Recruitment is difficult; there is no getting away from it. You have to consider your timings, cost per hire, ability to service or not service clients through existing staff and not to mention the salary and associated costs your business can afford.

Invariably businesses recruit on a needs basis, rather than strategically resource planning. That’s because few businesses are cash rich and can afford a ‘non-productive’ or ‘non-fee-earning’ person to be ‘learning’ in the business. The irony of course is that the new hire is often then short on time in the initial stages and therefore is more liable to making mistakes and taking longer to get to grips with internal processes and can actually cost the business more in the long run.

I was really heartened to hear recently that a client of ours with clearly defined growth plans have included resource planning within their business strategy. They have allowed for talent acquisition and learning in their recruitment and growth which allows their business the time to get the right people in the business and thoroughly induct them before they take up the role they are recruited to do. This client clearly has the customer at the heart of their recruitment philosophy as they realise that a high performing individual delivering to their clients can only come from investing time in recruitment, training and inducting the individual thoroughly.

However, as you will agree this ‘ideal’ method of recruitment is more the exception than the rule and the same client will tell you how they have reacted to their recruitment needs for the last eleven years. It is only now that they are the size they are that they can adopt this philosophy and we are delighted that having partnered with them for the last eighteen months, they feel we are the people to support them with this strategic recruitment .
But, coming back down to earth and to businesses with little spare cash that can only reactively recruit when they win big contracts or cash flow allows; why is it that businesses often make so many costly recruitment mistakes?

Often it is down to some or all of the below;

Poorly trained managers, who don’t know how to assess candidates’ abilities or only hear what they want to hear in an interview.
Lack of understanding about the needs of the business or role and therefore a ‘mismatch’ or lack of experience.
Agencies pushing candidates forward and over prepping them so they perform well at interview regardless of them being truly suitable for the role.
Perceived or real pressure to fill the position and so offering a candidate a job even though they have conscious concerns they are not the right person for the job.

With the average cost per hire in the UK of £5,600 I often wonder what the real time and further cost consequences are of recruitment mistakes that could be added to this figure. In any figure you would have to include;

  • The cost of lost business through a new hire mistake or attitude problem and the consumer turning to a competitor
  • Your business reputation and credibility
  • Management time for training and clearing up any mistakes
  • Colleagues time in terms of duplication of work
  • If you produce goods; wastage and loss of materials

So how do we ensure we get the right person in the right time, for the right cost?
Recently recruiting for ourselves, we spent at least three full days screening and assessing candidates, this was before we even got to the face to- face stage. When we did we still weren’t able in our first day of back- to- back interviews find the right person. Yes of course we were and are, highly discerning in our recruitment. Candidates have to match our values. Namely we need our employees to be;

  • Highly skilled and experienced in HR, Employment Law and Recruitment
  • Customer focused and responsive
  • Articulate
  • Flexible
  • Enthusiastic and passionate about what we do

And we have made a commitment not to hire anyone who does not adequately demonstrate all of these qualities.
So how can you improve how you recruit?

  • Create a process plan with timescales that any manager can pick up as a guide
  • Train your managers on your recruitment process and recruitment techniques.
  • Draft/review the job description and include a personal specification and make sure it is truly representative of what the business needs.
  • Think about the best way to reach your target audience; don’t just put an advert in the job centre because it’s free! Leverage new social media, but only if it’s the right place to reach your ideal candidate
  • Ensure you know how you are going to screen CV’s
  • Always start to recruit as early as possible, as it may take a lot longer than you anticipate.
  • Cover off the legalities and protect your business interests.