Contrary to the popular narrative – these aren’t “crazy times”. This suggests that things will eventually go back to normal – which is far from the truth. The reality is that these are “new times”, and employers struggling to hire and retain talent need to adapt accordingly.
Listen: In a detailed analysis of the Great Resignation earlier in September, Business Insider pointed out that September will see even more significant data once numbers for the month are released. They write that COVID-19’s resurgence under the guise of Delta coupled with the lack of available childcare as kids return to school will send quit rates even higher.
Add to that a new report from Manpower finding that 59% of US businesses are planning to add to payroll in the final quarter of 2021. Not backfill. Not rehire. Add to payroll. This suggests economically healthier times, but with job quit rates and job openings already at levels unseen in two decades, Q4 2021 will see even more challenges for recruiters.
Are recruiters nervous? You bet they are, and a GetApp survey confirms this: 56% of recruiters fear that they have job openings that they will never be able to fill.
Employers are at an urgent time. They don’t have time to pontificate over the “why” of all this stuff. They need to fill roles – and fast.
The rules of engagement have changed
Ultimately, these numbers show that the traditional recruitment process no longer applies to today’s working world. The rules of engagement have changed – nay, evolved – and smart-thinking recruiters and employers would do well to stay ahead of these changes. What’s normally a hiring frenzy in Q4 is going to be weird and different this time around.
So, it’s important to look at what matters right now to potential job candidates. At the start of summer, recruitment technology leader Workable surveyed 1,250 workers in the US and UK to find out what matters most to them in a job. The resultant Great Discontent survey reports – one for the US, and one for the UK – find that, in the midst of all the findings around salary and other hiring topics, two themes really stand out: the high number of passive candidates among those open to new jobs and the high value of flexible schedules for many employees and job seekers.
Let’s start with passive candidates. In the survey, Workable found that in the US, 70.7% of eligible workers are open to the idea of a new job – with 37.3% passively open to new opportunities. In the UK, those numbers are even higher – 75.6% are open to new opportunities, and 45.1% are passively open to new work.
So, it’s not just about putting up a job ad and watching the applications roll in. Workable’s Hiring Pulse for September 2021 identified a sharp downward trend in candidates per hire right up to the end of July – so recruiters need to work a little harder to root out those valuable candidates.
Part of that could be a need for better recruitment marketing, but it also means that recruiters will need to actively source candidates with cold calls and emails. Why? More than half of those open to new roles are passive candidates. That’s an incredible resource worth tapping into.
While passive candidates aren’t actively looking for new work, they are open to having a conversation with you about a new opportunity. They’ll make a big career shift if it suits them.
The other thing is, these are people who haven’t quit. They may actually be easier to recruit than those who left the workforce altogether.
That’s a pretty good opportunity for recruiters looking to woo new talent to their organization.
Let’s move on to the other topic dominating the recruitment world: flexible work. But don’t fall into the trap of understanding it as one entity. There are two very distinct aspects of flexible work: remote work and flexible schedules.
The data in the Great Discontent report shows why this distinction is important: 31.6% in the US and 25.3% in the UK said their job can’t be worked remotely at all. That compares to just 19.4% and 14.6% respectively in that they can’t realistically work on a flexible schedule – significantly lower numbers.
The number of those who do think their work can be performed on a flexible schedule is significantly higher – 57.1% in the US and 53.8% in the UK voted 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 in terms of how easily they can work flexible hours (1=not at all, 5=completely).
Plus, 58.2% of US and 57.7% of UK workers consider flexible work schedules to be quite important to them. Again, these numbers are notably higher than the importance placed on remote work.
We also asked why flexible schedules are important to workers. More than half in both countries – 55.8% of US workers and 57.3% of UK workers – say having flexible schedules makes it easier to balance personal and professional priorities. At the core of this, of course, is maintaining your personal life obligations such as being there for your loved ones.
So what does that mean for recruiters and employers? If you offer flexible schedules in your workplace, you’re helping your employees integrate their home and work lives rather than forcing them to find a balance between the two. That can be a powerful attractor for your business.
Overcome those hiring challenges
These aren’t the be-all and end-all solutions, of course. There’s a lot more. But as mentioned above, employers need to act quickly if they want to attract new job applicants.
Actively sourcing passive candidates and building out flexible work schedule policies can help fill those crucial roles as you head into the traditional hiring season of Q4.
The times have changed – and the onus may well be on you to adapt accordingly.
Keith MacKenzie is Content Strategy Manager at Workable, a recruitment software company, and is the author of the Great Discontent survey reports which were published in September 2021.
