By: Deborah Gray, Founding Director at Totum Partners
While the worst of the pandemic appears to be over, the economic environment is still challenging. The rising demand for workers coupled with a lack of suitable candidates has spawned a new crisis entirely. The percentage of businesses facing difficulties in hiring staff rose sharply in the second consecutive quarter. It rose to 70% from 63% in Q1, a significant rise from a reported 53% in Q4 2020 and these hiring difficulties are likely to persist in the face of a critical skills shortage, particularly in highly skilled professions. Against this backdrop it’s critical that businesses grasp what drives candidates to choose a particular firm and have the right blend of support from their recruitment team and from outside executive search consultancies to ensure they secure the staff they need.
Appreciating why candidates choose a particular business
Taking time to clearly understand what factors influence candidates to choose a particular business is vitally important in such a tough hiring market. Showcasing the opportunities candidates have to grow and progress is a key factor in the hiring process as is demonstrating that the business has a robust corporate culture, with values and beliefs that chime with those of the candidates that the business is looking to recruit.
As a result of the pandemic, there is also a spotlight on having a first-rate flexible working policy and a wellbeing framework that helps safeguard employees’ health and mental wellbeing. In a far more digitally-focused environment, where candidates want reassurance that they will have the tools to do their job, it’s important too to have the latest technology in place. Finally, companies need to be able to clearly articulate and demonstrate that they have a set of policies and, more importantly, activity to illustrate the business’ positive social impact.
Look within for solutions
In searching for solutions to the current hiring challenges, companies should not forget that they can reach within to help themselves. For instance, referral schemes offer rewards for those, usually existing staff, who make the initial connection between a successful candidate and a company. Referral schemes are a great way to filter candidates as existing employees and industry professionals understand what it takes to be successful in their sector.
Also, further, upskilling existing staff not only encourages the development of the workforce but can also promote loyalty and positively impact company culture – showing employees there is a path for progression, that they are valued and deepening their knowledge in preparation for higher responsibilities. As effective additions to more thorough strategies, referral schemes and putting more emphasis on internal training and the potential for career progression can be very useful to firms looking to hire quality candidates that match the company’s values and culture.
External consultants can play a vital role
Research shows that diverse workforces outperform those with limited diversity by as much as 48%. So, at Totum, we believe the best candidates are found when sourcing from a broad and diverse pool of talent so using not only internal capabilities but also external consultants too makes sense.
Specialist executive search and recruitment firms, provide the ability to source diverse, highly qualified candidates for both executive and senior roles. They can also provide specific advice on the market, salaries, bonus structures and more, helping to position the business as the most attractive option for highly desired candidates.
Good consultancies develop deep and long-term relationships with their clients to ensure they have a strong understanding of the sector, but also of the business’ recruitment requirements. They will commit resources to filling the role you have asked them to focus on, utilising specific staff and software. The consultant or researcher assigned will be specialised in identifying candidates with the skills you are recruiting for and will have access to a diverse pool of candidates with highly relevant capabilities that have been thoroughly vetted to determine their suitability for the role.
With a deep understanding of their clients’ needs consultancies are able to provide small numbers of candidates who are closely matched to the clients’ requirements, and they will know exactly how to tailor an offer to attract the very best talent.
Human touch is key
Many external consultants develop considered methodologies and deploy an array of tech and data-science driven software to try and harness the latest scientific advances for the benefit of recruitment. All this is worthwhile, but at the heart of any recruitment strategy should be a human touch.
In a market that is so competitive and where candidates have a great deal of choice, a business which goes over and above to make candidates feel wanted, whether it be a call from the CEO, or a lunch with the hiring manager, will be the ones that are chosen. It is the human touches that companies should consider as being key to their recruitment process. Those firms that do will be the most successful in recruiting the staff they need to drive the growth they require to achieve the business success that all their stakeholders desire.