Austerity measures affect everyone
Austerity measures also drive efficiencies and new business processes. Companies are looking for new ways to power operational efficiency to find and employ top talent using in-house recruiters or working closely with external partners.
It’s a truism that organisations are only as good as their people. Virtually every chairman’s annual statement points to staff as their organisation’s number one asset. Talent managers are therefore tasked to recruit or develop talent to support company strategy: from finding, hiring and retaining quality candidates; resourcing emerging markets or filling skills gaps; to leadership development and succession planning.
People, competition and value
Finding, retaining and nurturing the best people drive competitive advantage, especially in sectors in which skills and talent are in high demand or scarce. In straight economic terms, people contribute more value to businesses than any other factor of production and, together with intangible assets such as IP and innovation, account for up to 80% of the value of large companies (source:’ Cracking the value code’, authored by Richard Boulton, Barry Libert, Steve Same). Effective recruitment is therefore critical to both commercial success and company value.
Online candidate data blessing or curse?
The fact that so many candidates are visible online, with the number of locations they can be found growing rapidly, is both a blessing and a curse. Recruiters are presented with a plethora of data. Candidate information can be acquired in such vast amounts that a core database can quickly be rendered misleading or unworkable. Effective recruitment hinges on turning data into actionable information and matching information to success criteria. Without the capability to filter ‘noise’ such as duplication and unverified claims, the recruitment process is flawed and frustrating for all involved.
In the absence of rigorous review or the right tools knowledge workers such as recruiters waste approximately 25% of their time searching for the right information to complete a task. The cost can run into £M per annum, or, put another way, staff could be working the equivalent of only a four day week.
Smart workflow management
HR and talent managers are therefore compelled to find ways to combine effectiveness and efficiency. At the heart of the matter, a reliable, interpretable database underpins all positive recruitment efforts. Recent technology allows recruiters to search their own talent pools, job boards, professional networks and media such as CV libraries in seconds against precise search criteria. Recruiters are able to generate a candidate database in which they can have confidence, meaning precise matching, no duplication, plus the capability to view, sort and prioritise all records on one screen so they can move candidates smoothly through a process.
These sorts of solution replace the typical enterprise’s unstructured world of e-mail, diaries, documents, spreadsheets and meeting notes and harness the huge value of workflow management.
Recruitment software solutions
The later generation of recruitment solutions not only drive efficiency but also improve user experience. Early recruitment software solutions solved one problem by automating many manual processes, and digitising paper-based work, but created another in the number of programmes and screens that had to be clicked or viewed to make progress. Much to the annoyance of users who were proud of their workarounds, today’s user interface is more akin to a pilot’s cockpit where everything can be actioned in one place, with dashboard views and line of sight across the recruitment process.
The right collaboration tools allow in-house recruiters to work quickly and methodically. Vacancies and interviews can be posted, shared, tracked and updated in a highly efficient workflow system that allows office-based, remote and mobile users to manage events from advert to hire.
Blended approach to recruitment
In the quest to find and employ top performers, there is always the conundrum of passive candidates to be overcome. Many passive candidates have strong historical relationships with advisers and agencies rather than individual companies, which is one reason why organisations complement their in-house teams with external agencies.
Many companies operate a blended approach to recruitment and need ways to facilitate the use of multiple external recruitment agencies who can lend expertise, depth and geographical reach to search and candidate qualification. They acknowledge that good external partners will have influence on their candidate communities which an in-house team would struggle to replicate. Companies can take advantage of the candidate knowledge agencies have built over many years, while a recruitment platform enables them to share critical information quickly and securely.
Corporate recruitment strategies
Roy Snart, managing director at First Choice Software, offered this view on the internal-external debate. “I started in recruitment more than 25 years ago and worked closely with recruitment teams in some of the largest companies in the country,” he says.
“Their objectives then were exactly the same as those of recruiters today: get the best people for the smallest spend in the quickest time. Their choices weren’t as great as they are today; conventional options were restricted to press or specialist magazine advertising or the use agencies or a combination.
“Print advertising has declined dramatically while electronic advertising and the use of social media have seen an obvious meteoric increase in popularity though success rates haven’t risen in proportion to that growth. This is evidenced by the fact that recruitment fees are pretty much the same as they were twenty years ago and the recruitment market has continued to grow (last couple of years aside) and now stands as a 20 billion pound plus a year industry. The demand for services from agencies is as strong as ever and no doubt the spend-per-recruit has, on average, not fallen at all. If costs are to be driven down something different has to be done.
“Agency software providers have, with greater or lesser degrees of success, developed software to improve the efficiency of the recruitment process delivered by their clients to the end user recruiters. The complaint made all too frequently by agencies is that even when their clients have made an investment in software to improve their processes this has generally made the agencies job harder and therefore more expensive to provide (and frequently less satisfying too). To reduce the average spend per recruit something different – something more holistic and collaborative needs to be done – that actually reduces the cost to recruitment agencies and allows them to pass these saving on to their customers.
“This doesn’t mean that corporates don’t need to develop their own talent banks and make better use of the resources they have in-house, quite the contrary, but it does mean they have to look at things in a different way rather than doing the same old thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
“We therefore built a solution from the ground up to enable in-house recruiters and/or agencies to build solid knowledge bases and share real-time, accurate information in a highly structured, rules-driven way. We’ve tapped into our customers’ main objectives: finding ways to cut recruitment costs at the same time as optimising their talent acquisition strategy and reducing time to hire.”
The debates surrounding the cost of recruitment, quality and control will influence further shifts in corporate recruitment models. Some companies are happier with what they see as in-house control over how the company is promoted and satisfied that they have access to talent via professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. Yet KellyOCG report that the popularity of outsourcing has increased since 2008/9.
First Choice solution: Mi-Recruitment Manager
The First Choice solution Mi-Recruitment Manager can claim to offer the best of all worlds. The solution has a full applicant tracking system (ATS), allows for the development of company talent pools and provides a boost in efficiency to internal recruiters. The system can also deal with an unlimited number of suppliers, vacancies and applicants, simply, practically and economically. Extended functionality includes the capability to provide full support for electronic timesheets and electronic entry systems, and feed information to HR, payroll and billing systems as required.