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How do you ensure you are attracting and retaining top talent?

Attracting Top Talent

As we all know recruitment is a highly competitive sector, with new recruitment businesses opening their doors every day. The fight for top talent is fierce, attracting new employees, be that individuals new to the profession or experienced hires. Attracting talent is just the first hurdle.

How do you ensure you are attracting and retaining top talent?

Today I want to touch on one aspect of attraction and retention, and that is – The recruitment process.

Throughout my career in recruitment, I’ve made hiring mistakes and seen hiring decisions made which were inevitably set for failure. During the interview process, we only see one side of a candidate, the side they wish to show us. If you have reservations around attitude, personality and company fit these should be taken seriously as they generally cannot be changed. It doesn’t matter if they are set to be a top biller if they are going to come in and disrupt other good performers it is never going to work long-term.

At a conference I held quite a few years ago there was a discussion around mavericks. Consultants who were top billers that routinely upset other consultants used their status as top biller to do exactly as they pleased and held their employers over a barrel. One recruitment business owner (an organisation I knew well) had such an issue in their office. The individual in question consistently asked for a better salary, more commission, coming and going as they pleased, they created a hostile, competitive and negative environment for existing and new starters. During the discussions at the conference, the owner of the business realised what a mistake he was making letting the consultant continue. Within one week, the consultant had gone, and other individuals within the business had already started stepping up, both with billing, attitude and hard work. The owner of the business realised this situation had been holding others back and during some conversations afterwards he said he wishes he’d done it much earlier. Without the conference and the confidence, he gained from others in similar situations, who knows how long it would have continued?

Knowing when to walk away from a candidate that could be more trouble than they are worth is difficult. The other side, and what we tend to see more commonly, are individuals you think are great at interview but just don’t cut it. How do you start to make better hiring decisions?

Use as many resources as possible

From video screening and psychometric assessments to internal experts and assessment centres. Ensure you are aware of the external tools as well as the internal expertise and use these to design a process which takes all available resources into account.

Design your process

Starting with a telephone or video interview. Then maybe an assessment centre with psychometrics and/or a face to face interview before moving on to a more formal interview potentially with a presentation. Organisations without a set process are doomed to fail. Leaving room for bias, rushing and without properly assessing a candidate’s attitude, skills and motivations it is almost impossible to predict the likeliness of their success.

Know your process and stick to it

Quick decisions can lead to poor judgement. If you are in a situation where you need to get ‘someone’ in, it is inevitably going to lead to rushing the process. Overlooking flaws and offering the position before taking the right precautions. Ensure all hiring managers are aware of the process and have someone involved that isn’t invested in filling the position quickly.

Don’t be afraid to say no

It is easy when the candidate is clearly not right; it becomes much more difficult when there are things you like about the candidate. If they don’t fit in with the company culture, it doesn’t matter how good they are; your recruitment business may not be the environment for them to flourish and if you take on employees who leave quickly it is detrimental to your business. Having a high staff turnover has an extremely negative impact on any business.

More than anything else, remember that the impression you give during the interview process is what stays with the candidate. Think about whether the process is clear, well communicated and organised. If the candidate is unsuccessful, it is important that they leave the process wanting to work for you. Having a process which is clear and concise helps the candidates’ expectations to be managed throughout. Once they’ve left the process, they are your advocates, making recommendations to their friends and colleagues and you never know they could come back in a few years and be successful at interview.

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