Future Talent Recruitment: Top Trends for 2018

2018 is well and truly underway and, with a new year, there are new Future Talent predictions and trends.

The coming year is set to have some game changers in the recruitment space which, themselves, will accelerate the wake of other concomitant trends and ground-breaking advancements. However, what will continue to remain a challenge is the fierce and fast-paced competition to recruit best and brightest Future Talent.

Without further ado – here are our top trends that will influence the world of Future Talent recruitment in 2018:

  • Diversity, Diversity, Diversity

Improving diversity is at the top of the agenda of Future Talent recruiters across the UK, and has been for some time now. In fact, according to the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) – 75% of employers took specific actions to improve Graduate diversity in 2017, and 40% choose the Universities they visit based entirely on the diversity of the enrolled students.

The pre-existing disparities between gender in a large number of industries still remains a massive issue for recruiters. Recruiting male Graduates into Social Care and female Graduates into Construction are merely two examples of the bigger diversity picture, and the misconceptions that recruiters are having to work to overcome.

But, diversity goes much deeper than gender, which only works to make it more of an issue and, therefore, a focus for recruiters and organisations alike.

Why is this a trend for 2018?

Improving diversity in your workforce brings with it so many additional advantages and positives. First and foremost – the variety of talents, skills, experiences and backgrounds will offer any number of different perspectives on organisational issues, and work the same way for solutions.

Secondly – once your workforce becomes more diverse, it will only continue to improve. In somewhat of a Snowball Effect – once it’s started, diversity will continue to develop and grow itself.

Finally – employee performance and productivity. Employees are automatically more likely to feel more comfortable and happy in an environment where inclusivity is an organisational priority. They feel more valued, and more confident in their surroundings. As we all know – happy employees translate into productive ones.

  • Graduate Schemes with a Masters chucked in

The increasing competition for a dwindling talent pool of top Future Talent means that organisations are having to think about offering a more attractive package than their competitors.

Why? The more attractive your offering – the more likely you are to attract the top talent.

In fact, in our 2017 survey report on Parental Influence – respondents told us that future progression opportunities was the most important factor in their decision to influence their child. As you can imagine – acquiring a Masters during their Graduate scheme will open doors, and opportunities for career advancement in the future. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Personally, we’re keeping tabs on this trend. Our 2018 survey report will tell us whether or not this has been an important aspect of Future Talent recruitment this year.

  • Artificial Intelligence

For 2018, artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to have a significant impact on both recruitment and workplace culture. It will continue to change how everybody works, both individually and together, and will likely replace certain workers in their roles.

In fact, LinkedIn has reported that AI is acting as a “boon for recruiters and hiring managers”, which is helping them to source and screen candidates.

Also, with human involvement – there is bound to be some level of bias present in the recruitment process. If machine learning were to take over – bias would be removed, and the best candidates would be matched to roles based entirely upon their skills.

Look out for a continued growth of AI solutions marketed to the sector – we will review the better ones throughout the year.

  • The Role of People Analytics in Decision-Making

People Analytics, sometimes referred to as Talent or HR Analytics, is the method of analysis that can help recruiters, managers and the C-Suite make decisions about their workforce.

It’s generally true that decisions informed by data and analytics are often more substantial and effective than otherwise. Thus, People Analytics is becoming a more accepted HR practice. In a similar vein to AI – People Analytics reduces the presence of bias in decision-making, meaning you’re more likely to make impactful decisions that drive the change you need.

The role of People Analytics is set to endure throughout 2018, as recruiters are looking to significantly improve their ROI.

  • The Candidate Experience

Candidate experience has always been the centre-piece of recruitment strategies. Why? A positive candidate experience is synonymous with a good reputation as an employer. A good reputation as an employer means you’re more likely to reach, engage and retain the best candidates for your roles.

Graduates and Apprentices, speaking from experience, are often left frustrated when they’re kept in the dark by prospective employers. What’s happened with their application? Do you have any feedback to help them improve their chances next time?