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Contrary to the popular narrative – these aren’t “crazy times”. This suggests that things will eventually go back to normal – which is far from the truth. The reality is that these are “new times”, and employers struggling to hire and retain talent need to adapt accordingly.
A bad candidate experience can have a detrimental effect on both brands and those applying to work with them. During the pandemic, we saw a huge increase in volume of applicants for different positions. Rumors ran rife about being ghosted deep into the recruitment process. We wanted to investigate the scale of the problem and the damage being done, so we commissioned some research.
The findings were shocking. 65% of people have been ghosted, according to our research of 2000 UK adults. 86% said their experience of being ghosted left them feeling down and 43% said it took weeks, or even months, to rebuild and move on. The damage to brands also became clear, with 94% saying it left them with negative thoughts or feelings towards the company they applied to.
Most small companies manage with spreadsheets and simple trackers while large companies and recruitment agencies invest in technology, customized to their needs. Here are some tips to ensure your company can confidently avoid ghosting candidates.
Get everyone on board. Recruitment is an area that most department managers get involved in as well as HR teams. Step one is to take the facts about the impacts of ghosting and educate everyone internally. Once you have company-wide support to ensure this doesn’t happen in your organization it’s time to make a plan on how you’re going to tackle ghosting head-on.
Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. What sort of communication would you want at each stage? A quick email takes seconds and can really help a candidate.
Set up automated emails. If you have one, use your applicant tracking system (ATS) to set up automated emails to candidates at each stage of the application process. This means they will always be kept informed of the stage of their application.
Send updates promptly. No news is good news, except for when you’re waiting to hear about an application. As soon as you’ve made a decision, positive or negative, then let the candidate know.
Make notes straight after a call or interview. ‘Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today’ as the old adage goes. Take thorough notes each time you speak to a candidate, this will make it easier to make a decision and also give you plenty of information to use when you go back to them.
Use bulk email or SMS. Communicating with multiple candidates quickly and simply, a standardized message is better than no contact at all.
Use your ATS reporting feature or keep a log. This helps to ensure that no candidate gets forgotten, know how many candidates have applied to each role, what stage they’re at, and when you last contacted them, save all that inbox searching time.
Close down the role. When you hire someone make sure to go back and check you have processed and responded to all of the other applicants.
Get feedback from your applicants. They’re the ones that have been through your process so can offer some valuable insight. Make sure you speak to both successful and unsuccessful candidates for a well-rounded view.
Review and improve your process. There’s always room for improvement, ensure you revisit your plan and the tactics you’re using every few months to make sure they’re still impactful and to implement any new ideas.
Telling candidates they haven’t been selected is a tough call to make, especially when you’ve been positive up until that point. But doing so quickly and kindly provides closure and allows them to move on with their career elsewhere.
No one ever intends to ghost a candidate part-way through the recruitment process, but it’s important to acknowledge that it does sometimes happen. We need to tackle this problem together. By supporting this campaign and following the best practice guidelines, employers can show that they care about each applicant as an individual. We invite readers to join the campaign or share their stories at www.end-ghosting.com.
By Neil Armstrong of Tribepad.
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Many industries were forced to halt their recruitment initiatives at the start of the pandemic and have since had to place existing employees on furlough or make redundancies. But as the UK economy is beginning to bounce back, so is employment, with record vacancies continuing to be reported in the UK. At Cognizant, for example, we are looking to hire more than 2,000 new recruits in the UK&I in 2021 alone.
One of the key conversations to have come out of the pandemic is how it has fundamentally changed the workplace and the way we work – in many cases, for the better. The rise of remote working is the most obvious trend many of us have been talking about. Recent research shows that flexible working is now a basic expectation, with 66% of employees backing a hybrid approach to remote working.
But this isn’t the only trend to have been sparked by the crisis. Businesses’ approaches to hiring are also changing – and if they’re not, then they need to if they are to reflect the changing attitudes towards work and culture. This needs to start by placing empathy at the core of the process.
A new recruitment landscape: Why we need a high level of candidate empathy
The remote working boom enabled a private, digital window to open in employees’ and colleagues’ lives – as a result, we’re now all used to family members and pets making brief appearances on video calls. The psychology behind this is powerful, humanizing personnel in a way that has never been experienced before. This has created a drive to emphasize and improve the fickle work/life balance, highlighting the need for businesses to conform to employee and candidate needs, instead of expecting individuals to conform to the organization.
