Get fit to compete: Recruitment has evolved and so should you!

Recruitment has come a long way in the last few years. We’re no longer in an employer-driven marketplace — candidates are largely free to choose where and how they work, with remote working opening up a world of new possibilities

Recruitment has evolved and so should you

As a consequence, businesses must make themselves much more appealing if they want to fill those vacancies. Even the way people apply for jobs is evolving. 

Recruitment today

Job boards are a convenient app that lives on your phone, making the process a lot quicker and less formal.  The likes of Indeed, Total Jobs, and even LinkedIn’s own dedicated jobs app, have taken virtually all the legwork out of job applications. Social media — including Facebook, Instagram and the artist formerly known as Twitter — is also a handy means for businesses to engage with potential candidates. 

Beyond that, traditional recruitment methods are still going strong: Employee referrals, job centres and careers fairs all remain to get the word out and generate potential applicants.

However, to advertise these vacancies; vet the CVs and interview potential candidates, many companies will completely outsource that process to an external recruitment agency.

For employers, this route comes with potential risks.

The pitfalls of external recruitment

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use recruitment agencies at all. Lots of high street agencies provide a great service for their clients and free up employers to get on with their day jobs. 

There are great reasons why businesses might outsource their recruitment… Usually, it’s because:

  1. They haven’t got time
  2. They haven’t got the resources, or 
  3. They haven’t got the expertise in-house

So, what are the risks?

Recruitment agencies can be expensive, and there’s no guarantee they’ll put forward a candidate that fits your organisation. Simply put, they won’t understand your company or culture as well as you.

Recruitment consultants are targeted, based on the volume of CV submissions and potential candidates they register within a set timeframe. It’s a high-pressure working environment that — in a lot of ways — prevents them from being able to do a good job for their clients. They’re simply not able to invest the amount of time required to get to know — and fully vet — the people they meet and represent.  

If your recruiter fails to provide someone good enough to meet your needs, then the whole process rumbles on. Equally as bad would be hiring someone the recruiter puts forward, who you then terminate during probation. The external agency will have pocketed their fee, but you’ll still have a vacancy to fill. Where there is a so-called ‘Guarantee Period’ — usually 12 weeks, post-placement, where if the candidate doesn’t work out a percentage rebate would apply — it’s most often manipulated and usually flawed. 

Why you need to bring recruitment in-house

Where possible, Businesses should bring recruitment in-house and take absolute control of their ability to attract, engage and retain talent. 

Managing your own recruitment puts you in control of how you represent your brand to potential candidates. It allows you to oversee, streamline and adapt the whole experience — something that’s essential in attracting top-tier talent in a candidate-driven market. 

However, before you begin this process, you need to get your business in shape to compete in an increasingly candidate-driven marketplace.

I call this getting  ‘Fit to compete’ 

Having a poorly administered, probably out-of-date careers page on your company website is no longer good enough. It’s important to create a positive impression right from the first interaction with a potential candidate.

Being fit to compete means exactly that. 

It means being a good career option. It means taking control of your identity as an organisation. Figuring out who you are and the type of people you need. It means paying attention to finer details and tending to the whole recruitment process from start to finish. 

Getting fit to compete means investing in somebody in-house to take responsibility for all of this. You need to take a step back and find your WHY. You should examine what your culture is and build a recruitment campaign around it:

  • What’s the story of your company?
  • What’s good about you?
  • What’s less than ideal about your organisation, and how can it be improved?
  • What can you do to make your onboarding seamless?

Beyond all that, being fit to compete helps you stand out from the crowd. It makes you attractive to the candidates you want and helps you keep hold of them in the long term.

Plan of attack

To become fit to compete, you need to have a plan.

That plan should include:

  • Set recruitment goals:
    • How many people do you need, in what roles, and when?
  • Enhance the candidate experience:
    • Review every aspect of your organisation from a new employee’s perspective. 
    • Establish and map an onboarding process that’s fit for purpose and stick to it. 
  • Build a strong employer brand – company culture, values, etc.
    • Take the time to establish who you are and what you’re about. If you can, work with a Marketing Agency to nail down a brand, a logo, and an overall identity. 
    • Invite the world to get to know you.

For any organisation, the people you already have onboard are a significant asset. A workforce full of happy, engaged, and well-paid professionals makes an attractive lure for people who want the same. Ask questions. Lots of questions and listen to the response. 

By becoming fit to compete, you attract and retain the best talent in the market. To stand out from the crowd, set recruitment goals, enhance the candidate experience, and build a strong employer brand. 

Remember, your existing workforce is your most powerful asset in attracting new talent.

Kelly M. Whitfield
Kelly M. Whitfield

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