A positive candidate experience has so many benefits for recruiters, both tangible and intangible. Whilst candidates are more likely to accept a job offer following a positive recruitment experience, they’re also more likely to translate into more productive, efficient and hard-working Future Talent.

An ongoing shortage of top talent will require recruiters to win the war on engagement, before they can win the war on talent.

  • Parental Influence in Future Talent Decisions

Every year – one of our Talent Directors, Debbie Edmondson, collects data and produces a report around the role of parents in the decisions of Future Talent candidates. And, as you would expect, every year we see something different.

Regardless – it’s safe to say that employers are getting smarter at reaching, engaging and retaining the best talent.

The number of Future Talent vacancies, even following the Apprenticeship Levy, is shrinking, and is perceived by many as a premature impact of Britain’s impending exit from the European Union. And, with more and more Graduates reneging on their offers each and every year – you can’t help but wonder why.

The role of parents in influencing the decisions of Future Talent candidates is certainly not one that should be taken lightly or overlooked. In fact, in our research, our respondents (parents of Graduates) indicated that they influence at least 2 out of 3 of the main decisions their child needs to make, namely:

  • Which academic route to take;
  • Which particularly industries or employer(s) they should consider, and;
  • Whether to accept or reject each individual offer.

As the year passes, and we continue into 2019 (I know, scary, right…) – we wholly anticipate the role of parents to exacerbate the current competitive environment of Future Talent recruitment.


2018 is set to be a massive rollercoaster for recruitment, especially in Future Talent as a new cohort of Graduates begin their new jobs and Apprentices break into their respective fields of work. We can only speculate on what may or may not happen – only time will tell.

With that being said – watch this space, and have a fantastic year of recruitment.

5 Strategies for Building Effective Talent Pools in a Competitive Market

So, your team have spent countless hours and resources recruiting into a role. You’ve had to go back out to market for a role you’ve had hundreds of applications for before.

You may begin to group your candidates together in your Applicant Tracking System – but, you can’t always dip into it and find an easy fill. Shouldn’t that be how talent pools work?

Shouldn’t I be able to fill roles quickly using candidates I’ve kept in my talent pools?

Despite popular belief – having a bunch of previous applicants or data-mined candidates does not always constitute a talent pool, let alone a fruitful one. Bear in mind, there are a lot of different factors that can contribute to either the success or failure of your talent pools.

For quite some time now, talent pools have allowed HR teams and recruiters alike the ability to recruit effectively and efficiently, without having to invest tonnes of resource into it. So, without a shadow of a doubt – if you aren’t leveraging the recruiting power of talent pools, they could be the most effective recruiting tactic you’re ignoring.

First things first – what are talent pools?

Talent pools are shortlists of candidates that aren’t currently being considered for a role by your organisation (they’re not technically applicants). They may be previous applicants that didn’t fit the role they applied for, or you may have found them via other means.

If you really think about it, the majority of the population could be your talent pool. Which, technically, is correct. However, it would be an impressive feat to be in consistent communication with that many people…

It’s important to remember that talent pools don’t always need to contain candidates that match up for current vacancies. Instead, they’ll be candidates that you want to keep an eye on for the future.

Therefore – effective talent pooling is an efficient way for recruiters to maintain a constant flow of candidates into your business.

But, what strategies can you and your team implement to begin building effective talent pools?

  • Engaging Unsuccessful Applicants

Just because a candidate wasn’t suitable for a role they applied for previously, doesn’t mean they aren’t suitable for your company at all. These candidates who have already shown significant interest in your company by applying are ideal for your talent pool. 

In the UK, each vacancy receives a tonne of applications. That leaves plenty of unsuccessful candidates that, if you’re not careful, might not show interest in working for you again. But, you’d like to think that at least a handful of candidates who aren’t suitable for the role they initially apply for might be relevant for your company in the future, right?

Think about it – all of these candidates have been assessed against your indicators and company values. So, you understand their competency and have already invested a significant amount of resource into them to find that out. Why not try and get the most out of them?

