Good recruitment – “it’s all about quality of hire; it’s not just time to fill a post…”

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So said the EMEA MD, Christoffer Ellehuus, for Corporate Executive Board’s Corporate Leadership Council in a recent interview with the FT.

He was responding to the recruitment challenges faced by businesses, which include the huge volume of applications now being generated due to both the lack of jobs available (leading to more panic applications) and the success of companies’ attraction strategies. This increase in applications has brought with it a lot more cost (in both people & technology) yet he claims the feedback from Senior Managers is that the quality of the hires has declined. He believes this is due to a failure to handle the process in a targeted way.

Implementing efficient processes plays a key part in responding to the volumes of applications & the pressures of having to reduce costs; but this drive for efficient processes mean too many organisations have as their primary focus such metrics as speed to hire and cost per hire whilst, claims Ellehuus, they have lost sight of how to identify the best talent fast.

A different metric.

This, it seems to me, is a tough dilemma – how to hire better & better people as efficiently & quickly as possible? For example, should recruitment costs be measured be up to the point of hire or over a slightly longer period of time, say 6 months, by which time your investment has had a chance to begin providing a return or not – so  a ‘speed to value’ metric perhaps? True, this would be tougher to measure but probably a much more important metric as it focuses on the quality of the talent hired, based on the results they produce.

So what can be done specifically in our graduate world to get better talent in fast?

I would argue that graduate recruiters on the whole know exactly what they are looking for in their future graduate talent. So target the talent you meet – don’t throw them back into the pool. The challenge I would make to graduate recruiters is can your organisation create different ways of bringing people into the business which by-pass some of the current and let’s face it cumbersome & painful process? One of our clients did it with us this year through our Business Champions competition, offering internships to the winning team without an application form, numeracy test or assessment centre insight!

Or what about running bespoke assessment centres just for the talent you spot through your on campus events & activities, & not waiting for them to then go through a long application and screening process? In offering this opportunity you would at the very least get a lot more students at your events! Accenture are doing something similar taking students from their Bootcamp events straight to final stage assessments & very successfully.

Still, and too often, the investment made on campus is ‘lost’ or at the very least not maximised. The great talent companies meet on campus & through events are asked to apply with everyone else (who have not bothered to be proactive) and are ‘lost’ or at the very least slowed down back in the process.

Rising to this challenge & finding a new way to recruit great talent fast represents such an opportunity that our Client Conference, this August, will focus how our clients can tackle this issue in a simple yet effective way. See you there?

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