MT Expert's Ten Top Tips: Recruiting in Challenging Times

How do you get the best people for your business as the economy recovers? Here are ten tips.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Figures out this week suggested that there were some signs of life in the job market at long last; with the end of the recession apparently in sight, some firms will be beefing up in anticipation of the upturn. But how can you make sure you get the right people? MT asked Neil Wilson, managing director at recruitment consultancy Badenoch & Clark, for his top tips.

1. Don’t compromise
Don’t feel compelled to recruit someone if they don’t have the right skill set for your organisation. Consider the impact on existing colleagues of having the wrong person in post, along with the potential decrease in productivity and the damage to your reputation as a hiring manager. It’s a costly business.

2. Look for genuine enthusiasm
Spot the difference between enthusiasm and someone whose long-held aspirations fit with your organisation. There are plenty of people who need a job and will fight hard to get one, but do they have a genuine desire to work for your organisation? Look beyond a great CV and find the person who sees you as part of their career path. Someone who has singled out your organisation as their ideal next career step is more likely to have a higher level of engagement and productivity.

3. Be proactive
Position your organisation as a more interesting prospect than others by keeping yourself visible and accessible. Think carefully about where you need to be seen and clear some budget for maintaining your brand visibility. With Web 2.0 playing a bigger part in corporate life, this could prove an important part of your attraction strategy.

4. Get your positioning right
Get in front of the right people and make sure they know what your organisation has to offer. Tell people about your business – the vision, what you’re doing to get there and the kind of people you need to achieve it. Demonstrate that your organisation remains in good shape despite the recession. Make your messages clear and concise – essential if you are to stand out in an already noisy market.

5. Don't exaggerate
Don’t be tempted to oversell your organisation and what it offers to new recruits. Portraying the organisation in a positive light is vital but don’t over-egg the pudding. As it is, our research reveals that over a third (34%) of office workers say they view their current employer in a more negative light than they did before they started working for them.

6. Look beyond the tried and tested
Don’t just recruit from the tried and tested routes. As professionals reconsider their career options, many more people are looking at careers in sectors they might previously have glossed over. They potentially bring with them a wealth of new skills, experience and ideas that will benefit your organisation both now and in the future.

7. Think about cultural fit
Get the cultural fit right and make the most of the skills and experiences available from other industries. Work on your employer brand’s profile to attract the top talent from comparable backgrounds.

8. Build external relationships
Now more than ever, building your external talent pipeline is key to future success. With most organisations still needing to attract top class talent to fill key roles it’s essential to get your brand out there. Build relationships now, and when opportunities do arise, you will get the best talent quickly.

9. Make your agencies work harder
Take advantage of your recruitment partners and get full use of their services. By spending time with your recruitment agencies to ensure they fully understand your business and its requirements, you'll spend less time managing the recruitment process. An agency who truly understands your needs will be able to help you identify and deliver the right talent for now and the future.

10. Look to the future
It’s reasonably straightforward to plug today’s gaps in your organisation, as you know what skills and experience you need immediately. But what of the future? Consider your company’s vision, where you want to be and whether you already have the skills and talent to get you there. Having the right talent on board is key; a challenge lies in keeping your best people in the organisation and maintaining a culture that they want to be a part of.

Neil Wilson is Managing Director at recruitment consultancy Badenoch & Clark.

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