recruitment Recruiting in a changing world

Fundamentally, recruitment and talent attraction continue to be priorities for many organisations: the need for quality candidates remains high. More focus on ensuring recruitment methodology provides value for money per hire is key. I know from experience as an HR director that my finance director would regularly pay me a visit and ask if we really needed to spend THAT much on recruitment, writes Stephanie Barnett, MD of Pure Human Resources

So, in 2021 what options are available? Using a traditional recruitment agency model is still a good option if you have a great relationship with consultants who can really get to know your business, act as advocates for you and hence you may well benefit from preferred rates.

However, should you want to consider a more DIY approach to recruitment here are some tips to help:

• Recruitment is a marketing exercise. Think about the ‘candidate experience’ at the various touchpoints candidates have with you. Does it reflect your brand and demonstrate what it is like to work for you? If an applicant hears nothing, what impression does that deliver about you? Think website but consider your social media platforms too. In our digital world it is much easier for candidates to research you before they make a commitment to apply. Certainly, if you haven’t claimed your Glassdoor account, now is the time to do so.

• Potential candidates want clear information. Most will scan to find job title, location (61%) and salary (62%) and then decide if they want to read the advert (survey conducted by Glassdoor). So…make it easy for them. And don’t just copy a job description. Pull out the key qualities you are looking for and the fundamental elements of the role and make the advert easy to read – bullet points are great for this.

• Good candidates move fast: this can mean days rather than weeks. Online advertising and application processes mean candidates expect prompt responses. Sift and acknowledge them in a timely manner. Keep communicating with your candidates as they progress through the process. Give them constructive feedback – quickly. Is it really too much to do when they have taken the time and effort to make an application to you?

• Benefits – they are important (48% check for this). 20 days’ holiday plus the eight bank holidays isn’t a ‘benefit’ – it is minimal legal entitlement along with an auto-enrolment pension scheme. But you should make a feature of any enhanced scheme. There are lots of cost-effective benefits out there that can help make you an attractive employer and assist you in managing your workforce too. Consider health cash plans, employee assistance programmes, life assurance and employee discount schemes. Flexibility to work from home (saving on travel and parking costs) or flexing hours is a priority for many, especially Generation Z who are now entering the workplace. Good quality part-time roles are extremely scarce so when they are advertised you will attract lots of high-quality candidates who want to trade in more junior roles for the flexibility.

• Make sure the job board is relevant to the role in question. Just because a job advert is free (or expensive for that matter) doesn’t mean it is the right board to use. The use of premium adverts ensures that your advert stays fresh and prominent on the board.

• If recruiting regularly, consider investing in an applicant tracking system. The administration time saved certainly justifies the investment and will help with your audit trail.

• Use technology to your advantage for interviews. Zoom is now mainstream. Use open questions, avoid leading ones and try to gain an insight into past work experiences. The principles of competency-based interviewing show that this will give you an indicator for future performance. Make the selection process relevant to the role. Personality profiles are great for identifying areas to be probed at interview, but make sure the tools you use are valid and any provider is registered with the British Psychological Society.

Stephanie Barnett

Pure Human Resources is an independent award-winning HR and fixed-fee recruitment consultancy based in Southampton.


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