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What are the best hiring platforms in the UK?

What are the best hiring platforms in the UK?

Online hiring platforms have developed very fast over the past few years… and if you’re looking to fill a vacancy, it can get quite confusing, if not overwhelming.

The options seem endless: you can post your job offer on your own company website, on LinkedIn, job boards, gig platforms, ask recruitment agencies for help, use permanent or temporary recruitment marketplaces…

As a lot of business owners and managers know it first hand, a recruitment mistake can be very time consuming and cost a lot of money. 

Here is an article to guide you through the different hiring platforms that exist in the UK, their costs, and why you should use one or the other, depending on your needs. Like always, there’s no “one size fits all” I’m afraid!

So, what are the best hiring platforms in the UK for you to use:

  • if you’re looking to hire a permanent member of staff?
  • if you’re looking to hire a temporary employee?

Best hiring platforms if you’re looking to hire a permanent member of staff

If you’re looking to fill in a permanent vacancy, you have 5 main options to advertise the opportunity: on your own website, using LinkedIn, on job boards, via recruitment agencies directly, or by using permanent recruitment agencies marketplaces. 

Let’s explore the pros and cons of each option. 

1. Your own company website

If you’re looking to recruit a permanent member of staff, or an intern for example, your own company website is a great place to start. 

Why? 

To start with, your own website is very effective at communicating the opportunity to your existing members of staff who may be looking for a promotion (without you knowing!) or may know friends or former colleagues that may be interested. A reference from existing colleagues is worth a lot in comparison to cold introductions…

Externally, it’s seen as a very positive sign. It’s demonstrating to your own employees and the external world that your company is growing.

Picture of a company with open positions
An attractive scale-up with lots of open positions

And you might not realise that some jobseekers might be actively looking at joining your company and are regularly monitoring the job offers from your website. 

And last but not least, it’s, of course, free!

2. LinkedIn

With LinkedIn, you have three options – one which is free, and three for which you have to pay.

Let’s start with the free option. It’s free to post an open position on your LinkedIn company profile. You can also promote it via your personal and company profile. It allows it to be seen by your company and your own users, and their followers, for free. 

With more than 27 million LinkedIn users in the UK, you may be surprised by how far your LinkedIn post may go!

LinkedIn is a great and free way to post vacancies
Posting vacancies on LinkedIn is easy and free!

If you have a good sense of the types of candidates you need to target to fill your vacancy, you may want to pay for LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which costs £54 / month for one person. If you haven’t used any other LinkedIn offer previously, you can generally a first month of trial for free. LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows you to find potential candidates very precisely and try to connect with them with a “sales” message. If you’re in a niche recruitment market, it’s a great way to get the word out about your company vacancies. 

The other option is for you is to use LinkedIn Premium, which costs £39.99 per month, when billed annually. It allows you to send 15 InMails, which are emails directly sent to your potential target candidates, which is a great way, once again, to get in touch with potential candidates, when you’re not connected to them.  

Finally, you can pay for LinkedIn Recruiter, which costs £82.50 per month for the “lighter” version, Recruiter Lite, which allows you to send 30 InMail messages per month. It helps you find candidates and surface “signals”, i.e., when candidates are looking for work. 

One of the main drawbacks of LinkedIn is that you or your HR team may become inundated by applications, and need to invest a lot of time filtering through the candidates before being able to select those they want to see for an interview. 

3. Job boards

Job boards are online websites where companies can advertise for open positions. Candidates can also on some job boards post their CVs proactively.

There are tens of job boards available:

  • some are generalist – I’m sure you’ve come across the bus ads of CV-Library, Reed, TotalJobs… – and cater for all positions. They’re also often used by recruitment agencies to post job adverts. 
  • some are specialised – for example, if you’re a tech startup, you may want to check post your vacancy on workinstartups.com 
  • others are “meta job boards”: they aggregate the job offers posted on other job boards. This includes Adzuna, Indeed and Google for Jobs (see screenshot below).
Example of Google for Jobs

For companies, the benefit of using job boards is to be in control of your recruitment, touch many more potential candidates than if you had only posted your request on your company website, which is particularly if you’re a not so well known small or medium sized company for example. It helps you bring the awareness about your position. 

The drawback is that you may be inundated by applications. You may also in turn be contacted by dozens of recruitment agencies that “want to help”. From experience, because it is also so simple to submit a job application via a job board, these applications can be very generic, copy-pasted, without any cover letter. Some candidates may not have read the the job requirements properly… It can be pretty time consuming to scan through all these CVs, and filter them. 

Last but not least, it’s generally not free to post an ad on a job boards. You can read our job board comparison on this article here. Prices can vary from 0 (for tech startups using workinstartups.com) to around £80 to £90 for a generic job board, up to £750 on the Guardian website for a one-month posting for example. 

