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The cornerstones of good recruitment practice

The cornerstones of good recruitment practice have always been a thorough understanding of job descriptions and candidates.

This comes from taking a consultative approach to recruiting, with time invested in the process.

hatHowever this time has been greatly reduced with the advent of technology and increased competition. With more and more business being done online, the introduction of candidates became even more transactional, with many suppliers providing little more than a CV mailing service. Detailed interviews with candidates and job briefs became a thing of the past, on the most part, where the emphasis was on speed and cost.
The ease of submitting a CV, a job or posting details online resulted in a significant shift from relationship to transaction, where volume replaced quality.

Before the advent of the internet, candidate volumes were low. Attraction was built around press advertising and established relationships. Agencies maintained a low volume of candidates, advertising was via newspapers.
Business was local (both for candidates and clients). The sales model was to source, interview and then market candidates (usually via the telephone) to potential employers. The model was about low volumes of candidates, and high volumes of calls, finding jobs for people, as opposed to the current popular model of people for jobs.

Recruiting has migrated from being predominantly offline, in-person activity, through to being mostly online and distant activity. When recruiters were reliant on printed media, the cost and convenience meant only a limited number of the most lucrative jobs assignments were advertised.

Job boards changed this, and the later development of multi-posting and job aggregators meant that all jobs ended up online, and in many places. The CV databases attached to the job boards on sites such as Monster and Jobsite provided access to candidates for multiple recruiters. The model for recruiting became get notification of a job, post it to the job boards, and go search the CV database for a fit.

Recruiters adopted a more reactive approach often referred to as post and pray. Put all the jobs out there every time, and react to the response as it comes in. The ease of applying to multiple jobs meant response went up significantly, whilst relevance declined. And then we saw the emergence of social media adoption, where recruiters have largely continued the post and pray approach, using the channels to spray jobs in to their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ time lines.

As a result, hiring companies spent less time talking through vacancies with their agents, adopting an e-mail approach, and face to face interviews between recruiters and candidates became the exception rather than the norm, replaced by telephone conversations, and a heavy reliance on the CV submitted.

Matching became a skills/experience match rather than a culture and career match.

Recruitment became a transactional business between clients, candidates and recruiters.

Greater time was spent on processing and administration rather than relationship and understanding

The adoption of recruitment databases by recruitment companies has been marked by significantly growing volumes of candidate details stored within the database.
Whilst recruiters were connected with an ever growing number of candidates, there was less and less importance placed on relationships with these candidates.

REC chief executive Kevin Green says: “Employers are going to have to work harder to attract candidates as the labour market booms and competition for talent hots up. Skilled individuals are scarce in technology, engineering, construction and HGV driving, and companies are already increasing pay to encourage people to jump ship and join their workforce.

“However, attracting talent goes beyond focusing on pay packets – workers are increasingly looking for more flexible hours, better benefits packages and nicer work environments. Your company brand and reputation are crucial to ensuring you are more appealing than your competitors to the workers you need to attract.”

The UK market is going through a tricky time, especially in cities like London where salaries are remaining steady and cost of living is increasing. This creates movement in the market.

The research went on to indicate that this was a driving factor behind many organisations looking to establish their own direct sourcing capability, reducing the reliance on agency hiring.

In-house recruiting is picking up pace.

Nor is the private sector the only area affected.

Consider the example of NHS Jobs, the UK NHS’ e-recruitment portal. Sometime back, there was no central platform for recruitment in the NHS; health workers enjoyed very limited choice of jobs that was restricted primarily to their own region, and the 600+ NHS employers each operated their own HR recruitment processes and offices. Between 2003 and 2012, these organisations standardised on a single recruitment platform that gave workers the choice of the entire UK market, and saved the UK in excess of £1bn in previously duplicated, redundant bureaucracy. Suppliers now compete to run the e-recruitment service ever more cheaply – because of the opportunity it affords to offer innovative new services on the platform. And just think of the possibilities of this sort of model for local government: in the UK, we have 400+ of these organisations, all of whom do almost exactly the same things in different ways!
Like Network Rail, who used Facebook very successfully to hire virtually their entire 2013 apprentices, businesses are creating and cultivating their own talent pools not by tweeting incessantly that they have vacancies but by placing meaningful and highly relevant and interesting content into a Facebook Group.
A move to in-house recruitment at Network Rail has saved the company 85 per cent in hiring expenditure. The reduction in recruitment agency fees has seen costs per hire drop from an average of £3,500 to £500 in five years, said Adrian Thomas, head of resourcing at the rail maintenance firm. The company – which employs 35,000 people – externally hires or internally promotes around 10,000 people a year.
Now, 73 per cent of external recruitment is done through direct resourcing, with only 7 per cent fielded out to agencies, delegates were told.
The majority of candidates were now generated through a revamped careers website, explained Thomas. Other initiatives included a specially designed Facebook forum for the Network Rail apprenticeships scheme, which generated 6,000 applications for the 200 places on offer, he added.

Other companies are similarly using YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn to post relevant and domain specific videos, articles, case studies and industry news to attract target audiences.

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