Recruitment – the first impression that matters

by Human Capital25 Jun 2013
"How can HR meet the increasingly challenging recruitment needs of today’s competitive market?" Nick Southcombe answers this question and more.
Q: How can HR meet the increasingly challenging recruitment needs of today’s competitive market? 
A: There’s no simple answer to recruitment. Remaining competitive in the market requires constant innovation. Best-in-class organisations are focusing on accessing their internal talent pools, reducing cost and time to hire, and engaging candidates rapidly in communication with enterprise social media and recruitment technology. 
The recruitment and on-boarding process is perhaps the most vital step in the HR lifecycle for ensuring employee engagement. Every day new research emerges that demonstrates the lasting impact your recruitment and on-boarding processes have on your ability to engage and retain talent. So why are so many businesses still getting recruitment wrong? The answer is complacency. 
In today’s competitive business environment it’s important to remember that innovation never stops. You might have a comprehensive employer branding strategy, an engaging social media presence and cross-platform job advertising, but it takes constant vigilance in the recruitment space to keep up to pace. 
Employers can no longer wait for candidates to come to them; we must be actively positioning brand in front of targeted candidates. Today is the age of the knowledge worker. This means it’s time to get serious about hunting for talent. And we mean hunting.
The recruitment world – and especially the ever-expanding social space – is a jungle of aggressive agencies, colourful peacock-candidates, and even the odd lyrebird. Just as every boy scout knows, when you’re heading into the wilderness you must ‘be prepared’. Central to this is having a comprehensive system in place that manages every candidate touchpoint, from advertising a position to on-boarding your new recruit. 
Your system must accurately forecast the recruitment needs, identify talent within your enterprise, advertise across your platforms, identify top candidates, communicate during the recruitment process, and on-board smoothly. Getting all of this right is a big ask, but it’s vital for business to eliminate ad hoc practices.
Too often businesses fail to nurture their internal talent pool. While all HR professionals know the benefits of recruiting internally – reduced hiring costs, enhanced engagement, retention – few organisations stop to search their talent pool once they’ve identified the need for a new position. 
This is because most recruitment systems aren’t effectively integrated with learning and development. The key here is not only keeping your talent pipelines full but  also keeping them moving. This requires accurate forecasting, succession planning and training that targets talent.
According to recent research, 79% of candidates are turned off by a position that requires a long recruitment process. The ability to attract talent can be seriously  damaged by indecision, a poorly managed process that runs across several months, or an excessive number of interviews. 
The rise and rise of psychometric testing has shown a cross-industry trend towards quantitative data and away from face-to-face subjective assessment. Questionnaires that appear early on in the recruitment process have proven to be an effective way to identify talent and reduce the time to hire. Along with testing, resume screening is a valuable way to cut costs and quickly eliminate incompatible candidates. It’s important to find the right balance between due diligence when analysing candidates, and maintaining their engagement.
Recruitment is the most pivotal step in employee engagement. As in all steps in the employee lifecycle, communication is at the heart of engaging your talent. This means enhancing every candidate touchpoint for a rapid and responsive recruitment process. 
It takes the right blend of technology and strategic face-to-face skills to do all that is required of recruitment and on-boarding effectively. 
Nick Southcombe is the General Manager of Frontier Software, an Australian-based global provider 
of HR and Payroll software and associated services. Nick can be contacted at nick.southcombe@ by phoning (03) 9639 0777. Website: