Whether the UK leaves the EU or not, recruiting talented individuals remains a challenge to many industries. Companies are experiencing a candidate driven market due to a shortage of skilled employees. Competition for talent is fierce, with many business vying for the same candidates, allowing job seekers to name their terms and command more money.
To compete with the larger organisations, who are able to recruit and retain staff through offering more money, SMEs and Startups must be willing to invest in existing and future employees in different ways. By offering training opportunities (which can be repaid if they still leave within a period of time), flexible working hours (to suit their family needs) and recognising and rewarding their accomplishments, employees will feel valued and stay longer.
The growing trend for more values-driven business models is also having a massive impact on recruitment. Attitudes to work are changing as employees want to feel that they, and the company they work for, are making a difference. To recruit and retain the best talent, companies must promote their core values and ethical policies to existing and prospective employees.
Whilst an increasing number of companies are postponing recruitment efforts due to the uncertainty of Brexit, those that are recruiting are being unrealistic in the expectations. Many businesses are rejecting candidates with experience and talent because they don't have the exact combinations of skills they need in their company.
When I first started in recruitment, we had the 80/20 mix, candidates had about 80% of the required skill set and 20% room was allowed for development. Since the financial crisis of 2008 companies have required 95% skill set and industry experience, leaving employees very little room for personal development. This has resulted in employees staying with companies for only 12-18 months, instead of the previous 4-5 years. With industry clusters chasing the same talent pool, why not look at candidates from outside of your industry who would welcome the opportunity to change sectors and allow them to build on their skills?
To improve your chances of hiring the best candidate for the job, you may also need to review your interview process. The best candidate at interviewing might not always be the best candidate for the position and tailoring the interview style and format to the role and candidate will help identify the best fit for your business.
Over the last few years interviews have become a game, which not all candidates are confident enough to play. In many cases, job interviews are entirely disconnected from the reality of people’s day to day job. Some of the most technically capable engineers and scientists have been left behind, simply because they don’t have the gift of the gab or able to think on their feet.
There are a number of candidates who have studied to MSc level and are pushing trolleys around a supermarket car park simply because they don’t know how to sell themselves in an interview. What these candidates make lack in communication skills they can more than make up in technical capability and could become valued and loyal members of your team.
To win the recruitment challenge in 2019, employers must think outside the box, be creative, adapt their style of interviewing to suit candidates’ personalities and be willing to invest in training and their careers.
Belinda Elliott, Director of Bluestream Recruitment