Creating Effective Talent Pools - Recruitment Challenges

Written by Steve Phillips | Blog | Human Resources | Posted 11/04/2013

I was recently invited by RSG’s Legal partner, Osborne Clarke, to speak at their latest quarterly networking event. The attendants were either HR Directors or Senior HR Managers for organisations of various sizes and in diverse industry sectors such as Construction, Digital Media, Financial Services, IT and Manufacturing. Each quarter the attendees set the agenda for discussion and invite a subject matter expert to lead the discussion. This quarter the main topic was recruitment, namely; “How to create the best pool of candidates from which you can select at the recruitment stage.”

At the beginning of the session, each attendee discussed how they approach recruitment. This varied greatly from internal recruitment teams, reliance on staff referrals and word of mouth, to structured preferred lists of recruitment agencies and then full Recruitment Process Outsourcing solutions. We also discussed the specific recruitment challenges faced by each business. The number and variety of recruitment challenges reflected the diverse collection of organisations represented at the event, the importance of hiring the right people and also the increasing complexity of attracting and securing the best talent.
The main recruitment challenges included:

  • Sourcing candidates with niche skills
    • Attracting “Passive” candidates who may be reluctant to leave safe jobs
    • Attracting candidates directly when you do not have a recognisable brand
    • The overall cost of recruitment; balancing the need for value for money with the need to hire great people
    • Attracting overseas candidates
    • Ensuring that sourcing channels are broad enough to promote diversity in the workplace
    • Retaining talent
    • How to work with schools / universities to ensure that young people have appropriate skills and understand how to apply for jobs
    • General challenges with the recruitment process; the time taken to recruit, the quality of candidate, receiving the same candidates again and again etc
  • The main part of our discussion focussed on how to develop a multi channel sourcing strategy and the different methods which can be utilised. Sharing practical experience and discussing the pros and cons of sourcing channels such as social media, internet advertising, print advertising and recruitment agencies, demonstrated perfectly that effective recruitment can not be “one size fits all”, both from business to business as well as from department to department. Despite the difference in roles and skills recruited and the approach to recruitment, almost every recruitment challenge that we discussed could be tackled by:

    Knowing what you will need to recruit and what “Good” looks like, through effective resource planning and job analysis.
    • Understanding candidate behaviour, where the best people look for jobs and how you can reach the right audience. Knowing the difference in behaviour between active and passive candidates.
    • Developing a strong EVP (Employee Value Proposition) – the characteristics and appeal of working for you. This should accurately communicate why your employees enjoy working for you and importantly what makes you different as an employer.
    • Understanding which sourcing channels are available to you and varying your approach depending on the type of person that you are looking to hire.
    • Creating an outstanding candidate experience through consistent communication of your EVP, an efficient recruitment process and the enthusiasm and professionalism of everyone involved in the recruitment process.

    What is clear is that organisations need to hire talented people, quickly, in order to achieve their strategic goals. This increases the demand for effective sourcing in order to secure the best talent (rather than the best of those who applied if the person does not meet the key criteria) without the process taking so long that it impacts on business initiatives.

    As such recruitment is changing, the creation of, and communication to, talent pools is an ongoing activity, which, when managed well promotes Employer Brand and creates loyalty and interest before a vacancy occurs. With this in mind, organisations are likely to benefit from partnering with an expert who can understand their business objectives, create bespoke sourcing strategies to attract the best active and passive talent and promote outstanding candidate experience throughout the process.

    Steve Phillips
    Director Consultancy & Managed Services

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