At the same time, the pandemic brought with it a lot of anxiety and stress for individuals whose jobs were put at risk or lost altogether. It has left many wondering what the future of work will look like and reimagining their careers, making it even more crucial for companies to make a conscious effort every day to create the appropriate environment for everyone to thrive. So, while competitive salaries, benefits, and perks can be attractive, it’s also important that organizations consider a more empathetic approach to their recruitment processes to fall in line with this new landscape.
This starts by demonstrating a clear effort to understand what each individual’s values and interests are right from the beginning of the interview process. Companies should also be making a proactive effort to involve employees in their culture as well as any extracurricular initiatives that are in place, to help create a more fulfilling and satisfying work experience.
This will help organizations to take a step back and understand more about the individual and their circumstances and values, instead of just their qualifications, which will lead to better long-term results for staff retention.
How to make the recruitment process more empathetic
Business leaders need to demonstrate themselves to be inclusive leaders. This means being deeply aware of and empathetic towards others, with the courage to harness the power of diversity in everything they and their company does. Embracing this approach helps to elevate our work and create a powerful ripple effect on our teams, clients, and communities.
In fact, empathy should be a key attribute in all organizations’ wider diversity and inclusion initiatives as well as their recruitment processes. There are a number of steps and considerations businesses can make to improve their recruitment processes and put empathy at their heart, including:
A humble point of view: Interview assessors need to demonstrate throughout the recruitment process a humble point of view. If organizations seek to set a perfect environment, they won’t come across as authentic, but instead misleading – no company is perfect.
Retrospect: It’s important to retrospectively refer to how organizations have supported people through the pandemic to demonstrate a company’s value for their employees. It’s a good litmus test to show where an organization has shown resilience and compassion.
Never underestimate the value of listening: Understanding what a candidate’s career aspirations are can be achieved by having an open dialogue with them in the interview. This will help a business understand how they can support that individual with the right training to help them achieve their goals, which is incredibly important.
Involve the candidate in the journey: Most successful organizations today know they must continuously evolve to maintain their success. Demonstrating how a business is doing this, for example implementing new digital tools or adopting updated ESG goals, in an interview can help build a picture for the candidate of the journey that they can be a part of, which aligns with their values.
Demonstrate trust: Ultimately, people want to contribute to driving change and influence. It demonstrates cultural and social empathy. It also allows people to feel as if they can be a true representation of their authentic selves. With this in mind, candidates should be given the opportunity during the interview process to express their values and opinions.
A new approach to recruitment strategy post-pandemic
Empathy is and should be considered by all a crucial attribute in today’s business leaders. This includes being proactive and persistent in working towards creating an environment where each and every employee feels welcome, heard, and equal. And this must start with the first step of an employee’s experience: the recruitment process.
Organizations need talent to build themselves back up and make a success of the future. To do this, they must demonstrate themselves as a collaborative and supportive workforce – one that individuals want to be a part of. Putting empathy at the core of any recruitment process will not only help businesses attract the right talent, but it will help them to build honest and open relationships with new employees right from the start and ultimately improve retention.
With remote working here to stay, it’s vital that recruiters and businesses as a whole find new ways to engage with their remote workforce. Adopting an empathetic approach shouldn’t just be applied to recruitment, but to all areas of business. It helps to ensure candidates and staff feels cared for, which keeps them engaged in their roles.
By Rob Walker, Managing Director UK&I of Cognizant.
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Change is afoot in the world of work. We are in the midst of a concentrated shift from a client-driven job market to a candidate-driven one, meaning recruiters and HR teams need to adopt a new stance when it comes to sourcing talent.
The enormous upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic means candidates are in high demand. However, many companies are struggling to find the right people as the pool of suitable candidates is scarce. To add to the challenge, prospective employees also have a refreshed set of expectations around a more hybrid approach to working in this ultra-digital age.
As such, striking a balance between recruiting the best talent for the job while quickly fulfilling businesses’ urgent need for staff is becoming a challenge, particularly when looking to maintain desirable levels of staff retention. Perhaps recruitment strategies need a rethink as the world changes?
A striking set of statistics
The latest figures from Reed and the ‘UK Report on Jobs’ survey by KPMG and REC lay out how the most recent lockdown developments and further reopening of the UK economy have impacted recruitment:
Permanent placements have hit record growth
An upturn in temp billings is the fastest it has been for six years
May 2021 was Reed’s best month for job postings since before the 2008 financial crash
The demand for workers has increased at the fastest rate for over 23 years
The supply of permanent and temporary staff fell at the quickest rates on record.
