Fishing for the Right Candidate

“Why don’t they ever stay”, “I’m spending too much on recruitment”, “well they were the best on offer”, are some of the phrases often muttered by business owners today.

Recruitment is often referred to as a fishing exercise. You cast your line, see what you can hook and take what’s out there at that moment in time as the need to fill a gap is urgent.  Does that sound familiar?

Perhaps it’s time to change your approach and consider recruiting in a more strategic way.

A new vacancy, business growth or even a resignation should all be seen as a huge opportunity to strengthen your business and recruit talent.

With hindsight, we cannot plan for whether people resign and sometimes recruitment needs catch us off guard. However, where you can make improvements is by considering your strategy, your approach and your budget in advance.

Typically a high street recruitment agency will charge around 10% fee based on the successful candidates starting salary. For more senior or specialist roles this could rise to 15% or even 20%. Many top recruitment consultancies will start at 15%.  Consider if you try to negotiate with them and if they agree a lower fee the likelihood is if top candidates come along they will be reserved for those clients paying the standard rate.

Reduce the risk of the fishing exercise by having some clear procedures in place and give special consideration to the following:

  • What are your business plans for the year (or 2-3) ahead. Is the role you are recruiting actually going to match your future aspirations – think ahead, don’t just replace ‘like for like’
  • Is this an opportunity to strengthen a weak skills set or your management team by recruiting someone more capable or senior to support future plans (or even your succession/exit plans)
  • Have you already met and interviewed your preferred recruitment provider and built a relationship so they understand your business, your culture and expectations – and agreed the fee in advance
  • Have you budgeted for recruitment (and training) for the year ahead
  • Consider carefully the role, the job description, person specification and career progression which will create a template for your ideal candidate – you want someone who fits your culture
  • Create a recruitment procedure, number of interviews, scoring system and timescale for the process. Be clear on your approach so it is consistent and can be adapted depending on the role.

Recruitment is your opportunity to employ talent often in a candidate driven market. Consider the real benefits to the business and where this person can support you and those around you in making a real difference. If the fish does not match your expectations, do not be afraid to cast the net again. The cost of getting it right and taking your time far outweighs the cost of appointing under pressure and at speed.

Dr N S Howcroft Ltd t/a The Alternative Board (Bradford West)
Registered no: 6826174

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