If you really want to begin building talent pools of previous candidates – it’s important to keep interview notes, interviewer feedback and information around why they weren’t hired for the role. All of this information is talent pool gold, because it helps you and your team decide who is truly relevant.

  • Careers Fairs & Events

Investing time and resource into recruitment events and careers fairs is a great way to build your employer brand, whilst attracting top talent to your company and familiarizing them with exactly who you are.

Events take a lot of planning, because there’s a lot going on. It can be hard to manage and nurture all of the candidates that register and attend. Usually, it’s a case of getting candidates to sign their details onto a spreadsheet, for them to be sent the occasional email blast with ‘Current Vacancies’ in hope of generating a few extra applications somewhere.

Talent pools are a far more effective way of tracking these candidates, and keeping tabs on them.

One of the most difficult things in recruitment is determining ROI. As hard as it may be to believe – talent pools make it easier to determine the return you see. How, you may ask?

A strong Applicant Tracking System is to recruitment, as Google Analytics is to marketing. It allows you to track where your visitors, or applicants, come from, and whether or not they end up applying. Through it, you can determine how successful each of your recruitment endeavours is.

If you already have a bunch of spreadsheets from events with hundreds of candidates’ details, it’s usually pretty simple to import them into your ATS to begin managing your talent pools more effectively.

  • Internal Talent Pools

Recruiting is both expensive AND challenging, especially if you’re looking to hire for more senior roles. So, being able to turn to a pool of internal candidates can be a big time and cost saver.

So, why are internal talent pools better than looking externally?

Well – your recruitment team will already have a strong understanding of candidates’ competencies, while the candidate already has an idea of the role and the requirements of working for the company. Also, you can be confident in the fact that your internal candidates will be a good cultural fit for your business.

Promote your open roles to your internal talent pools in a similar way to how you would for external candidates. More often than not, internal candidates can be dissuaded from showing real interest in a role when they’re forced to apply.

Adopting a similar marketing approach for internal candidates as you have for external candidates will result in far more internal applications, and more effective succession planning.

  • Company Leavers

When people leave your company – it’s often not forever. In fact, from the thousands of exit and retention interviews we’ve completed for our clients – more often than not, leavers would be interested in returning at some point down the line. So, what do we do for our clients when leavers tell us that?

Correct – we put them into a talent pool. But, how do we get them there?

Exit interviews are perfect for building a talent pool of previous employees who would consider re-employment with your company in the future. Conduct the interview with each of your leavers, and ask them whether or not they’d be interested in hearing about future opportunities. If they say ‘Yes’ – put them in your talent pool.

It’s a simple way of building talent pools of candidates who already know what it’s like to work for your company. That’s invaluable in recruitment.

  • Networking

Networking isn’t just something that should be left up to the sales team – it’s very much a powerful recruitment tool, too.

This method is, arguably, one of the most effective, because it often results in a lot of referrals. Which, according to RecruiterBox, means that you’re more likely to retain your new hires – with companies finding that referred employees are 23% less likely to quit than other hires.

Your brightest and best employees should proactively network and engage with talented employees in similar roles or with the desirable, transferable skills that are required to succeed in your industry.


To conclude – building effective and efficient talent pools is only one part of what constitutes a successful recruitment strategy. Alone, they won’t work as effectively. However, when combined with effective attraction strategies, consistent and appropriate engagement, and seamless onboarding – your talent pools should be concomitant, and basically fill themselves.

The 3 Big Mistakes that are Damaging your Employer Brand (and how to fix them!)

Every year, companies invest tonnes of resource into building their employer brand.

Why? Because your employer brand is the cornerstone of your reputation as an employer. It’s very much a candidate-driven market, so you’re competing with other organisations for the same pool of talent.

How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? How do you stand out amongst the crowd?

Simple – your employer brand.

As defined by the CIPD, your employer brand is:

“…a set of attributes and qualities, often intangible, that makes an organisation distinctive, promises a particular kind of employment experience, and appeals to those who will thrive and perform best in its culture.”

