I think everyone would agree that being in “fire fighting mode” is neither enjoyable nor good for your business. Having a proper recruitment strategy, underpinned by a good process and the technology and staff needed to deliver it enables your business to be proactive rather than reactive.
“Be proactive not reactive, for an apparently insignificant issue ignored today can spawn tomorrow's catastrophe.” ― Ken Poirot
When new opportunities present themselves, new contracts are won or further onerous reporting requirements are wheeled out by the government, companies often need to bring in more staff. Why is it that when these things happen most companies seem to be surprised, starting from square one; rushing together a job spec, calling agencies and allowing the recruitment process to take over their day jobs? A lack of a defined recruitment strategy often leads to lots of wasted time, and unfortunately it also often leads to a hasty decision when a “bum on a seat” becomes the priority rather than a strategic hire.
Unfortunately I don’t usually get the opportunity to work with businesses until things have started to go wrong, and often I’m not brought in until things have gone very wrong. If companies spent a small amount of time and effort putting together a recruitment strategy, a plan to implement it and a process to underpin both then they would save a lot of money and pain later down the line.
The 6 key things to remember about a successful recruitment strategy are as follows:
1) Think of both the possible positives and negatives of the future. The old adage of “hope for the best, and plan for the worst” works well here. Look at the internal and external factors that are likely to effect your business over the next 12-18 months and forecast your headcount accordingly.
2) Make sure all of the departments within your business are considered, including the support functions. It is no good hiring an extra 5 sales staff to win extra business if you then don’t have the warehouse staff to deliver on the orders or the credit control capability to chase the debt. If you have an HR department then it is essential to include them in the planning, as well as the delivery.
3) Put together a plan, working backwards from when you need staff to be fully integrated into your business. You will need to include at least a month for them to get up to speed once they’ve joined... If your plans involve expansion in 9 months then you should be proactively recruiting 3-6 months beforehand.
4) Make sure everyone has bought into your plan and that you have sign off from the relevant decision makers. Delaying your process at the critical stage because you need to go and ask permission or consult other interested parties is likely to cause a major problems and can often result in losing your preferred candidate.
5) Have a process in place. If you have Job Specs on file for the most frequently vacant posts and good relationships with agencies in those areas then you can react quickly. If you know who your interviewers are, then make sure that they are trained, and that some element of their role can be covered by someone else so whilst they are sifting CVs and interviewing.
6) Be proactive. Make sure that you keep CVs of candidates who were “pipped at the post” during a previous process. Make sure your brand is attractive and that you are well represented on LinkedIN and other social media platforms. Take the time to interact in local business forums and especially at trade related events. This builds credibility and develops your network.
People may well end up approaching you, you can then incorporate these prospective hires into your ongoing recruitment strategy...
It can feel like a waste of time planning for something that may not happen but with 70% of companies needing to hire at least every 3 months and the seeming end of “jobs for life” having at least a basic strategy coupled with good processes and systems can at the very least mean that the fire engine is ready and waiting...
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