HR & Management

Tips for businesses to boost staff recruitment strategy

8 min read

24 May 2017

Unemployment rates are low and people are increasingly able to pick and choose jobs, so a solid recruitment strategy is key.

First impressions are made long before a potential candidate steps through the door – three quarters of them are considering an employer’s brand before applying for a job. As a result, organisations are being forced to change how they think about a recruitment strategy.

Many CEOs can see that there are serious talent management challenges ahead; 93 per cent say that they recognise the need to change their recruitment agenda for attracting and retaining talent. But an enormous 61 per cent haven’t yet taken the first step.

Business leaders who want to attract and retain top talent need to be innovative in their approach to recruitment strategy – and then ensure they have good practices in place to enable success early and often.

On-boarding is key

The key point is that recruitment must be closely integrated with an overall talent strategy. It is common for recruitment to be seen very much as the domain of HR or even outsourced entirely to recruitment agencies. In fact, in a global market, improved candidates and job matching is becoming more like marketing.

Here are a number of actions businesses should take to boost their recruitment strategy and attract the best talent:

(1) Make recruitment strategic

It is tempting when one person leaves a job to simply recruit for a direct replacement. Throw out this assumption. When someone leaves, it is much more appropriate to look at the business’ strategy as it currently stands and what it is trying to achieve in the future, and then reconsider what skills are required to meet those objectives.

People at a leadership level should take a step back and ask “What type of talent do we need today to help us get to where we want to be?”

(2) Make hiring a business priority

Recruitment strategy should certainly not be solely the domain of an HR person or an external agency. To hire the right people quickly and maximise the budget that is available, the business should consider the entire candidate experience from start to finish.

According to The Boston Consulting Group, companies that excel in recruiting experience 3.5 times more revenue growth than their competition. As a first step, look at how your employer brand is represented across multiple channels, including mobile and social media. Think of all of the ways people may interact with your company.

Glassdoor found that 45 per cent of job seekers search for job postings at least once a day on their mobile device. Now, think of the next phase of the process when people start interacting with one another. Your leaders have to take ownership of the recruitment strategy so they show potential candidates they have spent time learning about them and their qualifications.

While a recruiter can source great candidates, if managers are not spending time looking at CVs and matching a shortlist of candidates with the skills the business needs to develop, recruitment will continue to fail to meet needs.

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(3) Focus on the on-boarding process

The transition period between hiring a person and when they start working productively for the business is critical. Research from SHRM found that 69 per cent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great on-boarding.

Design on-boarding is a business process that sets individuals up for success and enables them to make an impact quickly. We all know how important relationships are at work.

As a first step, consider setting up structured meetings with key individuals inside and outside their department, so that new people can get up to speed quickly with the business and the competitive landscape in which it operates.

(4) Be explicit about the organisation’s values

Whatever values your organisation has, make it absolutely clear to new people. For example, let’s say your organisation values feedback top to bottom.

Show new employees how to give and receive meaningful feedback early and often so they understand how they can do their part to uphold your organisation’s values. Explain not only that you have a feedback-rich culture, but also exactly what that means. It may mean preparing in a certain way for a biweekly, one-to-one check-in with the manager, for example.

(5) Keep one eye on the leadership pipeline at all times

You may be recruiting the person in front of you for a specific role. They may be a great fit for that role at present, but it is important to keep an eye towards filling your leadership pipeline. During the interview, ask pertinent competency questions to assess their potential for future leadership.

For example, to identify candidates with potential for leadership, you might say, “Talk to me about a time when you initiated a people process or programme that was successful in your career?” or “Why did you believe your organisation needed the programme and what steps did you take to initiate and develop the programme?”

Recruit for business culture fit

On average, it can take anywhere between six to eight months for new hires to reach full productivity. If your recruitment strategy and on-boarding process are properly set up and part of a broader talent strategy, the speed from hire to time to productivity can be much quicker.

People’s expectations of work are changing faster than we can adapt to meet their needs. Business leaders are in a prime position to bring the value closer to their potential candidates than ever before. Recruiting and on-boarding are two of the first experiences a new hire has with your company and its people.

You want to attract great candidates with a strong employer brand and an effective recruitment strategy from start to finish. You also want to be able to build engagement and loyalty with that new hire through the on-boarding process and beyond.

It is increasingly important not only to recruit a person with the right skillset for a particular role, but also to hire people a good fit with the culture of the business – individuals with the flexibility and adaptability to change and evolve their skill sets as necessary for the business.

Candidates are increasingly recognising the changing nature of work themselves and looking for opportunities for development. Businesses who can offer them this are well placed to attract and retain the best people.

Nina Mehta-Vania is a talent management consultant for Halogen Software

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