However, although these results may be good news for job seekers, they present new challenges to recruiters looking to help businesses hire, as the spike in demand brings the labor and skills shortages that already existed in the UK into sharper focus.
With overall candidate availability declining at the quickest rate since May 2017, recruiters and HR teams must now pick out top talent from a rapidly shrinking pool. Plus, both starting salaries and temp pay are expanding at a sharp rate. Coupled with a growing desire for flexibility and a more hybrid approach to working, companies are under more pressure than ever to match up to candidates’ increasing expectations if they want to attract and retain the best staff.
Leveraging the opportunity
The shift from a client-driven market to a candidate-driven market means recruiters must adapt their approach to finding new talent by targeting passive candidates. When the demand outstrips supply, speed is of the essence, and consultants must move quickly if they want to snap up the best candidates for their clients.
As a recruiter, top talent will rarely fall into your lap — particularly in a highly competitive job market. Plus, just because someone is not actively looking for a new role does not mean they are not open to discussing and learning more about new opportunities. So, it is essential to proactively search for candidates already in employment and reach out to them to capture their interest in vacant positions.
Sourcing passive candidates, rather than waiting for them to come to you, has consistently garnered highly effective hiring success rates, with candidates sourced in this way proving to be more than twice as efficient as independent applicants.
For this strategy to be effective, recruiters and HR teams must make the best use of the digital resources at their disposal — as well as their professional network. For example, there are a wealth of finance and accounting candidates on social media, and platforms like LinkedIn are ideal for ‘headhunting’ skilled and high-level talent.
Step into the digital era
Recruitment is more competitive than ever before. And now that the market has become increasingly driven by candidates and their desires, it is the employer (and, in turn, their recruitment specialist) that needs to stand out and impress.
Candidates have come to expect more from prospective employers, and not just in terms of substantial pay packets and training programs — although these are also important to consider. After over a year of home working, many have come to enjoy a more flexible way of working and expect companies to offer it as a benefit. In fact, a recent survey by Barnett Waddingham found 34% of UK workers said they would resign from their current position if their employer failed to offer flexible working options.
In a climate where unsatisfied staff may be approached for — or seek out — alternative employment, employee retention is also more crucial than ever. Benefits such as flexible working can greatly improve productivity and job satisfaction, meaning staff is more likely to stay at a company.
Retaining new hires starts with the hiring process. The process must be tailored to employees’ new drive for a more remote and digitized experience while ensuring clear and consistent communication. To do this, recruiters need to make the most of the abundance of digital platforms available, using them in conjunction with more conventional hiring practices to provide the smoothest recruitment and onboarding experience possible.
By Julie Mott, Managing Director at Howett Thorpe. Julie is a highly respected and well-connected recruitment individual with over 20 years of experience working in the ever-changing industry.
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When it comes to crafting and delivering an email marketing campaign that attracts candidates and encourages them to find out more about the latest vacancy, measuring how each piece of content has done can help recruiters to truly understand if what they’re saying is hitting the mark.
As 300 billion marketing emails are sent to people’s inboxes every single day – on a global scale – it’s often difficult to not only achieve the desired cut-through when there’s so much competition from brands, but also know how well it’s been received… or not.
To overcome this hurdle, many recruiters might take this opportunity to analyze open and click-through rates to determine the success or failure of their latest email campaign – after all, many free email marketing platforms have this insight available at the click of a button. However, while these measurements are giving some of the detail, are they really telling the full story? Perhaps not.
That’s because this data doesn’t delve into the fact that several recipients might’ve seen the email and given it a short glance, but then hit ‘delete’ without truly engaging with it. Others could’ve accidentally clicked on the comms before discarding it altogether.
The point is, open and click-through rates never truly tell the whole tale. Yes, they might show how the latest email campaign has achieved above-industry rates because recipients have opened it, but there’s no bearing of the level of engagement that’s also been involved. And, for a savvy recruiter, they want to know that their vacancy or top tips email is driving the type of interaction that helps to get the right person into the right job.
So, while other recruiters are still accessing these so-called ‘vanity metrics’, forward-thinking professionals – who want to get ahead of the competition – should be exploring another form of analysis to truly cut through the online noise. That means plugging in marketing automation and tapping into the powers of lead scoring.
What is lead scoring?
This is where imaginary numbers are placed above the heads of every individual who has engaged with the recruiter. For those who have interacted with the brand lots – for example, downloaded a guide on interview techniques or spent time on a specific webpage covering a sector they’re interested in – they’re classed as being the ‘hottest leads’ and could therefore have a figure of ‘9’ or ‘99’ attached to them.
