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The Need for Speed

29.12.2013

The Need for Speed

Your company is only as good as the people it employs and speed is of the essence in today’s recruitment market.

The return of confidence in the North East business community is the strongest sign of economic recovery we’ve seen for a long time.

Green shoots of growth have been evident in a host of surveys and polls recently and, while there’s still a long way to go, recruitment is firmly back on the agenda.

In the second half of 2013 we saw a big uplift in the number of jobs registered, backing up KPMG and the REC’s national figures which suggest overall vacancies are increasing at their fastest pace since July 1998.

On the flip side, the availability of candidates fell in November, with the rate of decline at its sharpest since July 2007.

In tough economic times consolidation is the first thought for many businesses, often long before planning for growth. It’s therefore unsurprising that 2013 has been described as the year of the counter offer; and we’ve certainly seen a significant increase in the number being made, along with the amount of people accepting improved deals to stay put.

This may be part of the reason permanent salary growth is at a six-year high, but whether or not that’s the case, what this does mean is that recruiters need to adapt to the new candidate driven status quo and change their ways if they want to be successful.

So, how do you attract the best candidates and convince them to join you? It depends on how well you know the market and how specialised the role is.

Short term, increased salary and benefits are obvious ways to attract talent, but successful recruitment needs a long-term view and finding someone with the right skills, personality, ambition and motivation to match your organisation is surely the genuine goal.

Social media provides a cost-effective opportunity to be more proactive, with some very positive results at the “volume end” of the market. But when it comes to more specialist and senior roles, the idea that agency recruiters can be replaced by Twitter and LinkedIn campaigns is one that very much underestimates the impact a quality recruiter has within the placement process.

Attracting and recruiting the right people has always been a challenge, but now more than ever the relationship between business and agency recruiter is crucial.

In an industry that often gets a bad press, being able to find the right recruitment partner allows you to capitalise on their market knowledge and expertise. A good recruiter will show you a constant duty of care, keeping you up-to-date and providing realistic guidance on the market and how you can attract top talent.

From your side, you need to be able to trust the advice you receive, as you may need to be flexible on the skills and solutions you’re looking for. Which is not always as bad as it sounds – the best personality fit is surely better with some training than someone with the right skills but wrong attitude?

The truth is that the best people aren’t always looking, so by building a partnership your recruiter will be able to help you find the right people all year round, ensuring you’re the first to know about them.

While there’s little you can do to influence a counter offer, what you can do is move through the recruitment process with speed and without delaying decision making.

Great people always have options and there’s nothing worse than sending out a negative message when competitors are doing the opposite. If you like someone, don’t delay in inviting them for interview or making an offer.

In fact, there’s nothing worse than silence after an interview. You’ve worked hard to attract the best talent and then you go quiet. It doesn’t take long for someone to feel disengaged and look closer at other opportunities. It often leaves candidates feeling like they weren’t the right person for the job, even when that’s not necessarily the case.

Once you engage in a candidate driven market you need to be prepared to find time and make some quick decisions. Everyone is busy and recruitment is often an addition to the day job, but the more time and importance you place on the process, the better results you will see. After all, your company is only as good as the people it employs.

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