Ultimately, it boils down to how you position yourself as an ‘employer of choice’, amongst your competitors and the pool of candidates. Contrary to popular belief – it’s not all about how big you are as a company. It’s not about how successful you are, or how much money you make. It’s entirely about how your employees feel working for you.

According to Glassdoor – 69% of candidates would not take a job with a business that had a bad reputation.

It’s quite clear how important your employer brand is, especially in generating the greatest return possible for your recruitment endeavours. But, what mistakes could you be making that are damaging your employer brand?

  • Not understanding, or trying to understand, where you’re going wrong

Nothing is perfect, and mistakes will always be made. To save yourself from making the same mistakes over and over again – you need to understand exactly where you’re going wrong. Is there something wrong with your recruitment process? Do your management team require any additional management training?

At what point, in an employee’s experience with your brand, do things go wrong?

Finding this out is simple, and resolving the issues will work wonders for your employee turnover, experience, and employer brand. However, it does require some additional investment of resource.

Solution: Exit and Retention Interviews

It’s simple, isn’t it? If you don’t understand what’s going wrong – ask. The very people who are experiencing what’s wrong are your employees, and they’re the ones you should be asking.

Implementing an exit and retention interview solution is the perfect method for finding out what you need to know. The following questions could form the basis of your solution, and help you really get to the bottom of any employee issues your business suffers from:

  • What do you enjoy about your role with us?
  • Is there anything you would change about the role?
  • What was your main reason for leaving our business?
  • What could we have done differently to have made you stay?
  • What advice would you give us to make future joiners more comfortable?

Use the information these questions give you to improve your recruitment process.

  • Your candidates don’t feel respected or valued, particularly if they don’t get the job

Regardless of what happens – it’s important to make sure your candidates’ experiences are always positive, respectful and fair.

Understandably – you can’t offer every applicant a job. Candidates know that, they understand it, and they respect it. You not offering them the role they applied for isn’t what damages your employer brand.

It’s how you do it. Also, in most instances – it’s whether or not you actually do it.

Think about it – candidates apply for a role with your company. They get through a couple of the initial pre-screening stages, after which your recruiters determine they aren’t suitable to continue through the process. You let all of them, regardless of how many there are, know the outcome – right?

Sadly – most companies don’t. Completely cutting your candidates off without even communicating with them is more damaging to your employer brand than letting them know they haven’t got the job.

Solution: Communication

Solving this issue all boils down to something as simple as communication.

Keep candidates informed throughout the process, from receipt of their application, through to the final decision your recruitment team make. There’s nothing more nerve-wracking for a candidate than waiting to hear back from an employer about a role you applied for.

There’s nothing worse than waiting to hear back from an employer, and not hearing anything at all.

There’s also nothing worse for your employer brand than having a bunch of candidates with negative opinions of your company, simply because they didn’t hear anything from you. Even if your communication is letting the candidates know they’ve not been successful – they’ll appreciate it a lot more than being left in the dark.

If you’d like to go the extra mile – offer candidates the opportunity to call your team to receive detailed feedback on their performance, and give them advice on where they went wrong and how they can improve it for next time.

  • Your company has a weak online presence, and you’re difficult to find

It’s common knowledge that, nowadays, all of your potential candidates will be researching your company, and trying to find out as much as they possibly can. Why? Every bit of information they find will help inform whether or not they actually want to work for you.

That being said – potential candidates can only find the information if it’s there to be found.

In an environment as competitive as recruitment, especially in some sectors, this lack of information can often be the difference between receiving the application, and not. In that vein – the candidate that doesn’t end up submitting an application may well have been the one who would’ve received the job offer.

With your online presence, it’s not necessarily a case of damaging your employer brand – it’s more that it will never truly materialize.

So, how do you solve this problem?

Solution: Update your Website & Manage your Social Channels

Having a company Facebook page and Twitter account is a good start – but it’s no longer as simple as that. Job seekers and potential candidates expect employers to have built and be maintaining a strong online presence across multiple channels. What does this mean? It means a user-friendly company website and active social media accounts as a bare minimum.

