I was thrilled to speak at the recent Smarter Working for Public Sector conference in London. It was a brilliant day with truly inspiring presentations and progressive debates.

I was invited to talk about Smarter Working in the context of the recruitment and selection of personnel. The target audience was senior government directors, however many of the topics discussed are highly relevant to other sectors as well.

In today’s competitive market, hiring managers need to learn how to ‘recruit differently’ to secure and retain candidates with in-demand technical and business skills.

The majority of hiring managers and recruiters simply undertake the traditional recruitment advertising on LinkedIn or the big job sites and will therefore only reach their traditional candidate pool.

Instead, I always encourage clients to try more diverse and inclusive channels and approaches. For example, for some candidates the initial communication over the phone is very challenging. Why don’t we ask candidates how they want to engage with us? There is so much great technology that can be used, incl. WhatsApp and other messaging platforms.

Furthermore, organisations that want to engage with and compete for the best talent must also have a strong and compelling brand story as well as the ability to reach and share this ‘story’ with potential candidates.

We recently ran a very successful recruitment campaign for Croydon Council where we developed a bespoke careers site, a media plan and innovative as well as flexible, fair and inclusive application methods such as digital bios.

Croydon is an excellent example of a Smart Client that has the vision and courage to try different recruitment methods and channels. In order to tell Croydon’s ‘story’ we used a wide range of video content where hiring managers and other team members talked about the organisation, the role and the expectations. This also helped to ensure that the candidates that applied were genuinely interested in and committed to the opportunity on offer.

If you want to hire the best AND retain the best, you need to think differently, be creative and brave.