Considering recruitment? Get your message across

Given that we have now entered unchartered territory from an economic perspective and are faced with uncertainty in our respective markets, it is important to revisit the fundamental aspects that made your business successful and to concentrate on your competitive advantage.

It is now accepted that a source of competitive advantage are your employees. What is perhaps not as widely recognised is the process by which employees enter your business and its effect on your employment brand internally and externally.

During the peak boom period over the last few years, the recruitment process probably had a greater focus on “˜how many’ as opposed to “˜how’ and “˜what quality’ . With the pressure of meeting targets for projects, or demand, organisations were just grateful to secure the services of skilled and experienced candidates in a competitive market, whatever the cost.

With the marked change in the global economy, organisations now have the opportunity to revisit the process they utilise to recruit new people and ensure it builds upon and is aligned to their employment brand. Organisations should review their sourcing channels and ensure that each of these contribute to building their brand.

Recruitment agencies represent a significant sourcing channel particularly when recruiting hard to fill technical roles or where confidentiality is paramount. With many recruitment firms around Australia restructuring and competing for less jobs in the market place, it is now paramount that organisations review what agencies they continue to choose represent them.

Organisations must now be more discerning with the companies that are chosen to assist in the recruitment process. Moreover, they should only align themselves with like-minded recruitment firms as an alignment with the wrong agency can send a powerful message to potential candidates.

When working with a supplier, consultancy or professional services firm, it is important to engage in a partnership based on trust, confidence and reputation rather than because they can provide a solution quickly.

Understand the overall business strategy of recruitment agencies before working with them. The mere mention of recruitment agencies for some, rightly and wrongly conjure images of used car salesman who are desperate for their next sale. They are in effect selling a product, and because of this, there is a business directive to make a large volume of transactions as quickly as possible. Although some consultants will have their heart in the right place, the vast majority are known for compromising on quality, or making short cuts in order to secure a placement.

As recruitment consultants are measured and rewarded on placements and their revenue generation, little thought is given to the overall experience of the candidate, the suitability of the position and company for the candidate (vice versa for the client). The question needs to be asked as to whether this transactional process is the right one for your business, or is a relationship-based process that is developed over time more beneficial.

When engaging with an agency, it is important to understand their business as well. For instance, what are their culture and values? What is their business strategy and employment brand? Do they understand their market and your business implicitly and are they willing to invest their time and money with you to establish a long term relationship?

Given the uncertain times, it could be easy to simply stop recruiting. However you need to consider what messages you are sending internally and externally in times of uncertainty. The actions that you take now will either build your employment brand or undermine it. We know from past experience that the economy will turn. The actions you take now will put your organisation in a better position to attract and retain top talent.

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