As we head towards 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 Covid world, organisations need to be more agile and dynamic than ever, which means that 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?
- 1. Get clarity on who you’re looking for. Knowing your ultimate recruitment goal 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 critical 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 who the ideal candidate would be in terms of past experience and attributes.”
- 2. 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 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.” 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.
- 3. 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 candidate is a crucial detail, and can have long-term effects on the profitability of that recruitment cost. “You get what you pay for, so, while you may think you have saved by paying someone less, you may not have attracted the best person for the role,” says Kilbey. “This can ultimately mean you have to go through the entire recruitment process again.”
- 4. 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 podcast interview, process management consultancy APQC executive director of HR Ashley White says getting this right helps you avoid hiring someone who is a perfect fit for the role, but who is then miserable at work and needs to be replaced after 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 because it gives me a sense of who you are and whether you’re going to be happy here,” she says.
- 5. Hire beyond just the role. A recent white paper by corporate advisory Gartner found that several environmental shifts had rendered recruiting’s traditional approaches outdated, and this has 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 focusing on the essential skills needed to get the job done, rather than the job title itself. In this way, recruitment can focus on the best solutions to fill critical skills gaps, whether through build, buy, borrow or some combination of the three.
- 6. 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 candidates. 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 had 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, which takes into account our new world of work and takes a long-term view of what that employee will add 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.
Black is a writer, digital strategist and search engine optimisation specialist. She is co-founder of content agency Black Mountain, and works with clients in several sectors, including retail, finance, technology and healthcare.