Securing the Best Talent for Your Business

It is well documented that the market for talent is becoming increasingly competitive and securing the highest calibre candidates more difficult. So how do you ensure your business stands out from the crowd? We share some of our top tips.

Understand the Hiring Landscape

The working diaspora is changing and businesses need to keep up. There are some obvious factors that many companies seem to be unaware of or are choosing to ignore, at their peril.

The universal downturn in graduate hiring in 2008/9 means that fast forward ten years there is distinct lack of emerging management talent. Those that are available are in demand and will have a choice.

Changes in pensions, both in value and ease of access, has meant that many people are working longer, blocking the paths of those trying to progress their careers and causing frustration.  You should carry out meaningful internal reviews and ensure your business doesn’t lose the talent it already has.

Hiring can take a long time, especially for more unique or specialist roles. Is there the option of training one of your current team? How about an interim to relieve the short term strain? Plan ahead and be patient.

Brexit is not helpful for talent development. Whatever your view of the economic benefits, we are not seeing a heightened desire of the European workforce to move to the UK – quite the opposite. You might be forced to find the ‘best of British’.

The UK is not as attractive as it used to be. International development has seen salaries rise significantly around the globe. If an analyst in a bank or a developer in a software firm can earn a comparative salary in, for example, India which will give him/her a much higher quality of life whilst remaining with their family, why would they move?

Embrace new approaches

Recruitment has developed hugely over the last 25 years. Most companies now have integrated and valuable HR teams, often with a talent acquisition aspect within that function. These people are well positioned to source directly where possible and partner with industry specialists when required. But are they using the right tools?

LinkedIn is the global database that everybody can access and it is phenomenal tool. Launched in 2003 it has an impressive c470m members.  But times change and some people are getting annoyed by the style and quantity of approach. Make careful use of the platform, or consider Facebook or Google with their new job platforms, or for the millennials, Snapchat or Instagram?

Artificial Intelligence is on everybody’s lips and is definitely the ‘on-message’ topic for 2018. It will clearly help remove some of the administrative elements that slow the recruitment process down and can provide an information platform for candidates. Beware the ability to turn people off by a lack of human engagement when discussing the most important thing of their working lives – their job.

There are also analytics and algorithms. Clever mathematical science that can detect correlations, patterns, similarities, divergences, probability and automated reasoning. Don’t be scared to use it. (If you can understand it!)

The rise of online assessment tools is a positive change. Whilst the benefits of a face to face meeting, watching someone’s body language and listening to their answer style, shouldn’t be ignored online assessments definitely have a role to play in today’s recruitment process. They give great guidance to aspects of people’s characters that you may not unearth in a meeting and they are useful to develop questions from if there are areas to be addressed.

Social media – use it to research your preferred candidates. They should be aware of what they have posted and if it gives rise for concern then either they are foolish (and need to learn) or are wrong for your business. Be honest with them, good or bad, as feedback is key.

Improve your recruitment process

This is a short section as it should be common sense! Follow these points to keep your process on track

  • Agree a realistic timescale and stick to it
  • When partnered with a recruitment firm then be a genuine partner
  • Make sure senior management involved in the process are aware of when they are required
  • Provide as much information as possible to candidates
  • Ensure your process is two way – candidates need to ask direct questions and feel they are getting honest answers as do you
  • Ensure it is clear why they are meeting each person and don’t have ‘too many cooks’
  • Keep the momentum once the process has started

Be Brand Conscious

Whilst you are trying to assess the abilities and characteristics of this amazing candidate that will transform your business, they are also doing the same to your company. Be prepared to showcase your strengths and front up about your weaknesses. Obvious elements are:

An engaging website with interesting and relevant information that is kept up to date. Bad signs are the ‘latest news or blog’ section which was last updated in 2016, jobs that have now been filled or pictures of employees who have already left the business.

Address any public success or failure so it is acknowledged and you are at ease about it. Skyscanner’s takeover by Ctrip would be a good example of addressing a positively changing landscape. Addressing a more challenging issue, RBS could not suggest that business has been plain sailing for the last 10 years.

Be clear about how you reward people and not just financially – although that is usually the key element so give real parameters. How progressive is your business? Do you support diversity and respect in your hiring? What makes people stay? What has made people leave? What is your version of a positive working environment? In short, why should they commit their career to you?

Recruitment is not a science and the need for the personal touch in professional positions will never disappear, but do embrace the tools that make it easier. Be proud of what your business can offer the right individual and don’t become complacent or arrogant in your belief that the world wants to join you. The really good people are in demand.

Be positive, engaged, resourceful and interesting – the characteristics you are no doubt trying to secure for your own team, and the results will follow.

To discuss your recruitment needs contact Mark Lewis at [email protected]