At the beginning of this year we noticed – because it was hardly subtle – the re-emergence of the buy-back in recruitment activities in HR causing all sorts of confusion in the market. The product of increased market confidence coupled with years of frustration-led pressure from both candidates and organisations meant many recruitment processes were stalling and restarting based on individuals deciding to stay put after all.

As we approach the end of 2015 this remains a highly significant factor in the success or otherwise of recruitment activity. Last week in fact we saw this happen as three senior roles were cancelled for this very reason.

Conversations are going along the lines of: “Don’t leave us now, you’ve stuck with us through these really tough times and we’re coming out of it now. I tell you what, here’s your pay rise/analyst/secondment/sabbatical, please stay with us we all love you here”…

…and while it’s not necessarily working at that very instant – hence the organisations come out to market to find a replacement, businesses hiring these individuals are, in a number of ways, not moving fast enough or offering a compelling enough story and the pull back to the current employer becomes irresistible.

Statistics prove to us that the buy-back solution is rarely successful and the individual seduced by promises of change are invariably left disappointed and uncomfortably aware that they’ve damaged the psychological contract for good, but even though we all know this it’s still happening…a lot.

So what can you do to counter this? There’s no single solution of course, but there are some things that I would strongly advise all hiring organisations consider when looking to hire this year:

1) the candidate experience – something we led some research into back in 2013. Pace, communication (real, not automated), honesty and clarity are vital from the receipt of the CV right through to your new colleague’s start date; in our recent experience with some of the UK’s most well known employers this is still not taken as seriously as it should. Candidates now have choice, and they’ll quickly choose someone else if they don’t receive the service they expect.

2) employer brand – invest in making sure potential candidates (and indeed their friends, family and colleagues) know who you are and what you “feel” like, what you stand for, who you are…I am a judge again this year for the RAD Awards – keep your eye on the employer brand category – some of these organisations are doing a remarkable job in this area and it’s paying massive dividends.

3) flexible working policy – another area we at Eyzon are researching and another area which UK plc could really improve…the size, work ethic and drivers of success of this barely-tapped talent pool – the three/four day-a-week workers, those working from home and those wanting compressed hours is huge…and buy-backs from these people are highly unusual.

There’s more to it of course, pay levels are finely balanced in this market and macro-economic threats from the broader political landscape ; the oil prices, large scale M&A activity etc can all effect how easy it is to actually tempt someone away, but in the interests of focusing only on what you can control, these three areas may well assist you in combatting this highly prevalent threat to your hiring ambitions.

Get in touch

For more details on any of our current HR vacancies, or to find out how we could help you recruit HR professionals for your business, contact us:

London: 020 3178 4688

3 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London,


Leeds: 0113 887 7660

6th floor, Marshalls Mill, Marshall Street, Leeds, LS11 9YJ