Making sure you hire the right candidates

Hiring the Right Candidates - Image Credit: Thinkstock

The UK jobs market is moving fast, with professionals looking for new vacancies and employers eager to bolster their teams. Organisations are aiming to increase their headcounts, but at the same time, almost half (49 per cent) are reporting a rise in voluntary staff turnover. As such, many companies could see a significant change in personnel over the coming months.

As employers engage in increased recruitment activity, they have a number of important decisions to make over individual applicants and appointments. They need to ensure the processes are in place to identify the right candidates, and ensure the terms of employment are suitably attractive to secure their services.

Making the right decisions during the recruitment process can add value to organisations. Talented professionals are able to work productively, bring the best out in their colleagues and drive performance gains. But conversely, hiring the wrong people can hurt businesses and impact on the bottom line. This means it is essential to cover all bases when recruiting a new employee.

  • Identify the right people

Employers stand a greater chance of hiring suitable candidates if they have a clear idea of what they are looking for from the outset. Overall recruitment goals should feed into the role criteria included as part of the job advertisement - which helps individuals assess whether they are a suitable applicant for the job. Clearly communicating 'essential' and 'desirable' skills to would-be candidates can assist with quality control, and ensure employers are not inundated with submissions.

Research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development showed that 73 per cent of employers have seen an increase in the number of unsuitable applications in recent years. As well as wasting candidates' time, this is putting additional pressure on HR teams and hiring managers. When they have hundreds of CVs and covering letters to sift through, it is rarely possible to give each one the attention it deserves. Quite feasibly, strong candidates can be missed.

Similarly, advertising the salary for the position - or at least the earnings range - ensures candidates know what they can expect from the employer from the outset. If the advert is deliberately vague, using terms such 'negotiable' or 'dependant on experience', there can be a significant gap between what individuals are looking for and the organisation is intending to offer. Some candidates who attend interview may withdraw from the running when they hear the salary offer, narrowing the options available to the hiring manager.

  • Make attractive offers

According to Phil Sheridan, UK managing director at Robert Half, the pool of highly skilled talent is shrinking as more employers look to rebuild their workforces in a growing economy. He said the majority of employers are citing challenges sourcing the requisite talent and keeping them on board - with professionals expecting higher rates of pay and improved overall packages.

"While remuneration continues to be an attractive incentive, companies should also look at other valued benefits such as flexible working, tuition reimbursement and initiatives to improve work-life balance," Mr Sheridan advised. He noted that many companies are adopting flexible benefits packages to tailor perks to individual preferences - and this can make the difference for employers who cannot pay the very top salaries.

Research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals earlier this year indicated that 85 per cent of workers rate flexible employee benefits as either "very important" or "important". The most common benefit offered was found to be pension contributions (77 per cent) followed by childcare vouchers (73 per cent). Other options include payroll giving, company vehicles and additional annual leave.

  • Use recruiters to assist with the process

Engaging with a recruitment agency can increase the likelihood or appointing a suitable person within a suitable timeframe. Recruiters benefit from specialist knowledge of the national and local jobs market - they have access to a range of potential candidates, including those who are not actively looking for jobs.

This helps ensure employers have a wider pool of suitable professionals to select from when hiring. Agencies can also short-list potential hires, conduct initial interviews and carry out background checking - reducing the burden faced by the hiring manager. They can discuss pay with candidates, to determine whether it will be possible to find middle ground between employer and employee.

Recruiters can bring employers and potential employees together - helping to reduce the amount of time it takes to appoint a new worker, and also the amount of time and money organisations spend attracting the talent they need.