Reinventing Recruitment

Neil Purcell, CEO, Talent Works explains how the recruitment function can change to meet the demands of business.

When reading the business press, agility appears to be one of the must have organisational traits for 2021. Agility can only come from business transformation, which requires new processes and systems to drive it. This in turn drives the requirement for digital and tech roles as a result, tech talent has come to the forefront. Smaller startups have found new niches to fill and compete with big tech as whole industries adapt their operating models. Today’s high demand for tech talent has resulted in an average of seven roles available for every tech candidate. In a market so candidate driven, it is undeniably time for the recruitment industry to rethink from within. When faced with new roles to fill in a market that favours the candidates over the recruiters, it’s undeniably time for recruiters to make a change.

We’re no longer seeing 40-strong HR and talent acquisition teams, for the foreseeable future hiring managers are unable to meet prospective team members face-to-face, and employers are continuing to manage – and hire – from afar. However, almost a year into the pandemic, it’s no longer viable to only implement short-term reactions at the expense of future growth. In fact, while companies and processes are in a constant state of evolution, the time has never been better to radically reinvent for the future.

Do less with more

Resourcing has to be streamlined in a time of economic uncertainty. Even in the booming industry where demand for talent is high, the need to scale without incurring large increases to fixed costs or, more importantly, unpredictable costs is imperative. The question of how to recruit is equally as important as who to recruit. And this is where the support of an external partner can really augment the capability without needing to hire a team of ten permanent employees which, as well as a considerable financial concern, presents a talent acquisition challenge in itself.

Outsourcing recruitment isn’t necessarily a case of simply passing the whole process over to an external recruiter, in fact working with Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) providers can introduce the perfect blend of internal expertise with a new external perspective that can allow for a more diverse perspective and added flexibility.

In this way, recruitment professionals can not only do a lot more with a lot less, but they can provide a more streamlined approach. Talent partners can help provide an external point of view and enable internal recruiters to track a candidate’s experience and opinions when marketing the business. They have the expertise to reinvent recruitment in a way that works for your business and find the best candidates with a long-term objective that may not have been previously considered.

Don’t reduce candidates to data points

The pandemic has reinforced the power of technology for all businesses – but it has highlighted the importance of the human touch too. Recruitment technology can help, but it’s vital that it doesn’t dominate the process.

Candidate experience should be treated in the same way as customer experience – both are all about communication, transactions and understanding the human behind the data. In the same way that you want to retain a customer or convert a prospect into a lead, recruitment needs to appeal to the human that has made the application, to understand their talents skills and priorities and, ultimately, to onboard the right candidate as a long-term employee. Just because we can’t meet candidates face to face, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make their experience feel personal. Now more than ever, a human connection is valued in a virtual working environment: keep in contact with candidates, even if the update is a bit of a non-update, people will appreciate hearing from you at this time and it can keep candidates warm.

Reducing the transaction to only numbers and trends excludes the human to human understanding, makes true communication of company values difficult and can obscure the surprises from candidates that may otherwise be missed.

Look for the surprises

Box ticking recruitment means you miss the diamonds in the rough. With access to a global talent pool, HR teams cannot exclusively rely on forms or algorithms to sift through the applications and highlight the best fit. Often the best candidates are the ones that surprise you. Don’t assume that just because you’re eliminating people from your recruitment process that your systems will ultimately hand you the best applications for the role. As much as technology can reduce much of the manual workload, it’s still important to go through some of the CVs to understand exactly what a suitable but non-standard candidate might look like and make sure that your filter isn’t knocking them out in an automated fashion. In some instances, candidates could have a combination of skills which you might not yet have considered as complimentary.

Due to the pandemic, employers are seeing high volumes of applications for jobs for certain roles which means they’re relying more on binary processes. Organic recruitment should acknowledge the entire spectrum of employee experiences: there’s no room to continue to post and pray for the right talent in the streamlined workforce of the future.

Now is the time for scaling businesses to shine

With startups springing up to bring new solutions to the virtual workforce market, it’s time for scaling businesses to sow the seeds of their long-term future and stand out from the more established names. Not everyone wants to work for a FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) and startups and scale-ups are being given the stage to make their case: today employer branding is king.

Recruiting from within a small and focussed team can provide the opportunity to really sell a business brand beyond a bulleted list of responsibilities and perks. Break down your priorities and build a standout EVP from the ground up that doesn’t just tick the recruitment boxes on a performative level, but actually has its roots in the board-level values of the business.

Think retention as well as recruitment

Recruitment costs time, time costs money. It’s in the interest of employers and candidates alike that businesses are equally focused on recruitment and retention. In a time of uncertainty, everyone is craving security. In today’s business landscape, organisations need to understand attrition and prove that they are healthy and growing to stand out to candidates who are reluctant to move jobs due to uncertainty in the jobs market. Loyalty is a valuable asset in recruitment.

It’s simply not possible to be swayed to the short-term opportunity without acknowledging the future. Think about how you measure wellbeing and employee satisfaction as an organisation and set those benchmarks early on – what executives think is key in retaining employees is rarely echoed by the employees themselves. It’s important to build two-way trust from the very first step of the process if you want to nurture long-term talent.

The recruitment decisions you make now will affect the way you operate in the future. Although it’s uncertain what the future holds, you must recruit with it in mind to reduce costs in the present and the future and set up your business for long-term success. It’s not possible to constantly introduce new processes without keeping the long-term at the forefront of your mind.

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