Hiring in a fast labour market

Today’s employers need to treat applicants for jobs in the same way they treat their key customers. The old days of behaving as if you are “doing candidates a favour” by offering them a job are long gone. Technological change means that some roles are now very specialised and hard to fill, and suitable candidates should be treated with courtesy, respect….and speed! In many cases, the good candidate can pick or choose their employer, and will often do so based on the way they are treated, or the reputation of the company.

Employers who dawdle over the recruitment process may well find at the end of the process that their preferred candidate has accepted a role from a more nimble and flexible competitor.

The recruitment process does not need to be protracted. From the time of advertising a role, employers should set a defined closing date for applications and make plans to conduct selection interviews very shortly afterwards. Reference checks and any necessary testing can be undertaken immediately after suitable candidates are selected.

Remember that a strong candidate may have a number of concurrent employment options open to them. Keeping good candidates “in the loop” by letting them know they have been shortlisted will hold their interest. Treating them with speed and courtesy throughout the recruitment process will also provide a good impression of you as their potential future employer.

From an employment agency perspective, there is nothing more frustrating than having an excellent candidate who is unclear about their standing with a future employer because we are unable to get an answer from the key person in the organisation handling the recruitment process. An employment agency can only do so much to keep a candidate engaged before they start to look elsewhere!

It is also increasingly common for employers to fail to show the courtesy of getting back to unsuccessful applicants. Remember that such applicants may potentially be interested in applying for your roles in the future…….unless they have been treated badly in the process, in which case you won’t hear from them again!

If an unsuccessful candidate occasionally asks for feedback, a good employer will make the time to let the candidate (or the recruitment agency) know the reasons why they didn’t succeed, as this will assist the applicant to do a better job next time they apply for a role.

Recruiting staff effectively is a key performance indicator for all employers. If you do it well, you will build a competent, skilled and committed workforce. If you do it badly, you may make a poor appointment or lose a great candidate in the process; and this is a costly error if you have to deal later with performance issues or disgruntled employees.

– Lyn Russell, Executive Consultant