These individuals are the ones recruitment firms should be prioritizing with hyper-personalized comms because they’re already ‘bought in’ to what the organization has to say. What that results in is typically a greater level of engagement too because they want to hear from the company.
By focusing on those who are the most interactive, there is also a greater chance of a conversion-rich opportunity via a human touchpoint – such as a one-on-one phone call – and this can go a lot further than sending an irrelevant message that’s loosely received by all.
Always segment the audience
Technically this isn’t a metric, however, it plays a pivotal role in exactly how a recruiter analyses if their latest campaign delivers the correct message to the desired person, at the perfect time.
Segmenting individuals into specific groups based on their of-the-moment interests and interactions with the brand means that recruiters can send hyper-relevant content the recipient wants to read, rather than what the organization thinks they might be interested in.
This is a great way for recruiters to have a laser-beam focus on who to speak to, and when – all of which can be made possible in minutes, rather than hours, via savvy marketing automation.
Web engagement can tell a far greater story
Having discussed the powers of lead scoring and the importance of segmentation, another step recruiters should take if they’re to evaluate their campaigns effectively is via website interactions.
For example, is a candidate viewing videos on the ‘most frequently asked questions in an interview’? Or maybe they’re trawling a top tips guide on how to craft a must-see cover letter. These are critical areas that a recruiter can respond to in terms of personalizing their content. If they’re not tracking this type of activity, it’s a missed opportunity.
Plugging in marketing automation and accessing website data can equip recruitment brands with a deeper level of insight from each individual’s online experience, and provide detail into what they’re most interested in, in real-time.
While these metrics only scratch the surface at to what recruiters can do when armed with marketing automation, the important thing for them to remember is that they must be responsive to what the data is telling them. And, while it might seem disheartening to have unsubscribers or discover a piece of digital comms has received little engagement, it often tells a lot about a contact base – from the level of interaction to identifying whether they need to address the ‘send frequency’ or refresh content… before a competitor does.
About Sam Duggan: Head of marketing for marketing automation platform Force24, Sam has a laser-beam focus on driving bottom-line revenues by utilizing customer data.
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When the world is extremely busy online, ensuring that a carefully crafted piece of email content doesn’t end up straight in a candidate’s ‘delete’ folder, should be a high priority for a recruitment agency’s marketing department.
But when over 300 billion business emails are sent globally every day, it can often seem an uphill struggle when trying to cut through a vast amount of digital noise. However, industry professionals can give themselves a competitive advantage and ensure they’re speaking to the right people about the right jobs opportunities when they plug in intuitive marketing automation.
That’s because it’s designed to not only make life simpler but, in this instance, liberate marketing campaigns for recruiters who want to create and send humanized content that engages recipients with content they want to read via their preferred channels.
Here are some of the reasons why more recruitment agencies and their marketing teams should be turning to automation if they want to interact with candidates on a more granular level and improve their overall conversion rate…
1. Every piece of digital comms can be hyper-personalized
With savvy technology at their fingertips, marketers can analyze millions of pieces of critical data that tell them all about a candidate’s of-the-moment job interests and needs. From this insight, they can then begin to build up a more complete picture about their recipient and know the type of ultra-personalized content they will interact with.
When an enigmatic and energetic recruitment agency is keen to engage with a jobseeker about a relevant role, the last thing they want to do is be seen as another cold caller who sends the same tired – and often irrelevant – message to hundreds of other candidates that are ultimately received loosely by all. Not only is that a waste of time but can damage brand reputation immeasurably because those candidates will soon go to a competitor who understands their specific career requirements.
2. Have a problem with email deliverability? Not any more…
The latest news bulletin full of job roles has gone out but it’s received little to no engagement or had a vastly low engagement rate. If a marketing team experiences these problems, there could be an issue with deliverability.
Utilizing automation, marketers can begin to draw out the data that links to why engagement is low – for example, it could be that bot traffic is to blame or the bounce rate is high because the recruitment agency’s CRM isn’t automatically updating ‘dead’ email addresses when people leave their jobs and move on. Being equipped with this information, and acting on it, should help recruiter brands to stop these recurring issues at the earliest opportunity and ensure they’re sending emails to the right candidates.
3. Jobseekers feel they’re being supported throughout
A cold email sent without thought is likely to either be deleted straight away or ignored altogether by the recipient because a recruiter isn’t taking the time to get to know them – and it shows.
It’s important to help candidates throughout their next career move – and marketing teams can assist that nurturing process from start to finish. Not only will it build trust, but it’s an additional level of support that will endorse positive word-of-mouth and build brand loyalty.
