These are the thoughts and takeaways from a special Lite Resourcing Think Tank Fringe Event held on Thursday 26th November 2014, as part of the two day Recruitment Live Exhibition, titled ‘Building a Fit for Purpose Recruitment Function Reflective of a Candidate Driven Market’.
The following summary has been prepared to reflect a segment of the discussion held amongst senior Resourcing and HR professionals from leading national and international businesses. Specific company details, experiences and examples have been omitted from this summary as all discussions are held under ‘Chatham House Rules’.
During the recession candidate confidence was at an all time low – there were few jobs being offered and employees were often afraid to leave their current place of work due to the uncertainty and risk they may face. However, more recently companies have started to experience growth in business and confidence and therefore are increasing their hiring plans. This has meant that it’s now seemingly the norm for the best talent to have multiple opportunities and job offers on the table, meaning that companies are having to do more and more to make candidates chose their organisation. This summary will briefly explore the challenges and best practice for recruitment in this candidate driven market.
Best Practice in a Candidate Driven Market
In a candidate driven market the experience candidates receive throughout the recruitment process is extremely important. Candidate experience from all touch points of the assessment process needs to be considered. These could include layout of a candidate website and types of media used to attract them to the more personal one to one situations such as interviews. Candidates often form an impression of the brand due to this experience and may even use it as the deciding factor when offered a role. This experience needs to be good for both offered and rejected candidates so that all are left with positive views of the brand. This can help with the reputation of a brand and therefore encourage future candidates. The recruitment process also needs to be as quick as possible to not miss out on the top talent and give candidates a good experience. Well written online tests can help with this.
In later stages of the candidate assessment process it is important for the company to also sell itself to the candidate, rather than just the other way around. There needs to be clear communication around if the candidate takes the job what’s in it for them? Sometimes it is impossible to compete on salary and therefore clear communication of the whole package being offered to a candidate is important. It may be necessary to adapt this package, where possible, to what is important to the candidate. Some really small changes and benefits that are often forgotten could be a motivating factor for a candidate to join a company – it is crucial to understand the candidate and their motivators fully.
Line manager effectiveness
The resourcing function should have the ability to advise hiring managers throughout recruitment processes. Communication of the type of market and what this means for hiring is essential. If hiring managers are aware of the overall hiring strategy of the business and the values and behaviours that make the perfect candidate they are likely to be more effective and responsive when hiring. In a candidate driven market setting expectations for when feedback will be needed and training on how to represent the company in interviews is crucial. If hiring managers are reluctant to listen, speaking to them about the impact they are having on candidate experience, and ultimately the company, is a good way to get them onboard. Putting together a clear plan, with appointments in both the hiring managers’ and resourcing team’s diaries sets expectations of when certain stages of the process should be completed. Using hiring managers who are currently doing very well in the process as advocates and trainers is a good way to show other managers how they could also do this. Appraisal systems for line managers can also include hiring ability and commitment to the recruitment process outlined by HR.
In a candidate driven market it is also important to focus on developing internal talent. This can mean that the company does not have to enter the ‘battlefield’ for external talent to fill the role. Clear development processes for internal talent can also be seen as an attractive aspect of a company when trying to entice external talent. In this type of market other methods of retaining staff also need to be considered to lower attrition and ultimately lead to less roles to have to compete to fill. Processes such as mentoring for new and existing employees (trying to close the communication gap between HR and employees) and creating a clear employer brand and culture can lead to current employees being less likely to want to leave the company.
- Lack of resource – each role needs more time to be able to secure the best candidate. The need for extra budget and time needs to be communicated to the business including the gain and pain if this is or isn’t given the focus needed.
- Candidate confidence is leading to some applicants not even turning up to arranged interviews. There is not much that can be done in these instances other than constant communication with the candidate to ensure they will be there and setting expectations for line managers.
- When in a slightly less accessible location it can be harder to attract candidates when they have so many other options. Communication of the whole package and any added benefits that can be offered is crucial from the start of the process.
- Hiring managers are not always adapting their strategy for the new market. Clear communication of why hiring needs to be slightly different and of what is going on in the market is essential. This is where resourcing gain higher trust from hiring managers by being seen more as a partner to help them.
- Harder to entice talent – Hiring around behaviours and values is a newer strategy to some companies but means that recruits are more likely to fit into the organisation; helping to create a clear culture. It also makes a talent pool available that has not been looked at before.
- Focus on employer branding – this may be costly and take time but could lead to an organisation that has a more concurrent and effective workforce, as well as helping with candidate attraction.
- Higher level of attrition – companies are having to focus more on how to retain staff. This has long term gains for the company.
Overall, companies cannot sit back and ignore changes in the market. Having a well known brand is not enough, especially in the current climate. Companies need to adapt their employer branding and assessment processes to stay competitive.