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How to be creative on a limited recruitment budget
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How to be creative on a limited recruitment budget

Written by Darren Timmins

Darren is a Co-founder of Animate Search and Talent Management industry elder (sadly). Living in Barcelona and working across Europe he is inspired by the different challenges the diverse region brings up every day for his clients.If you have a Talent Management challenge and need some advice feel free to reach out on


The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted the recruitment industry in recent years. The uncertain financial landscape has led to reduced recruitment budgets for many businesses. Many have emphasised managing employee retention rather than acquiring new talent in these trying times.

When discussing the impact of the pandemic on recruitment, the word ‘unprecedented’ often comes up. However, Animate believes that there are precedents from which businesses can draw conclusions, learn from, and adapt.

As restrictions begin to ease and recruitment is revitalised, Animate wants to share what we believe are the key points each business should consider to kickstart their recruitment strategy.

By embracing these ideas, businesses can continue to attract and retain talented employees in what has become a more competitive, candidate-driven market than ever before.

This article explains some innovative ways businesses can get creative within the constraints of a limited recruitment budget.

Remuneration is just part of the jigsaw.

There are many ways to create attractive compensation packages, even for businesses that are not cash-rich. Being innovative and open-minded is key.

A fun and relaxed working atmosphere, engaging leadership, future equity in the business, and an ethically responsible culture can all be important in attracting new talent and retaining existing employees.

A BUPA survey of Gen Zs found that “over half (54%) would take a pay cut to work for a business that reflects their ethics, on average sacrificing more than a quarter (27%) of their salary.”

These findings are significant because Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025.

Tailored benefit packages are worth consideration. Research from Metlife UK shows that 69% of employees said they would work harder for an employer who provides employee benefits that support their individual needs.

The traditional types of benefits you could offer include, but are not limited to, discounted own-company goods or services, extra holidays, dental care, gym membership, and childcare.

The common theme with each of these approaches is that they allow employees to become more engaged; the employee has an opportunity to feel like they are a part of the business rather than simply an extension of it.

And, crucially, many of these ideas can be mutually beneficial for both employee and employer longer-term.

Embrace flexible working opportunities.


A few years ago, the opportunity to work in a remote or hybrid role would have been a differentiator in the job market. Now, in a candidate-driven marketplace, flexible working is generally expected.

The pandemic forced businesses to adopt remote collaboration technologies at an expedited rate. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom Meetings, Cisco WebEx, Verizon BlueJeans, TeamViewer, GoToMeeting, Slack, and Google Chat are now deeply engrained in the working practices of many businesses.

Last month, Animate shared an article on LinkedIn demonstrating how BMW and Johnson and Johnson continue to devote time and resources to flexible working, embracing virtual reality technology to aid remote working practices.

The benefit of virtual teams has been well-documented. This Forbes article explained how they could lower costs, increase productivity, and offer greater flexibility.

In the interest of transparency, the same article lists how virtual teams can be harder to manage and how it’s harder to team-build. However, Animate believe it’s possible to overcome those disadvantages with the right talent in place.

But to attract that talent, businesses need to continue to incentivise. If businesses continue investing in and committing to using remote collaboration tools despite the easing of restrictions, they will go some way to achieving that goal.

Treat candidates like customers.


Handle interactions with the candidate as you might if they were a customer or as if it was already their first day on the job. Be hospitable. It’s entirely possible to remain professional and yet be friendly and personable.

It can be mutually beneficial if both parties are more at ease. The employer can experience the candidate in a more relaxed and natural situation; the candidate leaves with a more favourable impression of the employer. And it doesn’t negatively impact your recruitment budget at all!

Use data to record recruitment metrics.


Your HR team should be using a candidate management platform to record vital information relating to your recruitment process. Measuring what works for you and what doesn’t is key to improving your existing approach.

Factors such as time to hire, job acceptance and offer rate, and candidate drop-off rate are just some of the critical data points you need to know. And once you have that information, you need to commit to revisiting your existing recruitment strategy to make the necessary changes.

Taking this approach can lead to a more streamlined strategy that is more cost-effective.

Craft compelling job adverts.

Use a Recruiting consultancy or hire a copywriter to write your job adverts. They can serve as a powerful advert for your business when done correctly.

If you are spending your recruitment budget on a job advert, get the most out of it in the process. Consider this the opportunity to truly match the job advert with the profile of the candidate you envisage in that role.

Authenticity is crucial and yet is often overlooked when compiling a job description. Getting the job description right can help attract more suitable candidates, saving time and, therefore, money. First impressions count for everything.

Invest in technology for hiring and onboarding.


Traditional face-to-face interviews are by no means obsolete, but they will never again be the standard means by which interviews are conducted.

That can be good news for both parties, but only if the employer truly embraces both the technology and the process.

In January, Animate shared articles on LinkedIn demonstrating how businesses use AI-powered automated video interviews to streamline their recruitment process. We also shared another post discussing how others use virtual reality to help with onboarding and training.

Possessing and becoming adept at recruitment technology is only part of the equation. Investing the time and energy into adapting business processes to get the best out of those technologies is another. The businesses that manage both effectively will have an advantage over those that do not. And it will be an advantage that becomes more prominent over time.

Investing in technology can be difficult to justify when working with a limited recruitment budget, but it can save time and money in the longer term.

Use specialist recruiters.


Businesses can address many of the points in this article simply by engaging with a specialist talent and recruitment consultancy.

Animate has helped several businesses successfully navigate the difficulties of the last few years. One misconception we found is that customers believe that using a specialist recruitment consultancy would be prohibitively expensive.

However, few had performed a complete analysis of the cost of their existing talent acquisition strategy, so they had no clear point of reference.

Animate can help you understand the actual cost of your existing strategy. We believe we can help justify why adding a team of specialists to your current HR and recruitment capability can be a crucial part of your strategy.

Whether you choose Animate as your talent management partner or not, we urge you to engage with a specialist recruitment consultancy.

Here’s a bit about Animate.

Was this article about how to be creative on a limited recruitment budget helpful? Do you have any other questions about how to attract, retain and develop your employees? If so, please get in touch at

Animate, the talent management company, is a collective of recruitment gurus, research masters, and employer branding experts proud to bring you the best in sales, marketing, and technical talent. Every day, on every project.

We enable software and technology companies to enter new markets. We can also help increase market share through the power of people in an ever-evolving and competitive marketplace.

Written by Darren Timmins

Darren is a Co-founder of Animate Search and Talent Management industry elder (sadly). Living in Barcelona and working across Europe he is inspired by the different challenges the diverse region brings up every day for his clients.If you have a Talent Management challenge and need some advice feel free to reach out on