Recruiting in the skills shortage - Ask the expert

Our Managing Partner, Nik Pratap has been interviewed by Yorkshire Business Insider this week to provide his insights on how our region’s employers can how to recruit effectively for skills that are in short supply.

You can view the article on Insider’s website here –



Thoughts on recruiting in the skills shortage, employer value proposition, online branding and choosing the right specialist recruiter… How important is it in todays market? Nik Pratap, managing partner at Pratap Partnership offers his expertise.

There are three major challenges for the recruitment sector at present;

  • Unemployment levels are at their lowest level since the 1970s
  • The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG report on jobs have just reported a seventh consecutive month of decline in the number of permanent hires
  • Widespread reports of a widening gap in some key skills such as engineering, healthcare and finance

This creates a challenging climate for many employers to recruit in. How can employers ensure that their recruitment strategy is effective?


The bar has been raised for the standard here over recent years – to meet the demands of millennials and modern candidates. It is a common mistake to assume that candidates are only attracted to the traditional headlines of salary and job description. Candidates now have access to so much more information and have different priorities now when looking for their next job. To maximise the potential for success in your recruitment campaign, your EVP needs to address;

  • Values
  • Culture (including working patterns – See our Report on Agile Working )
  • CSR
  • Senior Leadership Team biographies
  • Rising Start biographies
  • Learning & Development
  • Promotional opportunities
  • Mindfulness
  • Social life
  • Benefits
  • Infrastructure (including office and technology)
  • Your market – customers and suppliers

Along with the salary and job description, that is 14 areas that need to be considered before you recruit. Any one of these items could be instrumental in recruiting your best candidate


There is often a gap between how the candidate pool perceives an employer’s reputation and reality. Potential candidates will look at any of the following before forming their opinion on a potential employer;

  • Company’s own careers page
  • Company LinkedIn page
  • Current employees’ LinkedIn pages
  • Glassdoor & Indeed, where employees can rate their employer. See our guide on how to use Glassdoor


Choosing the right consultancy for your recruitment is a different decision to 20 years ago. There are now many more smaller specialists than large corporates (There were 18,000 recruitment businesses incorporated in the UK compared to 31,000 today. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how many individuals work in the sector)

Large recruitment consultancies historically used the USP of their “enormous candidate databases”. LinkedIn and online CV platforms have seen the smaller consultancies be able to counter that benefit. This has led to a shift in employers toward using specialist consultancies – specialising in the discipline they need, the market they operate in or their location

Candidate behaviours have shifted from actively searching for jobs through the job adverts, to positioning themselves to be found by a recruiter and placing their trust in a single or small number of consultants. It is likely that they will have been attracted to the consultant through reputation, networking or previous experience. This means that consultant will be able to provide their clients with access to more candidates with relevant skills, who are not active job seekers and are of a very high quality.

When choosing which recruiter to work with, my recommendation is to look at the profile and reputation of the individual consultant who you are working with over the business. Through my time of working in a multinational corporate recruitment business to working in my own business, I have always maintained that 80% of the strength of a recruitment proposition lies in the individual consultant and 20% within their business. A good consultant with the right network, motivation and resources still represents the best chance of finding the proverbial “moon on a stick” candidate!


Jamie Waugh is Talent Manager at Endless LLP;

“There are many good recruitment agencies and head-hunters out there and over the past few months I have assessed many of them, which has enabled me to choose a hand-full of trusted partners. When choosing who to work with I looked at track record, ability to deliver to the brief, a firm with a clear understanding of Endless and Enact’s culture and what it takes to work for one of our portfolio companies. I work with recruiters who gave me confidence that they truly believed in the relationship as much as I did.”