4. Permanent Recruitment Agencies or Executive Search Firms

To gain time (but not necessarily money!), if you don’t have an HR team or if you’re looking to recruit for a vacancy which is particularly hard to fill, using a permanent recruitment agency, also called Executive Search firm for the most senior jobs, can be a really effective way. 

The main drawback can be the cost associated with using a permanent recruitment agency, which is generally between 17.5% and 20% of the first year annual salary. 

5. Marketplaces for Permanent Recruitment Agencies 

These are a new phenomenon in the HR space. 

These hiring platforms, such as for example, Hiring Hub or The Job Post, are what we could describe as comparison websites for permanent agency recruitment. They allow you to put permanent recruitment agencies in competition, fill vacancies more quickly and negotiate better rates. 

They are generally free for companies to use as agencies pay for the service. 

There are limited drawbacks to using such hiring platforms. They are free with no commitment required. It comes down to the question: do you want to and need a recruitment agency to fill your position? The drawback comes more from the cost associated to using an Executive Search agency, rather than the hiring platform itself!

If you don’t have time to spend on recruitment, if you’re not a very well known company, or if you’re recruiting for a niche sector where candidates are hard to find, using a recruitment agency marketplace makes a lot of sense. 

If not, and if you’ve planned ahead and have quite a lot of time to find your dream candidate, if you have the chance to have an in-house HR team, why not use a job board instead?

B. If you’re looking to hire someone for one shift, a freelancer or a temp

If you’re looking to fill in a temporary vacancy, particularly at short notice, or for a very short period of time, you have 3 main options to advertise the opportunity: using a gig platform to find a gig worker, asking a temporary recruitment agency for help, or using a temporary recruitment agency marketplace.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of each option. 

1. Gig platforms to find gig workers and freelancers

Gig platforms are online platforms where companies looking to hire on a short-term basis, generally for a shift for a few hours, or a task, can connect directly with job-seekers. 

These have received huge investments from venture capitalist funds recently and have advertised heavily in the London Underground. They’re often used for shift-based type of work, in particular in the Hospitality and Catering sector. 

Some have emerged in a number of different sectors such as Peopleperhour or Jobtoday for working Hospitality and Catering, JobandTalent for roles in Warehouse and Logistics. 

For companies, the benefit of using gig platforms is the speed at which you may find people ready to work on a shift or for a project, at the very last minute.  

The main drawback is that you still have to filter through the candidates, and vet them (i.e., check they have the right to work in the UK), which can take quite a lot of time when you may need someone in the next hour.

Some platforms now offer some form of compliance and vetting, but not all of them. Platforms also charge around 10% of the cost of the project as a placement fee, or a fix fee per worker hired (starting at around £50 per worker) which you may find too expensive. 

2. Temporary recruitment agencies

There are more than 10,000 temporary recruitment agencies in the UK to choose from. 

One of their legislative obligation is to vet the candidates and check that the workers have the right to work in the UK and the right qualifications and training for the role they’re put forward to.

Using a temporary recruitment agency can be a very effective way to find vetted staff fast, at very short notice. 

The cost of using a temporary recruitment agency is typically around 15% and 20% of the hourly rate, even though larger companies with very high volumes of recruitment often manage to negotiate rates at around 10%.

The drawback is that there are a lot of skill shortages in the UK, and it can be very time consuming to find recruitment agencies who have the right candidates, when you need them, where you need them. 

3. Temporary recruitment marketplaces

This is where comparison websites for temporary recruitment agencies come into play. These innovative hiring platforms connect companies looking to hire temporary staff with recruitment agencies providing temporary candidates. 

These websites are quite new in the UK and the main player is TempaGoGo

TempaGoGo, an innovative comparison website for temporary agency recruitment
TempaGoGo, an innovative temp hiring platform

There are no costs associated with these websites as agencies pay for the service, not companies.

The main benefits are speed and better prices. Only those agencies who have available candidates come back to companies requesting staff – this allows companies to avoid having to waste time calling agencies one by one. 

Also, working with multiple agencies at the same time allows smaller companies to negotiate more easily better rates. 

They are limited drawbacks to using a temporary hiring platform. It’s free and non-committal, so if you want to use a recruitment agency to find staff, these are definitely worth a try!

C. Conclusion

To conclude, which hiring platform to use when you have a vacancy to fill?

If you have a sufficient time left to fill a permanent vacancy and if you’re in a sector which isn’t too niche, I would recommend you to advertise your vacancy on your company website and LinkedIn to start with. If you’re finding it hard to find suitable candidates, using a permanent recruitment agency hiring platform can be very beneficial too!

If it’s a temporary vacancy which you need to fill at very short notice and you don’t have time to vet candidates, using a temp recruitment hiring platform such as TempaGoGo can be really helpful.

Have you had experience of hiring new members of staff? How did you go about it?

What were the criteria that you had in mind? Have you used a hiring platform?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Caroline, co-founder of TempaGoGo

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