Nearly half of UK businesses say they have struggled to find quality candidates during the interview process.

According to research on the latest hiring trends, by the American HR firm HireVue, it took 30 to 90 days to fill a position in the UK last year.

The high cost of replacing workers has led businesses to start rethinking retention strategies to avoid losing their top talent in a competitive labour market.

“Businesses must be flexible in their hiring approaches and welcome new technologies and initiatives to help retain and attract talent,” says General Manager at HireVue, Darren Jaffrey.

Many businesses are now using technology as part of their hiring process, with many employers moving to a mix of in-person and virtual interviews. 

The data also showed that respondents who used CV screening tools and conversational AI, reported greater flexibility and increased efficiency.

Mature workers and junior staff hires preferred

In the search for new talent, almost half of UK businesses polled said they were targeting older, mature workers while 40 percent wanted to hire junior workers. 

Employers are also moving beyond standard qualifications, adopting a competency- and skills-based approach.

Communication was ranked the most desirable soft skill employers look for, followed by job-specific knowledge, dependability, and adaptability. 

Employers investing more in learning and development programmes

Around five in ten UK businesses invested in learning and development in 2021 to retain staff amid the Great Resignation. 

A further 51 percent are planning to prioritise internal promotions to show their commitment to the workforce.

In addition to training and employee recognition, other incentives to keep employees happy include increased compensation – such as salary, benefits and pension.

Automation easing the hiring process for many employers

A quarter of UK businesses are already comfortable with automation and using it across part of their hiring process. 

Additionally nearly a third are confident with and already using chatbots and text messaging in hiring, with others also using job-matching and game-based assessments.

“The Great Resignation kickstarted the need for not only better-hiring processes but also workplace cultures that advocate employee happiness,” said  Mr. Jaffrey.

But the report emphasises that HR leaders cannot successfully do this alone. By making use of technology – such as video interviews, AI and assessments, businesses would be able to augment their hiring processes and secure the best talent.