A great way to foster a relationship with a jobhunter is via a five-step marketing automation email sequence, which is:
The ‘introduction’: explaining who the recruiter is and why they’re getting in touch
Next is ‘gain’: underlining what the candidate will achieve by taking up the recruiter’s services
Then there’s the ‘fear’ of missing out: designed to detail what would happen if the recipient did not act on the advice of this particular recruiter
The fourth stage is ‘social proof’: evidencing other candidates’ experiences through testimonials and case studies
And finally, ‘urgency’: requesting readers to act now before the opportunity goes to someone else.
By following this framework, recruiters and their marketing departments should begin to build up a bank of highly nurtured candidates who are receiving relevant roles for them.
It’s important to stress that automation shouldn’t do all of the work when it comes to the relationship between a recruitment brand and a job seeker. There have to be lots of human interaction throughout – after all it takes six touchpoints before someone is truly engaged. However, this technology should enable a deeper understanding of what every candidate is interested in at that specific moment in time while saving marketers several hours each week because they’re creating emails in seconds to strengthen their overall digital comms delivery.
By Adam Oldfield, CEO of marketing automation platform Force24.
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Last year, many executives opted for early retirement when COVID-19 hit. Others were let go by their companies due to perceived redundancy in roles or the need for financial cutbacks.
More than a year later, the economy is bouncing back and companies (both new and old) are trying to recruit quality leaders. And they’re discovering that hiring the right executive is more challenging than ever. But now is the time to invest in visionary, long-term leaders who can help your company adapt to the new future of work.
The consequences of the wrong executive hire
The consequences of making a bad hire at the executive level can be felt across the entire organization. The wrong leader — especially in the C-suite — can have lasting repercussions that continue long after they’ve left your company. Here are just a few potential outcomes:
Lost productivity: A bad executive may lead their team down the wrong path in pursuit of goals not aligned with the company as a whole. Bad leadership and the wrong attitude can also bring down an entire team’s morale and productivity. In addition, all the time and money spent recruiting, onboarding, and training an executive hire will have to be reinvested — potentially costing your organization six to nine months of the desired position’s salary.
Tarnished reputation: In the digital age, a bad hire can quickly tarnish your company’s reputation. They, or their dissatisfied former direct reports, can drop negative reviews on job review websites which can affect your ability to recruit top candidates, regardless of level.
Turnover at the executive level also sows seeds of discontent and dissatisfaction into your workforce. Employees may question your company’s stability, and even worse, look for a job elsewhere.
Decreased valuation: Effective leaders determine company success and shareholders often react negatively to executive turnover, especially if it’s unexpected. According to PwC, CEO turnover reduces median total shareholder return to -3.5% and a forced turnover can cost $1.8 billion more than a planned succession. If your business is service-based or project-based, a bad executive hire and changes in leadership could also impact customer satisfaction and retention.
5 ways to recruit the right leadership
Strong executives are vital to any business. They bring innovative ideas and energy that help your organization evolve. So, even though today’s hiring landscape is extremely competitive, you can’t afford to hire the wrong executive. The following tips can help you recruit, close and retain the right leaders in the current environment:
Know your company: Before you start the hiring process, make sure you understand your company’s culture, values, workflows, and weaknesses. Then, practice how you communicate it. Hiring a good fit means they need to want to work at your company. This requires setting accurate expectations during the interview and hiring process.
Know your goals and challenges: Similar to knowing your business, you should know where it’s headed. Identify your company’s goals. Then, consider the challenges your organization, industry, and sector will face in the next five years. This will help you determine the ideal experience and expertise of the type of executive hire who can get your company to the place it needs to be.
Be clear about your remote work policy: According to a recent survey, 55% of the workforce wants to be remote at least three days a week. A company’s remote work policy is now a key consideration for candidates, so determining how often you need your executives to be in office (and whether it is negotiable) will help set expectations and ensure long-term success.
Maintain momentum: Once you’re in the hiring process, make sure it doesn’t drag on. A slow process can frustrate candidates and cause you to miss out on a good hire. When you find the right person, be decisive and clearly identify next steps. In this way, recruiting is like sales: Time kills all deals.
Lean on networks and partners: The best hires aren’t always those looking for a new job — the right person for the job may be an internal candidate, a referral from an employee’s network, or a product of outbound recruitment. A talent partner who has the experience, expertise, and existing relationships can help you uncover the perfect candidate, even if it’s someone who isn’t raising their hand.
