As competition for the best candidates intensifies, employers need to reassess their recruitment strategies. Making the transition to becoming employers of choice can seem an arduous task, yet with the help of a specialist partner, companies can drastically increase their chances of securing their workers of the future and build a more robust and appealing proposition.
Read our top five top tips that any business can follow for smarter recruitment:
THINK ABOUT YOUR BRAND FROM A CANDIDATES PERSPECTIVE
What information can candidates access about your business and what does it say about your brand? Assess your presence across different channels and platforms and see how it compares to the competition. It may well be time to build a strong-er employer brand to attract the brightest minds.
Does your website contain enough information not only about what you offer customers but what you offer potential employees? Do you get a sense of the culture and working environment? Do the people in the pictures reflect the diversity of the talent pool or are you alienating sections of the talent pool?
When you advertise a role, you also need to look at it from a candidate’s perspective. Too many adverts start with telling people what the employer is looking for rather than what they have to offer. Advertising a post is not a box ticking exercise with a list of essential and desirable attributes. Why should someone apply to you ahead of the multitude of other businesses on the market? Start with what you have to offer and be less prescriptive about what you are looking for. Try to inspire and intrigue people and encourage them to have a conversation.
WHAT’S THE PACKAGE?
Before advertising a role, you need to package your offer. According to CIPD’s Labour Market Outlook Spring 2022, raising pay has been the most popular response to the skills shortage. 44% of employers said they had raised pay to attract talent and with the current cost of living crisis there is increasing pressure to take inflation into account when setting salary levels.
Take time to research the market, understand what your competitors are offering and keep abreast of market trends. Your recruitment partner will help take the strain. Once you have decided on the salary, make sure you include it in the job advert. It is important to be transparent from the outset and it could help you stand out from the crowd.
Yet setting a salary is just the start of the process of putting together an attractive package and for many people it is more than market salaries that attract talent to a company. Today’s discerning candidates are looking for a comprehensive offer, especially those elements which link to people’s work-life balance. It is just as important to find ways of optimising, holiday allowances, flexible working policies and opportunities for career progression.
What is your policy on hybrid working? This could be a make or break for prospective candidates. People are demanding greater flexibility and the technology is in place to ensure that many tasks can be carried out just as effectively from the kitchen table as they can from the office. Flexibility on time might also be attractive for candidates who have caring responsibilities and must fit work around the demands of family. Wherever possible, let employees have input into where and when they work.
WIDEN THE NET
Employers now need to be more open minded about a candidate’s background and previous experience.
The advent of Industry 4.0 calls for more varied skills sets and candidates that can bring experience from other sectors are now in demand across design, engineering, and manufacturing employers. That should influence where you place your job advert, the job specification and the jargon used to describe it.
No employer can afford to alienate potential recruits. Diversity and inclusion are no longer a nice-to-have but are critical to an effective recruitment strategy. A good starting point is addressing gender imbalance.
According to research by the Royal Academy of Engineering and WISE, just 12% of engineers in the UK are women and on average they earn around 11% less than their male counterparts. Unfortunately, it has taken a national skills crisis to force the sector to take this issue seriously. Many businesses are finally waking up to the fact that the sector has an image problem and must become more inclusive to have the capabilities to compete on the global stage.
It is time to be proactive. Go and visit local schools to engage with young people, to challenge stereotypes, address misconceptions and demonstrate that design, manufacturing, and engineering offer a rewarding career for everyone. At the same time, look at your literature and the images on your website and ask yourself what they say about your business. Which groups are the most represented in images in your literature?
Also, remember that widening the net is about cognitive diversity as much as it is about issues such as gender and ethnicity. The tendency is for employers to be drawn to people with the same world view. Yet if you have a business full of people who think the same you, you are limiting possibilities and putting the blinkers on. You don’t want to operate in an echo chamber. Embrace people from different backgrounds with different lived experiences.
They will help challenge your business, provide new insight, and drive innovation. A cognitively diverse workforce is a more intelligent, creative, and nimble one. Strategic decision making and solving complex problems requires a team that has a range of perspectives. Talk to candidates and don’t ask yourself whether they think the same as you but how their otherness can give you a competitive edge.
IMPROVE YOUR PROCESSES
Your recruitment process should run as smoothly as possible. Think about it from a candidate’s perspective. How long are you keeping them waiting before deciding who to interview? Are there too many unnecessary hurdles to jump? How quickly can you make decisions and how effectively do you communicate them to applicants?
Remember that you as well as they want to stand out from the competition. What does your process say about your brand? If you are slow, arrogant, or unresponsive, you will lose the war on talent.
If you are fortunate enough to have received strong applications, act quickly before they are snapped up by the competition. Provide applicants with email acknowledgements and give a clear timeframe you must stick to. Give them plenty of information prior to interview and be available to answer any queries.
Unsuccessful candidates must be treated just as professionally and left with a positive impression of the business. Inform people promptly that they haven’t made the next stage, thank them for their application and inform them of any other roles that might be available. Provide constructive post-interview feedback and ensure you never burn your bridges. Particularly in the world of social media, people share their recruitment experiences and negative PR will be very damaging.
When it comes to interviews, remember it is a two-way process. Before entering the room to talk to prospective employees, ask yourself who is inter-viewing whom? The skilled candidate you are about to speak to is most likely talking to a few potential employers. Whilst determining whether they are the right person for your business, you must also take on the role of a salesperson.
That means not only talking to them about the role but providing insight into the company and its culture. Encourage them to question you and make sure you allocate enough time for it. Ask yourself if your questions really add value. You should have most of the information you need from their application. Spend most of your time having an open dialogue, allowing them to open up and talk freely. That way you will both get a far better sense of whether you share the same passions and values.
Make sure you have the relevant people in the room with you to help deter-mine suitability and provide as much information as possible about what the job will entail. Don’t make them come back another time to speak to a head of department if you can kill two birds with one stone. It shouldn’t be more than a two-stage process or candidates lose interest and focus their attention elsewhere.
On the day of the interview give candidates a tour of the workspace. Be as transparent and encourage them to speak to people: your employees should be your best advocates.
REASSESS YOUR ONBOARDING PROCESS
Too often, employees leave a new role within weeks of starting. There are many reasons cited, including they don’t feel they have been embraced by the business, the job hasn’t lived up to expectations and communication was poor.
It is important to understand that the job offer is not the end of the recruitment process. In a candidate’s market, people are more than willing to jump ship if you are not delivering on your promises and so the on-boarding or induction process is critical. Make sure you allocate enough time and resources to making that candidate feel at home and a valued part of the team.
Keep lines of communication open between the job offer and agreed start date. Before they come on site, ensure they have a workspace, their logged onto the system and their equipment is in working order. If any problems arise, address them without delay. Introduce the new recruit to their peers. Make sure that everyone is allocated time to help with the induction and start to build relationships.
The focus is now very much on retention and demonstrating that they have an exciting future in your business. Be encouraging, show praise, offer development opportunities, and carry out regular reviews to ensure everything is going smoothly.