Know Your Audience / Candidates …And Where To Find Them!

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet for the past few weeks (or equally, you probably didn’t).  However I know a couple of you did (thanks Steve and Sue for checking where the next blog was..!;)

I have been away on my first 2 week holiday in I don’t remember how many years and it was lovely.  Admittedly, I had to keep checking in on work but that’s what happens when you are running part of a business.


We went to Turkey.  We often go as we have friends over there, and I would definitely recommend it, despite the bad press it has at the moment.  It was as wonderful, friendly, hot and enjoyable as it always is.  Nothing has changed.

Except one thing.

It was quiet.

Really quiet actually.  Apparently, tourism is down by 40% this year.  And it’s not looking much better for next year!

Now, I’m not emailing to brag about having been on holiday, but some of the behaviours over there got me thinking about my clients (I love you all that much!).

Tourism is down and all the restauranteurs, boat owners, sea sports owners are all down about it.  They complain about how tough it is at the moment- they rely on the summer season to earn money for the rest of the year.  So what are they doing DIFFERENTLY to overcome this issue?


Well, not nothing exactly.  They are doing what they have always done- which is try and tempt people in from the streets, use holiday reps to bring them business etc.  But that’s not going to increase their business, as that’s not really their problem.  They need to get people to their country in the first place!

And it’s the same as many of my clients.  When I ask them how they are recruiting candidates for their next role, they’ll often say they are advertising on their own website, local press or putting it in Inside Housing (other Housing publications are available).  And then when I ask what type of person they are hoping to find, the answer is often,

“oh, we want  candidate who a bit different, someone who is a little more commercial, who can bring some fresh ideas and challenge how we currently operate”.

But you’re advertising for that in the same way you always do?

I have just worked with a Housing Association who had created a brand new role, unique to many Housing Associations to help them adapt to this new environment we find ourselves in.  They had advertised themselves in their usual routes and had a disappointing response from candidates .


So I met with them and we looked at what they wanted to achieve and tracked back from there.  What Greenacre did was actually a targeted Linkedin campaign, approaching people from an entirely different industry, but one that would bring in the right ideas, behaviours and processes.  We ran a targeted Twitter campaign.  We also attended a couple of networking events in the area aimed at private sector companies to find some referrals.  Within 3 weeks, we’d had a really great shortlist of 4 people, all of whom were appointable, so they were spoilt for choice!

So when you are recruiting, think about the following:

  • What does our ideal candidate look like (experience, background)?
  • Where would that person look for work? Also, where does that person go/what do they read/how do they communicate or interact?
  • How can we access that? And how do we need to present ourselves to attract them?


Don’t just do the same old, same old hen searching for candidates. There are so many options out there now- use all of them at different times, as long as they are the right ones, for the right audience.

I’d be interested in hearing of any similar experiences, especially any successful candidate search stories of what worked for you, as it could help me find solutions for other clients in the future!

Barry Forsythe is Manager of Greenacre Midlands Division,  overseeing the Executive/Senior Level candidacy and vacancies across the East & West Midlands region. Barry has worked in recruitment for over 16 years and works alongside organisations to deliver advice, insights and experience to housing and associated industry professionals throughout the UK.

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