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The key elements of a successful 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 and with unemployment rates at just 4% according to The Office of National statistics, having and executing a successful recruitment strategy is key. The process itself can seem daunting and time consuming, but here we outline 4 key steps to break down the process and position your company to win in the war for talent.

1. Identify the position

Before anything else the first step in recruitment is the identification of 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 stills into ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ and try not to have more than 3 bullets points in each section.
Include information about career progression and opportunity to upskill and 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 and considering the Employee Value Proposition is key.
Know that prospective candidates (particularly Millennials and Gen Z) will likely check your website, 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, 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 candidate, try creating an internal incentive or referral scheme for current employees that enables them to be rewarded 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 for example;
  • 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

You can learn more about effective screening methods from our article on this topic on our website


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;

  1. Maintain regular communication and be aware that lengthy delays can significantly increase the risk of drop out’s (losing your candidate).
  2. Become consciously aware of any unconscious bias and take steps to avoid this.
  3. 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 remember to trust your gut feeling! Intuition plays a huge part in recruitment process and will often help guide you over the finish line with your decision.