Master the art of recruitment to win in personnel

As demand for good staff grows, HR professionals can play a vital role in
recruitment, argues Mike Shea

According to the Corporate Advisory Board of Washington DC, the cost of
replacing staff can be anything between 50 per cent and 175 per cent of that
person’s annual salary and, as we are all aware, employees in the 21st century
do not stay with a company for life as perhaps their grandparents did.

What can we deduce from this? Well you as the HR professional will be
involved in the recruitment process for your company at some point.

The process is a vital part of your company’s business strategy. Recruit the
wrong person and you may be doing far more harm than not recruiting someone at
all. You must be aware not only of your own employer’s strategies and policies
regarding recruitment, but also of the local and perhaps national recruitment

For example, I live and work in Edinburgh which, together with Glasgow and
the central belt, is seeing a dramatic increase in available employment due to
the expansion of employers such as BSkyB, Motorola and Greenfield.

This means we have a limited candidate pool in which to fish and this pool
is simply not deep enough to supply all of Scotland’s needs. My colleagues and
I have therefore sought candidates from across the UK who are seeking to move
to Scotland, either for quality of life or family issues, and through our
network of offices have helped them find a new position in Scotland.

The biggest enemy to the recruitment process, however, is time. If you are
holding the CV of a candidate who seems to be ideal for your current vacancy,
then act quickly. Do not fool yourself – you will not be the only recruiter
looking at this candidate’s CV and a contract of employment is a far stronger
inducement than the vague promise of an interview.

I have lost count over the years of the number of employers who have contacted
me three or four weeks after I have submitted a candidate, in order to arrange
an interview and who seem genuinely surprised that the candidate is no longer
on the market, despite my having contacted them repeatedly with warnings that
this would happen.

So how can you try to ensure that recruitment in your company is as
successful as possible?

Make sure that when you contact your recruitment supplier you have as full a
job specification as possible. Have provisional interview dates already
pencilled in your diary. If a candidate can be contacted not only with all the
details of your company and the opportunity which exists in it, but also with
potential interview dates, it helps to focus this candidate’s mind on your

Do not recruit until you are ready. Asking for CVs two or three months
before you are ready to recruit is a wasted exercise – they will have gained
alternative employment long before you are ready to see them.

Move from the first interview stage to the second within two weeks – a week
is preferable – as this gives candidates an impression of a company that is
organised, professional and, most important of all, interested.

Give as much feedback as possible to candidates after the interview, even if
they have been rejected. You would be surprised at how positively candidates
receive this and it will promote a professional and positive image of your

I know of at least one blue- chip company which has suffered in the past
from not giving feedback on candidates, which has led to these candidates
promoting a negative image of this company to their colleagues. This in turn
reduces an already limited candidate pool for this particular company to
recruit from.

When a vacancy occurs, look at the attrition rates for that particular role
– it may be that you need to ask your training department to set up management
training courses. Ask any experienced business analyst and they will tell you
that employees leave managers, not companies.

Build a business relationship with your recruitment supplier. The more they
know about your company the more effectively they can "sell" your
vacancies to their candidates.

Recruitment is essential to your company. Undertaken correctly it will
result in you acquiring high-calibre, long-term assets for the company and will
actually reduce your future recruitment requirements.

Poor recruitment procedures and processes can only damage the company’s
bottom line and will, in effect, increase your recruitment needs.

Mike Shea is an HR recruitment consultant with HW Group, a TMP Worldwide

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