Service: Human resources 

Successful recruitment: The race for talent

By Deval Patel

16 Nov 2021

With job vacancies at a record high, and businesses facing stiff competition to fill roles, our partners at NatWest Mentor, discuss how SME owners can secure the right people.

Microsoft currently estimates that 41% of the global workforce is considering moving jobs as the economy reopens, and in the UK we’re facing an all-time high as there are currently 1m vacancies to be filled.

For business leaders eager to overcome the uncertainty of the pandemic and bounce back as the economy recovers, headhunting for staff has become a headache. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone: according to Global Talent Acquisition Report by JobAdder, applications per job tumbled by 69.9% year on year in 2021.

So, what to do? Often any hunt for new staff involves hours focusing on processes and people and closely assessing what a business requires now and in the future.

If you have less time to find the talent your business needs, our partners at NatWest Mentor, suggest the following strategies:

1. Get the most out of social media

Many HR managers are beginning to follow the lead of recruitment agencies and finding potential candidates via social networks, such as LinkedIn and Facebook. While this is free to do, recruiters still need to follow some pointers. Namely: What do your current employees say about your business: Candidates will want to know who they are working with, and how your current team sees you as an employer. Encourage existing employees to be active on LinkedIn by updating their profiles when they’re promoted or by sharing their quality work.

Focus on marketing your brand: Post content that reflects how rewarding and enjoyable it is to work for your company. If you’ve won an award for being a good employer or simply have some evidence of a fun social or charitable day, post it and get your staff to talk about it online.

The devil is in the detail: Use relevant keywords in job ads to improve the chances of finding the right candidate. The best candidates often are not actively job-seeking, so don’t be afraid to reach out to people directly to make them aware of the opportunities you have. Even if it’s not right for them, they may be able to share with others in their network who could be interested.

Having up-to-date social media pages with engaging content not only tells your story but also sets you apart in a competitive labour market and can make all the difference. Employees are your best brand advocates and know what new talent and skills are vital to their already established teams.

2. Bring employee engagement to the hiring process

The hiring process should be engaging not just for potential recruits but for current employees, too. These employees are your best brand advocates and know what new talent and skills are vital to their already established teams. Plus, they might belong to a network to pull candidates from, so, consider rewarding current employees who refer a successful or strong candidate.

When businesses recruit they can forget that applicants are often customers, too. Providing a great experience, with clear communication about the recruitment process and timely feedback can make the difference between a job applicant buying your products and services again or recommending your business to others in the future.

3. Get the most from a recruiter

If you can’t do it without the help of a professional recruiter, it might not be as expensive as you think. Many agencies work on a success-only basis and may offer a discount to a business prepared to work with them exclusively. This means organisations save on the cost of advertising and time spent sifting through many unsuitable applications, and instead receive a handpicked selection of potential recruits who have been pre-interviewed, screened and, where applicable, skills-tested.

Specialist recruiters will be able to advise you on where best to advertise your roles and the places your candidates will most likely be looking. For some roles, this may well be LinkedIn, but for others, specialist job sites might be more appropriate.

4. Don’t forget to protect the data

During the recruitment process, you’ll be dealing with sensitive personally identifiable information (PII). These intimate details, about job applicants and staff, are a common target for cybercriminals. The UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires companies to store personal information in a manner that ensures applicants are secured against unauthorised or illegal processing.

Application forms should be securely retained by the business for at least six months but no longer than one year after the role was advertised; this is because of the time limits job seekers have to bring a claim under equality legislation.

Successful job applicants’ documents will need to be transferred to their personnel file when they join, which would be retained on file for up to six years until after their employment has come to an end.

When you’re recruiting, you need to:

  • Safeguard candidate information by using encryption methods, limiting those who can access personal information, and ensuring that malware or viruses can’t get at it either.
  • Think carefully about which details to request from applicants and consider minimising and anonymising the data collected during recruitment.
  • Seek help if you need to, starting with the government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which offers a Cyber Essentials certification.
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) also publishes advice about passwords and encryption.

NatWest Mentor

Mentor’s specialist employment law and HR consultants are able to help and support every facet of a recruitment and retention process. This might include training, advice, or providing documents.

To learn more about our partnership with NatWest Mentor, click here. 

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