Ed Hussey – People Solutions Director
There is a common issue which many of our clients face – they struggle to attract the right talent and they spend thousands of pounds on employment agency fees and expensive newspaper advertising. This is not because they offer inadequate pay or there is a general skill shortage, it is because they do not have a systematic recruitment process that effectively uses technology. We explore a basic structure which all SME’s can use in the recruitment process.
Delivering significant cost and time savings, but more importantly, speeding up the process and making sure new recruits stay with the organisation is every business owner’s dream. Here are eight simple steps on how it can be achieved.
1. Construct the job correctly
The recruitment process starts with a clear idea of what the job is. Avoid combining multiple roles which are not related – if you are looking for a finance manager, it is unlikely they will also want or be able to do marketing and sales as well – something will suffer. Be convinced that the role will add value to your business in some way, otherwise rethink why you need it.
2. Decide on a title and create a job description
Titles are incredibly important when it comes to attracting the right people for a job. You should ensure that your title is descriptive and comparable to other job titles from similar jobs in the market. Avoid exaggerating or enhancing titles as this will attract the wrong type of candidate. For example, ’senior environmental impact officer‘ will not make a ’waste disposal operative‘ job more appealing. If you attract someone on false pretences you could soon end up with the expense of having to rehire for the job.
Describe the tasks required as clearly as you can. This will help you determine the skills and experience you need – which is the main focus for your search. A basic structure can help you think through the core skill areas: technical capability, personal effectiveness, commercial awareness and managerial capability.
3. Conduct salary benchmarking and job research
Use well known national recruitment websites to find similar vacancies. www.indeed.com is a good place to start as it records all listings.
If you cannot find any jobs which are comparable to your vacancy, unless it is very niche, consider changing the title to something more widely used. For example, some companies want to hire a ‘People Executive’ when most such roles are advertised as ‘HR Manager’. Benchmark the market rate salary bands for your vacancy to ensure you set the rewards at the right level for the role. Recognise that if you set the salary offer significantly lower than the market, exceptional people will not apply. Likewise, on negotiation be prepared to go a little higher for the right candidate if they are exceptional.
4. Develop a compelling advert
During your job research keep copies of adverts you like the look of and develop your advert to maximise interest in your vacancy. Remember your advert needs to sell your company and reflect its branding whilst at the same time use the right tone and language. It must generally sell the job to the profile of candidates you are looking to attract. This means you will produce quite different adverts for a graphic designer compared to a finance controller – understand their touch points and communicate to them. But don’t fall into the trap of appealing to certain age groups or specifying experience lengths of, for example, over 5 years – as this can fall foul of age discrimination legislation.
5. Advertise widely using the web
The most important part of the recruitment process for an SME is online promotion, rather than traditional print media in newspapers and magazines. Not only is print media very expensive, but also increasingly ineffective as it is a declining medium. Online advertising is significantly cheaper and will deliver candidates more quickly. Most of the popular websites will usually be able to generate qualified candidates for most non specialist roles and there are good sites which cater for specific skills. You should expect to pay less than £200 for one advert on a general site and less than £500 for a site targeting a specific niche. As it is free, you should also consider using www.jobseekers.direct.
gov.uk – currently the largest UK jobs website. Some sites, such as www.simplifiedrecruitment.com, also facilitate advertising on multiple sites with some filter options to help with initial shortlisting.
6. Promote the job internally
Offering new jobs internally and inviting existing staff to either apply or recommend people they know for the job is highly motivational and actively promotes staff retention. If you have a company website, you should also put details of the job on it so that people interested in working for you can see it and apply. If your company has a social media presence such as LinkedIn or Facebook, you should also use it to promote available jobs (and research the candidates that you intend to interview). Also, consider cash rewards for an employee that recommends a candidate who you choose to employ.
7. Use an applicant tracking system
Nearly all major corporations use some form of applicant tracking system (ATS) to handle job applications and to manage CV data through open source or software as a service offerings (SaaS). Using an ATS allows employers to keep track of candidates and capture important information such as salary expectations and notice periods. Once you set up your ATS, ask candidates to apply online and use the features within the system to keep track of each application, ensuring you contact both the successful and unsuccessful applicants. Some sites, such as www.resumetracker.com, provide access to these services free or at minimal cost.
8. Remember your employer brand
All businesses have an employer brand, which is the way employees perceive you as an employer. The jobs you advertise and the way you treat applicants when they apply will all contribute to your employer brand so ensure that you represent your company well throughout the recruitment process.
Following these steps will ensure that not only will you hire the right people in a short time frame, but you will do so without spending thousands of pounds on employment agency fees or expensive newspaper advertising. While you may still find it necessary to use agents for some hard to find roles, nowadays the most talented and technology aware candidates are found online, so employers who don’t implement online direct sourcing for jobs will find themselves missing out on some of the best candidates.
At Menzies, we use these steps to successfully manage the recruitment process for clients, hiring from trainee up to director level. By regularly helping to set up and utilise these options we help to drive cost out of recruitment processes, attract great candidates and free up time so that you can focus on your business.