You don’t need to invest hours of marketing and recruitment resource into building your online presence. It all starts with talking about recent company news across your social channels, sharing photos and videos of achievements, and generally showing pride in your brand.

More importantly – engage with potential candidates as often as you can. Respond to their reviews. Ask and answer questions. Share relevant content. Keep them involved in the conversation.


Building a strong employer brand will always make your company more appealing to potential candidates. Something as simple as this can help you compete in the market, and gain the upper hand over your competitors. Whilst it’s simple to build – it’s also just as easy to undo all of your hard work and send yourself back to square one.

To build a believable employer brand – you need to be a good employer. There’s no way to fake it. You need to understand where you’re going wrong, communicate with all of your candidates regardless of the outcome, and get yourself online.

Your employer brand isn’t just a passing trend – it’s something that can, and will, directly affect the success of your recruitment efforts.

Can Industrial Placement Students support your Graduate Recruitment Process?

As Industrial Placement schemes continue to gain popularity – we thought it would be interesting to review their impact on graduate retention rates. Particularly, since most firms offer industrial placement students the promise of a graduate role upon completion of their degree.

With 2018 set to be another year of economic growth and increased business investment, alongside increasing employee turnover as the Baby Boomer generation seek retirement, it is expected that the student and graduate market will face a growth in demand.

At this time of year, we are right in the middle of Graduate Season! And, there are a vast number of graduate applicants, right? So, how come there will be hundreds of graduate roles left vacant at the end of the process this year?

There many different aspects that attract graduates to your organisation, but what if you could attract the best talent a year before they graduate, whilst enhancing their soft skills.

We recommend using Industrial Placement students to fill your graduate vacancies. Not only can you make them more employable and suitable for your organisation through a year of pre-training, they are more likely to come back to your organisation after they graduate! Keeping you a year ahead of your graduate recruitment campaigns.

Let’s hear it from the experts!

First off, let’s hear it from Universities who know the ins and outs of graduates.  Aston University recently informed us that 30% of companies offer their placement students a job after graduation. This supports the placement programme to be an efficient and cost-effective way for employers to recruit graduates. What more could you want?

Graduate roles are important to organisations – as they are the future of our workforce. Therefore we need to retain our best talent!

If an industrial placement student returns after graduation, they will be provided with a clearer insight into your company, its structure, mission statement and expectations of their job role. So effectively, they are only progressing from where they left off – with reached expectations reducing the chances of a costly drop out after training.

With this in mind – Aston University sets its sights on enrolling 100 percent of its student body in a placement year by 2020. Universities are continuing to promote the importance of securing an internship in order to secure a future graduate position.  Meaning that as recruiters, you will be handed returning Industrial Placement students on a plate.

So, what are the advantages to employers?

As the graduate market continues to be the major source of future talent for firms, it is important to gain a recruiting advantage by creating an industrial placement scheme which is cultivated to the developmental needs of the student:

  • A chance to take on lively, competent, energetic young people;
  • The opportunity to survey some of the best students before they graduate;
  • A cost-effective solution to short-term staffing and project work;
  • During their final year, students may carry out an employer inspired final year major project, which can be of benefit to both student and employer.

So, what is the difference between an internship and graduate recruitment process?

One large multi-national logistics organisation that recruits both graduates and interns run exactly the same process for both. They find that there is no needs to create a duplicate recruitment process other than to bear in mind that interns have slightly less experience than graduates when assessing responses.

And they explain that there is no need to repeat the process when hiring an intern back in a graduate role – they are already set up for their graduate position. The quality and tenure of the graduates that were previous interns are higher. This is supported by the extended, structured training process of the internship or industrial placement, with the returning graduate coming back to the organisation with already developed soft skills such as teamwork, and communication, and probably some basic professional skills too.

When interns are provided with a positive snapshot of your business then they will be more loyal and inclined to want to return after their work placement. This also helps to reduce graduate drop-out during your recruitment process.

Of course- there are so many more reasons why you should use internship programmes to recruit your future workforce. We have only discussed some of the benefits and how they can impact your business in the long run when recruiting graduates.