Good people power success
We’re at the precipice of a new era of work. The pandemic continues to change the hiring landscape, accelerating digital transformation and popularizing remote work. Companies need strong leaders to ensure they not only evolve, but stay ahead of the competition. With the proper practices and partners in place, you can make the right executive hire to help propel your business forward.
By Phil Gaddis, President of Executive Search, Addison Group.
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It is fair to say that 2020 shook recruitment (along with most other sectors) to its core. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to the recruitment industry that were expected to take years have happened in mere months.
But now that we are almost halfway through 2021, are these changes likely to stick around?
Out of necessity, many employees were forced to work from home for the majority of last year. But this necessity has created new opportunity, with many companies realizing business can carry on, as usual, no matter where their teams are based. Now, many organizations are adopting an increasingly hybrid approach to the workplace.
As such, the definition of ‘workplace’ has changed dramatically — a lasting change that will undoubtedly continue long after the pandemic is over.
But what does this momentous shift mean for financial and accountancy recruitment going forward? In short — digitization.
The rise of hybrid working
Thanks to the pandemic, the traditional hiring process has been flipped on its head, with many recruiters (and clients and candidates) scrambling to adapt to a fully remote experience. But remote work has become the new norm for many, meaning virtual recruiting is not going anywhere.
The past year has seen many companies take a haphazard approach to recruitment, attempting to hastily fill talent gaps in a panic. However, digital hiring solutions such as online assessments and video interviewing should not be seen as a short-term patch for the COVID-19 era. Instead, they should form part of a long-term hiring strategy. Virtual recruitment requires just as much care and attention as traditional hiring options, and retention should always be a top priority. The cost of a bad hire is monumental, so it is essential to get recruitment right the first time.
With hybrid working on the rise, many firms are now also casting the net wider when recruiting new hires. As a result, recruiters must adopt hiring technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to enhance the recruitment process and improve efficiency when sifting through a larger candidate pool. For instance, algorithms and AI can automate the CV screening process to ensure all candidates are replied to and even schedule interviews. Candidates expect a smoother experience when applying online, and in 2021, there are no excuses for clunky application processes or not getting back to candidates.
However, despite advances in technology, it is vital to keep recruitment personal. Attention to candidates makes for a lasting workforce, which is why an effective hiring process should still include people at both ends. Rather than replacing human connection, intelligent automation should supplement the recruitment process by filtering through data quickly, transparently, and without error.
On-screen talent assessment and selection
Although the recruitment world has changed dramatically over the past year, the hiring process itself still follows the same steps — albeit with some adjustments to ensure the caliber of hires when recruiting virtually.
Social media and online job sites have long played a crucial role in sourcing candidates and will be instrumental in remote recruiting, opening up an entirely new world of finance and accounting candidates to consider. For senior positions which may not be advertised due to sensitivity, recruiters can also use social media platforms like LinkedIn to ‘headhunt’ talent, combining their connections and expertise to source the best candidates for the role.
Given that new hires are now less likely than ever to engage with recruiters face-to-face before onboarding, post-2020 recruitment must also be able to assess and select talent effectively from a distance. As a result, there is a growing demand for online psychometric and aptitude assessments as recruitment tools. When recruiting remotely, it is also important to translate the organization’s culture and values into tests or surveys to determine whether a candidate is a good ‘fit’ and will stay with the company.
Even with advancements in technology, this screening process can take a long time and requires close attention to detail to ensure only the best candidates with the relevant qualifications and skills for the role are put forward to the client.
The final hurdle
With remote hiring becoming the norm, we can expect to see in-person job interviews become a later stage of the recruitment process when both the recruiter and the candidate are sure the role is a good fit.
It is, therefore, vital for recruiters to maximize new assessment tools available to facilitate virtual recruitment. Unlike email or telephone interviews, video interviews give the recruiter a more comprehensive perspective of potential candidates. With video conferencing now widely accepted, the interaction can still be personalized and used to establish a connection. As there is no travel involved with digital interviews, they are also easier to schedule and can be recorded and shared amongst relevant stakeholders (with the candidate’s permission) to enhance the selection process.
Plus, everyone’s time is precious. From a candidate’s perspective, it is much easier to find the time for a virtual interview, meaning they can accommodate availability sooner than in person. With the traditional recruitment process, many hybrid candidates would discount themselves due to availability and having to come up with a plausible reason as to why they were not present at work. With virtual recruitment, this is no longer a problem.
Taking the recruitment process further
To ensure the quality of new hires, it is imperative that organizations take the time to adapt the traditional hiring process to the new, more digital way of working.
