With high levels of unemployment and 2 in 5 people expected to start looking for a new job this New Year, it seems that recruitment activity is indicative of the wider state of the economy. Jamie Betts, principal consultant at Capp looks at the current situation and highlights ways in which organisations can ensure the best hires in 2013.

It’s a difficult time for recruiters at the moment. On the one hand, a business may be inundated with thousands of responses for graduate positions and junior roles in retail, customer services and administration. The paradox is that as businesses have hired less, the time invested in recruitment has often increased. Handling very high response levels professionally and appropriately has become a daunting and time-consuming prospect.

On the other hand, at the highly-skilled end of the recruitment sphere, while volumes are lower, it’s critically important to make the right hires as there may be a tangible impact on business performance as a result. In a challenging economy, having the right people on board could mean the difference between profit and loss.

With this in mind, it is important for organisations to refocus on three key areas:

1. Response handling and screening

When handling only a few applications from a small number of applicants, it’s often easy to monitor, manage and respond to prospective candidates. But what happens when you have between 500-50,000 applicants? How do you monitor and respond to those? Are all responses in a consistent and brand-adherent fashion? The challenge is to continually manage your recruitment responses to ensure a great impression of your brand.

What can we do to make things easier?

Technology can help. Invest in a new generation applicant tracking system (APS) where people are able to manage their application online. The online process can include killer questions, cognitive ability testing, behavioural assessment, and realistic job previews all designed to weed out the best candidates.

For those who handle thousands of applicants, the best technique is to reduce as much manual intervention as possible in the early stages. Of course, there is a cost to integrating a new system, but this is a relatively small investment which can create a system which will ensure you only progress the most promising candidates to more resource intensive stages in the process, as well as give the best possible brand perception to your applicants.

2. Robust assessment of key hires

In the current time of economic uncertainty, it makes sense to recruit people for their strengths rather than just competencies. It can have a tangible impact on business performance – this can mean the difference in some cases between profit and loss.

You need to recruit people who will hit the ground running and which will perform well, so hires that are made need to be the right ones.

But how can you be sure this will happen?

Use a robust selection method and develop an understanding of the role you’re recruiting for. Think about what makes someone a great performer – is it just technical knowledge, or something more? Talk to line managers and colleagues and create a ‘snapshot’ of the strengths and qualities demonstrated by ‘high performers’ in the role you’re recruiting for.

Use this strengths profile to shape your recruitment process. Use or design assessment tools and interviews which match the behavioral role profile, to ensure you recruit the right talent.

3. Ensure a seamless link between recruitment and development

You’ve successfully recruited your next generation of high performers. Have you thought about how you’ll retain and develop them?

Often, candidates will be recruited on the basis of having a certain behavioural profile and skill set, but when it comes to development and performance reviews, they’re assessed against an entirely different set of behaviours, which they might not have or aren’t necessary for high performance in the role.

To avoid this, think about the link between recruitment and development, then develop the process. Develop personalised retention and development plans based on the requirements for individual job roles. Not only will you enable talented individuals to attain peak performance, you’ll keep the people you need to succeed as an organisation.

Written by Jamie Betts, principal consultant at Capp

Jamie Betts is a Principal Consultant at Capp (www.cappeu.com), a leading strengths-based people management consultancy.

With in-depth expertise in assessment for recruitment, Jamie has worked in both the private and public sector, consulting with organisations such as Lloyds Banking Group, Telefonica O2, Bupa, ABInBev, GCHQ, Serco, and the Civil Service Fast Stream.

His experience encompasses designing and managing assessment centres, volume recruitment campaigns, graduate recruitment, validation studies, exercise design, SJT development, interview and assessment skills training, executive level assessment, and performance management.

Be Sociable, Share!
Be Sociable, Share!