Work placements can help you set your graduates up for years of success in your company if you give them an exciting insight into your organisation. Did you know that 59% of graduate hires for the top undergraduate employers comprised of previous placement students and interns?

Providing undergraduate placement programmes allows valuable insight into your workplace and employee culture, often increasing the chances of your placement student’s return after graduation.

If you would like any further information on placements or graduates programmes – get in touch with Cohesion today.

5 Tips for improving your Recruitment Advertising


It’s easy to plough through hundreds of applications and recruit the cream of the crop, right? What’s not so easy is actually getting hundreds of candidates to apply for your vacancies. This is where your recruitment advertising becomes absolutely fundamental.

Some may argue that your employer brand is what attracts your candidates, and that’s either good enough to do so, or it’s not. But, surely that would mean only a handful of organisations receive the best applicants?

As with everything – it’s about how you market it. It’s about how you package your vacancies. It’s easy to forget that recruitment is a two-way street and, whilst a lot of high-quality candidates will be automatically attracted to global organisations – any company can sell themselves to the best talent. However, you need to know how.

1. Ask yourself “so what?”

Okay, your organisation won an award – so what? How is that going to benefit your candidates if they choose to apply for your vacancy and, subsequently, join you? As I said before – it’s easy to forget that recruitment is a two-way street. Bragging about who you are, and the awards you’ve won, won’t attract the best candidates. Because, well – the award you won isn’t going to benefit them.

Whenever you’re writing job descriptions and summaries of your organisation – empathise with your ideal candidate. What will they want to gain by working in your Finance department? What skills will they acquire? Will they get involved with any important events?

2. Ask your current employees

If you asked all of your employees today what they’d tell their friends about working for your business – do you know what they’d say? Do you know what really wakes them up in the morning and drives them to get to the office early? Could you tell me what makes your employees not want to leave?

If your answer to any of the above is ‘no’ – go and ask them. You should especially ask any employees that are currently working in the role, or a similar role, that you’re in the process of recruiting for.

Doing so will help you to build an honest image of what it’s really like to work for you. This can then be communicated in all of your recruitment advertising.

3. Bring your business to life

To really make an impact with your recruitment advertising – you should be using it to tell a story. Bring your business to life by showcasing the employee culture. Using video as a medium of recruitment advertising shows a true reflection of who you are, and why other employees love working there.

You can use videos when recruiting any demographic. For Future Talent – why not record previous apprentices and graduates talking about their experiences, and why they’re glad they chose to work for you? The beautiful thing about video is that you can physically see emotion. This will engage your ideal candidates, because it gives them something to relate to.

4. Get Social

There are so many different forms of Social Media available nowadays, it can sometimes be quite difficult to choose which one is best for you. In short – they’re all the best for you.

Using a number of different Social Media platforms will help you to reach a much broader audience than if you’re selective with them. In the UK alone – Facebook has more than 32 million users; LinkedIn boasts over 21 million users, and; Twitter sustains a very strong user base of around 20 million people. You should be able to find your ideal candidates somewhere in there – surely?

You can use each and every platform to reach your audience. What’s more important is my next point…

5. Be Consistent

It’s absolutely imperative that you establish a clear message in your recruitment advertising. According to the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association – “clear brand messages across all recruiting channels and methods helps recruiters match candidates with culture.” Everything about your business should be crystal clear from your brand message, and this should be maintained all of the time.

In some ways – it can be quite dangerous losing this consistency and changing your brand message. Why? Well, by pure coincidence – at the moment in time that the inconsistent message airs, it could be found by hundreds of potential applicants. And, to make matters worse – the majority of those candidates could be completely wrong for your business.

It’s not worth the risk. Maintain your consistency, and keep your brand message the same in all of your marketing.


It’s a lot more difficult than you think to attract your ideal candidate to apply for your role. In April of this year, according to Trading Economics – there were 770,000 jobs available. It’s highly likely that a fair amount of those will be looking for the exact same candidate you are. You need to be making yourself stand out – not just in your employer branding efforts, but in all of your recruitment marketing efforts.