By Catherine Black, co-founder of Black Mountain
As we head into a new year, you may have decided that your business needs to ramp up staff or skills in the coming months. But finding the right people to grow your business effectively can be challenging – and the costs can be big if you get it wrong. In a post-Covid world, organisations need to be more agile and dynamic than ever, which means that employing people with simply the “right” CV and experience are not the only ingredients needed for recruitment efforts to succeed. With this in mind, what are the most important things to know to ensure you recruit the right type of people into your organisation?
Get clarity on who you’re looking for
As with any project you take on, knowing your ultimate outcome in terms of your recruitment goals is an essential first step. Caroline Kilbey, Head of Strategic Relationships at digital recruitment company Strider, says that defining the ideal person for a role is integral before even starting to actively recruit. “Before anything else, you first need to define the roles you are recruiting for,” she says. “Once that is done, you should have a clear idea in your head of what the ideal candidate would be in terms of past experience and attributes.”
Create a smaller funnel
Peter Cappelli, Professor of Management at the Wharton School in Pennsylvania in the US, says that companies are better off creating a smaller but better qualified pool of applicants to potentially fill a particular role. This is because, he says, every applicant costs the company money. “Collecting lots of applicants in a wide funnel means that a great many of them won’t fit the job or the company, so employers have to rely on the next step of the hiring process—selection—to weed them out,” he says. This next step, he points out, is often the hardest part of the recruitment process. By narrowing the funnel, the entire process can be made more efficient in terms of both time and cost.
Make sure the role fits your budget – and vice versa
We all know the conundrum: we want the best candidate possible for the role, but budgets are stretched thin. But making sure you have the proper budget for the best qualified candidate is a crucial detail, and can have long term effects on the profitability of that hire in terms your recruitment costs. “You get what you pay for, so while you may think you have saved on paying someone less, you may not attract the best person for the role,” says Kilbey. “This can ultimately means you have to go through the entire recruitment process again further down the line.”
Look for a good company culture fit
If you can, try to recruit from a company similar to your own. For example, someone who has succeeded in a small, agile start-up is likely to have the right attributes for your small and agile company as opposed to the same level of candidate with only large corporate experience. Cultural fit is also important: in a recent podcast interview, APCQ Executive Director of HR Ashley White says getting this right helps you avoid hiring someone who’s a perfect fit for the role, but who is then miserable at work and needs to be replaced in a month or two. Finding someone who is the right cultural fit, she says, is about peeling back the layers and getting to know more about the life and interests of the person outside of work. “I want to know those things not because it’s going to change my hiring decision, but it’s because it gives me a sense of who you are, and whether you’re going to be happy here,” she says.
Hire beyond just the role
A recent white paper by Gartner found that several environmental shifts have rendered recruiting’s traditional approaches outdated, which have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. In conventional recruitment drives, business leaders typically define their hiring needs by articulating the candidate profile they want to see in the role, presuming that desired skills are tied to certain qualifications or experiences. But increasingly, leading organisations are rather focusing on the essential skills needed to get the job done, rather than the job title itself. In this way, recruitment can rather focus on best solutions to fill critical skills gaps, whether through build, buy, borrow or some combination of the three.
Work towards being an attractive employer
This is a long term goal, but a company with a good reputation and where people want to work is far more likely to attract good hires. This comes through a combination of attractive benefits and a positive work culture. When you successfully achieve this, good candidates will come to you. In Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, the top companies were ones that not just survived the Covid shutdowns, but actually thrived. As it turns out, businesses that treat employees well during the toughest of times will attract talent, even when there’s tough competition around.
Finding the right person for your organisation is a challenging task, but it’s well worth doing it properly. Having an appropriate recruitment strategy in place that takes into account our new world of work and that takes a long term view in terms of what that employee will add in the long term is the most effective way of going about it. As we head into 2022, companies are going to need to be as competitive as possible in order to survive, and for those lucky enough to be thriving and expanding, this means having the right people to help them grow.
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