Economic recovery forces change in how talent is identified

11 December 2014
  • Speed to hire is essential: three quarters of HR directors say they’re likely to change their recruitment practices to secure the best candidates.
  • Panel interviews are effective way to get the business involved in recruitment process as early as possible.

London, 11 December 2014 – The improving economy and resulting skills shortage will change the way talent is identified, according to nearly three quarters (74%) of UK HR directors. A recent survey by specialist recruiter Robert Half has identified that more than half (56%) of hiring managers say that they are somewhat likely to change their approach to recruitment and one in five (18%) are highly likely.

This comes against a backdrop of severe talent shortages, with a net 93% of HR leaders indicating that it is very challenging (33%) or somewhat challenging (60%) to find skilled professional-level employees today. ONS figures released on 12 November 2014 show that competition for the top employees is likely to continue, with employment rates rising by 112,000 from the previous quarter for the period July – September to 30.79 million people in work. The UK unemployment rate is 6.0% compared to a high of 8.3% at the end of 2011.  

When conducting general interviews, nearly six in 10 (57%)  HR directors are finding that panel interviews are the most effective method, suggesting that they want to involve other people from the business in the recruitment process in order to keep it as short and efficient as possible.  Panel interviews were followed by one-on-one interviews (55%) and assessments (written and/or skills testing) at 41%.  The least popular form of interview technique is through e-mail or social media e.g. Twitter, according to 6%; followed by video interviews – Skype or videoconference at 15%

When it comes to recruitment of specialist skills, HR directors differ on which recruitment style works best.  Group interviews work particularly well when searching for teambuilding and collaboration skills, for example, while HR directors prefer to talk through technical case studies when recruiting IT skills.

200 HR Directors were asked, “Which of the following techniques is most effective for recruiting specific skill sets on your team?”

 

Group interview

Panel interview

Technical case study

Assessment

Group presentation

One-on-one interview

Teambuilding/collaboration skill

44%

18%

9%

9%

12%

9%

Commercial/ business acumen

9%

31%

19%

19%

6%

17%

IT skills

9%

14%

30%

29%

3%

16%

Technology competency

9%

20%

27%

26%

5%

14%

Communication skills

14%

27%

7%

11%

18%

25%

Financial management

9%

22%

17%

24%

8%

21%

Leadership abilities

20%

21%

8%

14%

19%

19%

 

Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director, Robert Half UK commented: "As the UK economy continues to rally, it is no surprise to see that HR leaders are altering the way they identify talent.  Hiring managers need to move quickly when they select a candidate for risk that they may be competing with other businesses for the most in-demand professionals. Running a panel interview means that HR directors can get the business involved at a much earlier stage, instead of running multiple rounds of interviews.

“In advance of any interview, it is advisable that candidates confirm whether it will be a panel, one-on-one or even video conference, and to be fully prepared for whatever platform is chosen for them.”

Robert Half provides the following interview tips for candidates:  

  • Ask for details of the interview structure, i.e. who will be interviewing you, for how long, and how many other candidates will be there. If you need more information about the organisation ask for it at this stage. You cannot over-prepare for an interview.
  • Demonstrate your worth. Those with experience need to show solid return on investment for their previous contributions, particularly those made over the past few years.  Individuals who are able to convey how they helped their company emerge from the downturn, providing tangible results, will be better capable of landing the job.
  • First impressions count. Showcase your interpersonal abilities by taking conversational cues from the interviewer: some enjoy small talk; others prefer to cut to the chase.
  • Honesty is, indeed, the best policy. Embellishing the truth or coming across as inauthentic doesn’t help your cause. Is “working too hard” really your biggest weakness? Over-rehearsed and unlikely answers frustrate experienced interviewers who want insights into the real you.
  • Do your homework.  Candidates will be expected to showcase their knowledge of the company, its competitors and the current issues affecting the industry as a whole. Ask the interviewer questions that will demonstrate this knowledge, such as any recent client wins, international expansion etc. Employers are also keen to see that candidates have a good business network, with the potential to bring in new business or beneficial contacts, so they should be prepared to be asked this.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

  1. The bi-annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 200 interviews with HR directors from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location. 

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. Founded in 1948, the company has over 340 offices worldwide and 18 in the United Kingdom providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and job seeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.