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What Are Your Recruitment Priorities This Quarter?

As we come out of the summer holidays (thankfully I still have mine to come), the recruitment industry tends to go a bit crazy for the next 3-4 months. Due to combination of post-holiday blues with people (you know all those ‘passive’ ones we all talk about) realising that they want to change job, and the many companies increasing their recruiting for growth or ‘replenishment’, the industry has a busy four months ahead.
The job boards will be licking their lips in anticipation, recruitment agencies will be looking to fill their placement boots, tech vendors are again selling product, LinkedIn will shift a few more recruiter licences and the analysts will be predicting the good times ahead!

Let me just back up the happy bus for a moment and put some clarity on this, before we get carried away with excitement.

As an independent consultant working across the industry, I have the pleasure of speaking to each section of the industry on a regular basis. I have to say that while I was obviously being a little tongue-in-cheek above, there is most definitely the most positivity I have seen across the recruitment sector for a few years.  But herein lies the challenge - we already have shortages of good people across many sectors, and with companies seeking more recruits, the problems are only going to become more acute. Yes there may be more wannabe job seekers, but will they really move when the offer comes?

We know there is going to be the usual recruitment issues within a tight candidate market, because for many companies and recruiters it has been like this for months now. There is a shortage of skills, lack of mobility, sourcing challenges, candidates know they have the power, multiple job offers, salary gazumping (definition for my US readers), potential brand attraction challenges (e.g. Glassdoor providing more visibility), job boards delivering on volumes but not necessarily quality, social media providing a bigger voice and transparency, and many more reasons we have all experienced.

Even with all these issues, too many companies seem to think that their HR and recruiting teams can work miracles and get enough talent into their business. Many can of course because they are great recruiters who have the support of their company in the way they work, and importantly have the systems, processes and hiring managers that allow them to move quickly when they identify the candidates they want to recruit.

Recruitment is a priority for many companies - whether it is to achieve sales/profit targets, replace leavers or for growth. I know that you will therefore have outstanding vacancies/requirements - some of which will be a real pain to find. What are you going to do to solve this problem?

What are your recruitment priorities going to be this quarter?

Here are some suggestions from me (based on my experiences with clients this year):

1. Don’t wait any longer, review your application process NOW.
How blunt do I have to be here - the application process via your recruitment system (ATS) is awful*. It is too long, clunky, non-mobile device friendly, not intuitive, repetitive and non-responsive post-application. In fact when was the last time you actually sat through your own application process yourself to review it? (*apologies to the few that are doing it well, but there are not too many of you!)
I appreciate that you are not going to change your recruitment system over night (well you could actually bypass it very quickly if you really wanted), but there is no excuse for ignoring what you have in place currently. Candidates - potential employees - will be coming to your website/career site today, from adverts, organic search, social media and referrals, and they could well be the people you need to recruit. Yet you are prepared to lose them in your system. Don’t accept what your ATS vendor tells you, push the boundaries and start to get control of your own applicants.

2. You have a ton of candidate data - use it.
Remember all those candidates that have previously applied to your positions? Are they still sitting in a corner of your database never looked at? We both know the answer to that don’t we! Now is the time to do something about it.
These people thought highly enough of your company to want to apply for a job once, so they should be of interest to you. And of course they will each likely know others with similar skill-sets, so there is a tremendous referral opportunity here as well. So get cleaning your existing candidate database asap. If you have email capability from your ATS or CRM then devise an email campaign to reach out to them and find out what they are up to now. DON’T do a ‘we are updating our records’ email, be more creative than that - get them to engage with you on your LinkedIn Company Page, Facebook Page, Twitter Account or Instagram account, for example. Alternatively take a look at a great product called FreshUp, which takes your database, cleans and ‘socialises’ it and gives it back to you, updated. Whatever you do don’t waste all the great candidates you have already spent £000’s attracting.

3. Give your recruiters the right tools and skills they need to do their job
Too often recruiters are given the short straw when it comes then doing their job. They have to wear many hats in their recruitment job - sourcers, copywriters, marketers, sales, social media, negotiators, project manager to name a few. The role is underestimated when you have a great recruiter in situ, yet exposed when you have an average/poor recruiter in place. They need to have the right technology, systems, training, tools and support in place to empower them to do the best they can for your company. You want to recruit the best talent, then look at your budget and give them  what they need to find the people you want.

4. Take social media seriously
It isn’t like social media is a new fad, it has been around for years and has become a proven way of sourcing, attracting and recruiting people. for example, in a previous post, I highlighted one company that only uses their social media channels to successfully attract their applicants.

Yet there are still a large number of companies that have still not embraced social media for recruitment. Yes it takes a little time and effort to get started using it, but there are major benefits to using it in recruitment (sourcing, engagement, communication, employer branding, content marketing, etc). If you need help in doing that then, take a look at my new book Social Media Recruitment, which I was commissioned to write specifically for this reason. Already called the ‘Social Recruiting Bible‘ by some, it will really help you understand and get started.

5. Deal with your weakest link - your hiring managers
I am not taking a pop at all those managers, and directors who are (ultimately) responsible for recruiting/hiring new employees for their teams. They are probably excellent at their jobs they were recruited to do. What they are not so excellent at a lot of the time is recruiting and developing people. By way of example let me share a superb post by Dr Travis Bradberry in which he looks at some of the failings of hiring managers.

1. They Overwork People
2. They Don’t Recognise Contributions and Reward Good Work
3. They Don’t Care about Their Employees
4. They Don’t Honour Their Commitments
5. They Hire and Promote the Wrong People
6. They Don’t Let People Pursue Their Passions
7. They Fail to Develop People’s Skills
8. They Fail to Engage Their Creativity
9. They Fail to Challenge People Intellectually

Obviously this doesn’t apply to every hiring manager…….. or does it, in your experience?

In organisations where there is a good recruiter/hiring manager relationship, there is usually a lower amount of outstanding vacancies/requirements. However, when there is little/no relationship between them then there tends to be a blame and fail approach to recruiting the right employees. When I consult with companies, this is an area that unfortunately always proves to be a weak link, but with some development, coaching and open communication, it is an area that can be greatly improved. It just takes a little time, understanding and persistence!

There many other ares you could look to prioritise including wider candidate sourcing, employer brand, career site, LinkedIn activity, mobile site, job boards, advertising, recruitment training, job descriptions, recruitment content marketing etc.

But my final message is a simple one……….. please don’t do nothing and still expect positive recruitment results. You need to make change today - and one thing you can be certain of, your competitors will be making them!

If you want to discuss / need help for any of the above further, just let me know. And remember if you like this post, don’t forget to subscribe to Sirona Says blog to ensure you don’t miss  the weekly posts.

  • Ivan Harrison

    great stuff as always Andy!