Recruit today for who you need tomorrow

Do you lurch from one human resourcing crisis to another? Do you always find yourself in a last minute panic when key people move on? And when you do take action, are you simply replacing like for like then left wondering why you’re still facing the same problems, the same challenges year after year?

What if you had a recruitment plan so aligned with your organisation’s objectives that you felt confident the people you’re recruiting today will contribute positively to your business in the future? How would it feel to know that the staff you have not only have the skills, but also the values and vision to take your organisation where you want to go?

Last time we talked about actively managing talent at all stages of the journey through your organisation to ensure you have a deep pool of talent to call upon. Today we’re going to delve deeper into the first part of that process – bringing in the right people in the first place.

Plan for the future when you’re recruiting new staff.

It’s all too easy to assume that everyone responsible for recruiting new talent has an understanding of what kind of people your business needs? However without putting some thought into it and being explicit about exactly what you need, the chances are you’re simply doing what you’ve always done.

Fire-fighting, replacing like for like, and using education and experience as your chief selection criteria means that you are probably missing out on bringing in people who not only share your values, but will contribute fresh perspectives, new ways of doing things and innovative ideas.

Rather than simply addressing immediate needs the key is to have a clear vision of exactly who the people you need are. What are their values, their skills, their way of thinking? Only once you have done that can you start to try and look for them.

Be creative about recruitment, don’t do what you’ve always done

  • The first step is to look at what you have today. What are your business challenges and where do you aspire to be? What kinds of individuals do you need in your business to take you where you want to go? What fits with your culture?
  • Don’t just think about skills and experiences but also consider what values you want staff to share. Past experience is not a good measure of who will fit with your culture and objectives, it’s only part of the package. How they approach things, their personal aspirations, values and goals are just as important.

Individuals who believe in what you are trying to achieve create loyalty and a common purpose. For example, someone motivated chiefly by money won’t be the right fit for the healthcare or not-for-profit sectors. It might seem obvious, but it’s worth being clear about the values, traits and personality types that fit with your culture so that when looking at CVs and meeting candidates you know both what alarm bells and positive characteristics to take notice of.

  • Look at what motivates different groups of people. Taking some time to do this will enable you to put the right recruitment strategy in place, and determine where and how you market your vacancies. What motivates your current leaders, who may predominantly be from the baby boomer generation, is not what motivates younger people who seek work-life balance, room to grow, autonomy and a clear sense of purpose.
  • Consider how you could recruit different types of people to a role rather than sticking to what you always do. Being creative can improve business performance through having a more diverse workforce. For instance if you have an ageing workforce perhaps you could benefit from doing more to appeal to younger people who’ve just entered the job market? What about women who may have taken time out from their career to have children?

You may have to think outside the box to make your positions appeal to these groups. Could you offer part-time, flexible or job-share roles. What about paid internships or returnships?

It is also worth actively engaging people from different cultural backgrounds and if your field is dominated by one gender taking steps to strike a balance. All these different groups of people bring something to the table and your organisation will be richer for it.

  • Use value-based recruitment and interview techniques. This will ultimately save you both time and money by sifting out those who aren’t suitable early in the process.

“Value-based interviewing is a structured means of exploring examples of applicants’ work behaviours. It focuses on how and why the applicant has made certain choices in their work, and explores the attitudes and reasons underpinning their behaviour.”
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust

Recently we had been  interviewing candidates for the role of HR Director at an NHS community health provider using value-based questions. While several candidates had both the experience and ability to do the role when we discussed how they had developed their teams and addressed specific issues, they all had fundamentally different approaches. Understanding the culture of our client was vital, and values of candidate appointed had a natural alignment.

  • Use a recruitment partner that understands your culture and will challenge you to think creatively about your recruitment process. If they don’t have an understanding of the company culture and what you face going forward, then how can they measure what is a ‘good fit’ for you?

Investing this time upfront to follow these steps will reap huge dividends. Being clear about the talents, values and perspectives your business needs in order to meet future objectives will set you on a path towards better business performance. You’ll also cultivate increased loyalty and a sense of common purpose will motivates your staff to improve and grow both together and as individuals.


Register with us or drop us an email (hannah@talentgateway.net) to discuss how we can ensure your people strategy adds value to your organisation.

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