordinary, and more and more A&D professionals are utilising the platform to gain industry specific insight, build their networks, and of course, find jobs.

Considering the rapidly evolving recruitment landscape, it’s critical for employers to adapt their recruitment strategies in order to stay ahead. This includes leveraging niche platforms, cultivating a compelling employer brand, emphasising their values and design philosophies, and working with specialised recruitment agencies to find the best talent.