Local Government Transformation: Dorset Council's Digital Recruitment Strategy

Eloise Smith
February 29, 2024

Dorset Council faced a digital recruitment crisis. Applications plummeted, vacancies remained unfilled, and traditional methods failed to attract qualified candidates. This blog delves into their digital revolution, exploring the innovative strategies that yielded impressive results and serve as a roadmap for other local authorities struggling in the digital age.  


The Challenge

The council grappled with a dwindling digital talent pool for critical roles. This led to: 

  • Unfilled vacancies: Essential services faced strain due to understaffing. 
  • Increased workload: Existing employees faced heavier burdens, impacting morale and retention. 
  • Outdated recruitment methods: Traditional approaches failed to reach the right audience. 

The Digital Solution

Dorset Council embraced a digital-first approach: 

  • Employer branding: Leveraging social media platforms to showcase the council's work environment and employee experiences. They created engaging video content like the "Highways team" video, highlighting authentic stories and real people. 
  • Early careers strategy: Utilising lesser-used platforms like TikTok and YouTube to reach younger audiences and introduce them to local government career paths. 
  • Advanced Applicant Tracking System (ATS): Streamlining applications, automating tasks, and providing data-driven insights for better decision-making. 
  • Targeted social media advertising: Utilising platform-specific advertising tools to reach relevant candidates with tailored messaging. 

The Digital Impact

The council's digital transformation yielded substantial benefits: 

  • Increased applications: A 400% surge in applications for hard-to-fill roles, demonstrating the effectiveness of targeted digital outreach. 
  • Reduced costs: A 68% reduction in recruitment advertising spend through strategic online engagement. 
  • Enhanced social media presence: A 40% increase in social media followers across platforms, signifying an expanding digital reach. 
  • Improved time-to-hire: A 26% reduction in the time it takes to fill vacant positions, demonstrating increased efficiency. 

Sustainability and Learnings

Dorset Council emphasises the importance of continuous adaptation and staying ahead of the digital curve. They share valuable takeaways for other local authorities: 

  • Embrace innovative platforms: Explore emerging social media platforms to connect with diverse demographics and reach new talent pools. 
  • Content is king: Develop authentic and engaging content that showcases the council's work culture and attracts potential candidates. 
  • Data-driven decision-making: Utilise analytics tools provided by social media platforms and ATS systems to refine strategies and optimise results. 


Dorset Council's digital recruitment revolution offers valuable insights for local authorities struggling to attract talent in the digital age. By embracing innovative platforms, creating compelling content, and prioritising data-driven decision-making, local governments can build a robust digital recruitment strategy, improve efficiency, and attract the talent needed to deliver vital services effectively.