As Britain returns to economic health, changes are underfoot in the recruitment sector. Temporary and permanent vacancies alike are hitting post-recession highs, skills are in short supply and the candidate pool is growing slimmer by the day.

In summary, we’re re-entering a candidate-driven market for the first time in years. Recruiters and employers aren’t calling the shots any more – instead, they’re falling over one another to get their hands on top-shelf talent. On the other end of the spectrum, jobseekers are enjoying an unprecedented degree of freedom to pick and choose where they work – not to mention the relishing opportunities to jump ship if they aren’t happy, knowing full well there’ll be someone else willing to pay top dollar for their services.

If you’re a recruiter, these trends as a whole mean finding candidates is now only half the battle. You’re suddenly being called upon to really sell your clients to potential applicants, convincing them you’ve got better posts on offer than any of your competitors.

So what do candidates want to hear about the companies you’re telling them they should work for? According to a recent survey carried out by, which polled nearly 9,000 jobseekers, there are lots of effective ways recruiters can market their clients. Here are five of the most important.

They offer a supportive work environment

A massive nine out of ten respondents told they were tempted by workplaces in which they were promised a supportive environment – not financial rewards, or the promise of career progression, but capable colleagues and the opportunity to build on their talents.

As such, you should highlight your clients’ expertise, as well as their people skills – it might appeal to candidates’ needs more than a dispassionate list of the tangible perks they offer.

They provide opportunities for advancement

This should come as a no-brainer. Jobseekers want to hear how the role they’re being put forward for isn’t a dead end, but the start of a long, fulfilling journey with the company in question.

Furthermore, this doesn’t necessarily mean there needs to be a set career path ahead of successful applicants. Returning to the survey, only one-fifth (20 per cent) of respondents considered the possibility of promotion the most appealing part of a role. Nearly seven in ten (66 per cent) wanted both a career path and the opportunity to innovate, however – they were attracted to companies that encouraged employees to pursue projects and ideas on their own.

They have an appealing brand and strong values’s findings also underline the importance of a company’s brand to potential applicants, with more than three-fifths (61 per cent) saying they’d jump at the chance to work for a business that’d look good on their CV.

Of course, not all of the average recruiter’s clients are household names. Luckily, though, the survey found it’s even more important for a company to have strong values that trickle down through the workforce. Seven out of ten respondents (70 per cent) said they needed to be proud of whoever they worked for, with a similar figure (66 per cent) taking it as a personal compliment when someone praised their employer.

Additionally, 23 per cent of jobseekers thought it was important they believed in their company’s vision – more than the one-fifth of respondents (20 per cent) who said salary was the biggest draw.

They’re innovative

As mentioned earlier, 66 per cent of’s respondents told researchers they wanted the chance to innovate to come part and parcel with climbing the career ladder. A further 12.9 per cent said they’d favour a workplace perceived by the public to be innovative.

Accordingly, it’s important that when talking to your candidates you emphasise how forward-thinking and inventive your clients are – especially if you’re recruiting for technology roles. Last year, a survey by Mortimer Spinks and Computer Weekly found workers in IT are a particularly nomadic bunch, with 80 per cent of those polled reporting they were actively looking for jobs elsewhere.

One of the key reasons for this was they felt stifled by their current employers. The researchers found that when an organisation allowed workers to spend 30 per cent or more of their time on innovative projects, the percentage planning to leave within a year fell to around 30 per cent.

They follow up on applications

Finally, the survey found companies that fail to respond to job applications are doing immeasurable harm to their brands. Some 60 per cent of jobseekers said failing to follow up was, in fact, the single most damaging thing an employer could do to its reputation.

With this in mind, make sure your clients deliver personalised feedback to your candidates in the event of an unsuccessful application.