“The war for talent is so strong, if your reputation isn’t phenomenal, then you will struggle to attract quality candidates,” says Alec Cochrane, European Recruitment Specialist at Colt Technology Services, and he’s not alone in his thinking.
A survey into the biggest recruitment pains and challenges from over 2,000 UK companies revealed that the most common in-house recruitment challenge currently faced was struggling to fill “certain roles”, followed by not enough quality applications1.
With huge expectations placed on in-house recruiters, who not only have to meet their own targets, but also diplomatically manage relationships with senior personnel who want their vacancies filled urgently, internal recruitment is anything but easy.
STATE OF PLAY
A recent report2 revealed that just over a third (36%) of in-house recruiters think their business highly values their recruitment function. It exposed a number of reasons for this, spanning: Reporting, stakeholder buy-in, capability and the ongoing pressure to fill roles with limited resource.
Given that the ability to recruit the best candidates for a position is essential for any top performing business, why isn’t recruitment perceived as more important, and why are internal recruiters having to fight to change their perception within their organisation?
After all, with 35,275 recruitment agencies currently trading in the UK3, there’s nothing stopping an organisation outsourcing in times of need. In order to gain an advantage, internal recruiters must think differently to stand out – both internally and externally.
“When you find a great candidate, you want to hold onto them, even if you don’t have a job for them right now. If you’re sending them decent, hard-hitting content once a month, you’ll be the first person they think of should they want to change jobs, which is invaluable,” says Cochrane.
Leveraging content to build a more engaged team, and nurture your candidate talent pool, can elevate you high above your competitors, and ensure your organisation begins to appreciate the benefits of having its
own internal recruitment team.
COMMITTED TO THE CAUSE
Social media, namely LinkedIn, has enjoyed a seemingly unstoppable rise as one of the most effective ways to recruit new employees and grow an organisation’s public profile. However, while having a strong public profile is all well and good, the reputation of a company also has a significant part to play when it comes to attracting and retaining the best quality candidates.
“Take the sports industry. Everyone wants to join the well-known brands, but not so much the less well-known ones. How do these smaller companies differentiate themselves from the competition and stand out to attract quality employees?” adds Cochrane.
When it comes to recruitment, the challenge is all too obvious, with a staggering 9,001 new recruitment agencies set in the UK in 20174. How can internal recruiters be expected to compete, given they are often also up against it in terms of time and budget?
“The easiest scenario for an internal recruiter is an existing employee moving into the role. Any company wants internal mobility, because you want to build your team from the bottom up. When you have a skilled employee, you don’t want to lose that talent,” says Cochrane. Is the answer staring internal recruitment teams in the face?
A team that feels emotionally committed and connected to the cause, and loyal to the brand, is far more likely to brag about working for the company. And while some employees will be in it purely for financial gains, building a company is about differentiating between those individuals and those within the company who want to build their career with the brand.
One of the most effective ways of doing that, and engaging the entire workforce, is with internal content. Too often, companies communicate with their employees on a reactional basis – and sending out an internal email advertising current opportunities just won’t cut it.
“I’ve previously worked in firms where we sent out a monthly templated email advertising internal roles, but it had no role descriptions on it, and it just linked to the intranet. I used to see the email, and I’d delete it straight away. Why would other employees do any different?” adds Cochrane.
Even if your current employees aren’t looking to move roles just now, or aren’t suited to the advertised role, a happy and motivated workforce are far more likely to refer quality candidates, be it friends or former work colleagues, which has benefits for both parties.
“If you’re looking to employ someone on, say, £80,000, it would probably cost between £12- 18,000 for an agency to recruit them. The standard industry referral bonus is £2,500, so you’re saving yourself a huge amount, while your employee reaps the rewards.” Instead of looking for a quick fix that doesn’t get results, start to think like a publisher. Consider what the next 12 months will look like for your employees. What are the big milestones? What is most likely to engage them, and how can the existing team help support this?
BUILDING A BRAND
Any internal switch opens up a new position which, if you’re building from the bottom up, is likely to eventually require an external candidate. And, as is the way with recruiting, it’s likely that in the past you will have encountered the perfect candidate, just at the wrong time. The question is, are they still available, and are you still engaging with them?
It’s all too easy to allow communications to stop once a role is filled, and while an email or phone call goes a long way, sharing quality content is an effective and efficient way to keep them engaged – and ensure you’re the first they think of when they’re looking for their next role, or even sooner.
“Giving people your time of day is hugely important and sending out good content only enhances that. Once you’ve built that rapport, candidates recognise that you’re going above and beyond to stay in touch, and they’ll come to you for advice. And, if the content is genuinely interesting, why would you not give it 20 minutes of your time?” adds Cochrane.
In a world where your competitors are likely to be contacting your candidates with voicemails and LinkedIn messages, biding your time to truly make yourself stand out and building a brand that your candidate pool trusts, respects, and looks forward to reading, rather than immediately deleting, can make all the difference.