Group of people talking


The Key Elements of a Recruiting Strategy

Attracting and retaining talent is one of the biggest and most important challenges any business will face. In most markets, labour demand outstrips supply; so, having and executing a successful recruitment strategy is key. The process itself can seem daunting and time consuming, but here we outline four key steps to break down the process and position your company to win in this competitive talent market.

1. Identify the position

Before anything else, the first step in recruitment is identifying a skill gap: perhaps a replacement for someone who has left or due to an increase in workload or new project demand. Before you hire externally, it is worth checking if anyone in your team can be upskilled to take on some additional work. Modern employers are increasingly looking for multiskilled labour, so this may provide an opportunity to further develop your existing workforce.

Once a need to go to market has been identified, then define what essential skills and attributes are needed along with the soft skills required to make a successful team.

2. Candidate attraction

In a market where there are more candidates than jobs, it is important to make sure your company stands out as a prospective employer. Writing a catchy job specification is key, along with making the most of online platforms and social media channels.

When writing the job specification, split up the key skills into ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ and try not to have more than three bullet points in each section. Include information about career progression and opportunity to upskill—avoid relying solely on the brand of your company to attract people. Nowadays, candidates have choices and possess more control than ever before when it comes to job hunting. Where once you could lean on the strength of saying things like “we are a global market leader in X”, this is no longer enough, so considering the Employee Value Proposition is key.

Know that prospective candidates will likely check your website and social media while job hunting, so maintaining a positive online footprint is key and goes hand in hand with your job spec. Be sure to keep your websites, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts up to date with information about your company along with any other key initiatives such as CSR events or commitments to Diversity and Inclusion.

To generate relevant candidates, try creating an internal incentive or referral scheme for current employees that rewards them in some way for successfully referring a new hire. After all, no one knows the job and the company like they do!

3. Interviewing & selling the position

Once you start receiving CVs, let people know you have received them and that you’ll get back to them in a certain timeframe. This communication is good practice and reflects well on your company. Even if candidates don’t secure the job or get taken forward to interview, they appreciate feeling valued and not ignored when they have taken the time to express interest in a position. Once potential candidates have been selected, start screening with a short, initial phone interview that establishes some high-level information such as:

  • Candidate location
  • Availability
  • Key skills
  • Why they are interested in the job
  • Communication skills

In the current climate, face-to-face interviews may not be possible, so a second stage would ideally be carried out via video call. It is always important to remember that interviews are, to some extent, a two-way process and while having a planned list of good questions to ask is important, it is also good to be able to share with your interviewee some of the key selling points of your business and of the role. Some of these include:

  • What a day in the job is like
  • The work environment and culture
  • Growth plans and goals
  • Perks and benefits
  • How performance is evaluated and rewarded
  • What the company does for charity or how they encourage diversity and inclusion

4. Making a decision

Committing to hiring an employee is a big decision and the costs associated with getting it wrong can be significant, making this part of the process difficult for employers. It’s important to think through the decision-making process and avoid making a knee jerk reaction (especially if the hire is urgent), but here are a few things to remember as you consider your decision:

  • Maintain regular communication and be aware that lengthy delays can significantly increase the risk of dropouts (losing your candidate)
  • Become consciously aware of any unconscious bias and take steps to avoid this
  • Always make an employment offer subject to successful background checks

Overall, navigating the recruitment process successfully is more of an art than a science, but it is possible to make the experience less daunting by breaking it down into stages like this. Following these steps will provide a framework for success, but overall remember to trust your gut feeling! Intuition plays a huge part in recruitment and will help guide you over the finish line.