Opinion: How to find top HR talent

by External18 May 2015
While it’s true there are more candidates than jobs right across the spectrum of HR roles presently, there’s always intense competition for the top candidates. But there are many steps businesses can take to ensure the cream of the crop is attracted to working with them, writes Peter Woodward.
State of the market
First, it’s worth understanding how market dynamics are working for HR candidates at the moment. For some time, the market was in hiatus. Candidates were staying in roles for extended periods and many risk-averse businesses were not hiring.
We saw that trend reverse at the beginning of this year. When we started back at work in January the phones ran hot with HR professionals looking for new roles because there were no new opportunities in their organisations, or they wanted to pursue a different career path.
Overcoming challenges
Despite a healthy talent supply, it’s always challenging finding exceptional people to fill vacant roles. Sometimes the best candidate for a position won’t be actively looking for a new role. Which is why it’s important for businesses that are looking for great talent not to rely solely on online job boards to fill vacant positions. This strategy will identify some but not all candidates that have the potential to really do great work in the position.
While top brands will always be able to attract great staff, it can also be challenging for businesses that don’t have a well-established brand to find really great candidates. This is where working with a specialist recruitment partner comes into its own. Partnering with a specialist recruiter allows you to tap into its deep and broad networks, and benefit from these connections.
My other advice would be to constantly work on your own networks, so that you have a good idea about where the best talent is working and their propensity to work for your business. Be confident in your business’ brand proposition and think laterally about where you might be able to identify great staff.
Building leadership capabilities
One of HR’s most important roles is identifying future leaders that can help take the business to the next level. To achieve this, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of the business, its values and its leadership competencies, so you can recruit against them. The idea is to build a runway of development for the people who will be running the business in five or ten years’ time.
For many organisations, HR is still seen as a cost centre, which can be a difficult notion to challenge in the business. This is why it’s essential to take a commercial mindset and view yourself as a strategic partner for the business.
To be truly valued across the enterprise you need to focus on building productivity in the business, managing performance and adding value beyond a compliance and legal perspective.
Finally, never underestimate your worth to the business. Every organisation’s greatest assets are its people and HR plays a central role in identifying and developing the talent pool. Do that and you’ll be well on your way to making the business a great success.

About the author
Peter Woodward is Search Partner, Asia Pacific, Ampersand Executive Search and Recruitment