Even though Brexit negotiations have only just begun, the UK is starting to feel the effects of skills shortages in the labour market. The latest CIPD/Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning survey found that three-quarters of HR professionals are already experiencing recruitment difficulties and expect competition for well-qualified talent to increase over the next three years, as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

While competition for talent is undoubtedly stepping up, we’re also seeing changes in recruitment methods starting to emerge. This article explores what these developments are, and how organisations can use them to help themselves to stand out from the crowd and be able to attract employees with the best skills and potential for their business.

We’re seeing an increasing trend for organisations combining in-house and outsourced approaches to recruitment. Almost half of organisations (44%) are now doing this, compared with just over a quarter (28%) in 2013. There are a number of reasons why organisations might outsource recruitment, which, if used well, can be a useful resource for HR teams. For example, it could be that they need to recruit a larger volume of people than usual due to expansion, or that they aren’t managing to access the right people with their current approach, or even that they’re trying to recruit for roles with specific capabilities. In the longer term, there is potential for outsourcing to help HR teams alleviate some administrative services in order to focus on more strategic matters.

If your organisation is one of those increasingly outsourcing its recruitment, there are some important steps to take first. You must make sure to carefully consider any downsides that outsourcing recruitment may have on your organisation.

  • Would a loss of local knowledge and processes create problems for your business?
  • Would a fragmentation of the recruitment process mean strategic direction is lost?
  • Would the length of the contract be a problem if the business went through significant change?

You must also ensure that any outsourced recruiters are briefed in carefully. Although they are technically a different company, they will likely be potential employees’ first point of engagement with your brand and so they’ll need to mirror your values and understand your attitudes to diversity and inclusion. Indeed, the CIPD/Hays survey respondents rated ‘understanding of our business’ as the main factor influencing their choice of recruitment partner. Any outsourced service will also need to be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it is still the right option for the organisation and its skills needs.

The Resourcing and Talent Planning survey also found that interviews resulting from CVs and application forms are no longer the most popular method of selection, being overtaken by competency-based interviews. Competency frameworks can be very effective in increasing clarity around the links between individual capabilities, job roles and performance expectations. However, there are also some disadvantages, particularly for younger candidates that lack previous job experience to draw examples from. Organisations should therefore think about how important competencies are for the roles they’re recruiting for, or whether another approach might be more fitting. If they do opt for competency-based interviews then they need to make sure that the questions give the candidate opportunity to use non-work experiences – such as volunteering or responsibilities at school – to demonstrate their potential. They can also only be successful if they accurately reflect the job they are being used to recruit for, so will need to be carefully researched and put together in order to produce optimum results.

The survey also found that increasing numbers of organisations are using distance interview techniques, such as Skype or phone interviews, which represents another trend in hiring that has evolved over recent years. While there’s no doubt that having the capability to interview people in a more flexible way allows organisations to access a much wider talent pool, it’s crucial that all candidates have the same interview experience, regardless of the setup.

So how should you go about incorporating recruitment trends like these in your organisation and ensure they are effective? Engagement is key. Most organisations have a large number of people responsible for recruitment, who all need to feel equipped with the right skills to make effective people decisions on behalf of the company. Speak to them about their experiences, understand which areas they’ve found challenging, whether they feel they have gaps in capability, or whether the process has problems in practice. This insight can be invaluable in making decisions about what works for you – for example, the CIPD/Hays survey found that more than two-fifths of HR professionals believe the length of their recruitment process has led to the loss of potential recruits in the last 12 months. That’s a significant proportion that feel that a lack of flexibility and agility in the process itself is hindering whether or not organisations are able to hire top talent. Information like this will help shape your recruitment strategy and allow you to make meaningful adjustments to ensure you’re hiring the right people for the right jobs.

And finally, remember that selecting the right candidate can only happen if the right candidate actually applies for the role, so your recruitment strategy should take attraction into account as well as recruitment and selection. The CIPD/Hays survey found that organisational values are voted year-on-year as most important in attracting candidates, so think about how you are perceived in the market, how respected you are as a brand, how visible you are in the areas where your target audience is, and what your existing employees are saying about you. While recruitment and selection trends may ebb and flow, and it isn’t clear how much it will alter in the next five to ten years, you can help your organisation be ready for any challenges by ensuring your recruitment strategy is well-informed, inclusive and accessible.

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