But why stop once new hires have accepted the job offer? In order to retain these recruits, equal efforts should be put into post-hire talent acquisition as the pre-hire onboarding process.
When done right, remote recruiting can not only save time, free up resources, lower hiring costs, and provide opportunities to broaden the pool of candidates — but it can also ensure companies RETAIN staff.
After all, is that not what good recruitment is all about?
With over 50 years of experience, Howett Thorpe has evolved to become one of the South East’s premier accounting and finance recruitment agencies — offering workforce solutions across multiple specialisms. The agency also has a strong foothold in practice and business support roles, such as office admin and HR.
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This past year has greatly altered the dynamics of the U.S. labor market, including job seekers’ expectations of employers, according to a new 2021 Job Seeker Nation Report from Jobvite. It is predicted that many of the changes experienced will be here to stay, bringing about what many believe to be the rise of the optimized workforce. As a result, talent leaders and recruiters must understand how to adjust efforts for the job market today and into the future.
Remote work & company culture.
The pandemic has created profound changes in workplace preferences for job seekers, including the desire for remote work. Per the Job Seeker Nation Report, 35% have declined or would decline a job offer that required them to work full time on location, in an office, or at a worksite, and 100% remote work is preferred by 33% of workers.
Despite an increasing number of employees working remotely, the importance of company culture in applying for a job has continued to rebound. Nearly half of workers believe company culture is very important in their decision to accept or reject a job – a 21% increase since 2019.
Employers need to implement a hybrid and culture-centric work environment to lure top-quality talent. Likewise, talent leaders must incorporate these company values into the hiring process. This can be accomplished by implementing a cohesive recruitment marketing strategy that includes social media, as more than 33% of job seekers use social media networks to learn about an employer’s culture.
Diversity hiring is vital.
With this year prompting many Americans to reflect on what is important to them, it is fitting that those beliefs and priorities are being brought into the job search. This year’s report found a significant number of workers (42%) would turn down a job if the company lacked diversity in its workforce or had no clear goals for improving diversity in hiring.
Separately, 49% have inquired about employer’s goals and efforts around improving diversity in the workplace during interviews. Based on these results, it’s evident that recruiters need to embrace diversity initiatives, as it significantly influences workers’ decisions to apply, accept, or even reject a job.
To do this, recruiters must create employment opportunities for all regardless of race, religion, color, gender, identity, age, ability, location, or creed by mitigating challenges in the job-seeking process due to unconscious bias. This can manifest itself in how a job description is written, how a job opening is marketed, what schools an organization recruits candidates from, how a candidate is interviewed, and much more.
Balance in today’s always-on workforce.
The majority of surveyed workers report increased stress levels since the onset of the pandemic. In today’s world of competing priorities and unexpected distractions, remote workers are also struggling to transition between “work time” and “home life.” In 2021, 42% of surveyed workers said they are working longer hours compared to the year before.
Employers must deliver a more thoughtful approach to helping employees achieve a more balanced life based on workers’ individual needs. Talent leaders can then highlight how the company supports its employees through these practices, both now and into the future. This can be delivered through information and videos on the employer’s career site, which continues to be one of the most powerful recruiting assets.
Interviewing tactics & preferences.
Here’s the good news for recruiters. Over the past year, an overwhelming majority of surveyed workers consider their most recent candidate experience to be primarily positive. Excellent communication from recruiters, ease of scheduling, and easy job application process were the top reasons for positive candidate experiences.
A preference for texting is also on the rise. This year’s report found that a majority of job seekers prefer texting for scheduling interviews in comparison to email or phone. This is especially true for workers with children, as 30% are comfortable participating in an interview via texting. Like consumer behavior, candidates have renewed expectations of their job-seeking experience, especially while on a mobile device.
However, lack of access to adequate technology or Wi-Fi has negatively impacted 35% of job seekers’ ability to participate in a video interview. Recruiters need to consider how this may affect a candidate’s participation and outline strategies to overcome this challenge, as virtual interviews continue to be leveraged in the recruiting process.
The Rise of the Optimized Workforce.
The expectations of job seekers and employees have changed forever. As a result, recruiters need a complete understanding of how to adjust efforts to meet the demands of varied realities for today’s workers. To do this, talent leaders must equip themselves with the right skills, knowledge, and strategies to effectively navigate the current reality and engage high-quality talent.
Kurt Jones is a Senior Manager of Product Marketing at Jobvite, a leading end-to-end talent acquisition suite provider that serves thousands of customers across a wide range of industries.
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