“Move as quickly as you can!”

HR Recruiter and Founder of HR Heads Jen Gaster shares some of her insight on what is happening in the HR recruitment market at the moment. You can watch or read her thoughts below.

The first thing to say is that the HR market has gone ballistic!

Recruitment has been unprecedented in the volume, variety, and types of recruitment that we’re being asked to serve. 

The emerging markets in my space right now are very much focused around technology, whether that’s come from homeworkers needing new technology to facilitate them working collaboratively, but from a hybrid or remote model; or it’s the new emerging markets that we’re seeing come to the fore and a lot of those start-up and scale-up businesses very much in the AI, tech, data processing arena – disrupting the traditional business process outsourcing model. 

Therefore the types of recruitment we’re seeing are those that can establish an HR function from scratch for a business that’s moving agilely and at pace and needing someone who can come to the table with both the creative and big picture mentality, but also with the knowledge to implement, embed and have adopted, the people policies and practices to maximise that value proposition to the business.

Watch Jen share her insight here.

What HR skillsets are companies looking for?

There’s always that match of technical capability with the personality that goes with it and when we’re talking about emerging and establishing businesses, businesses that are growing, I would say the technical expertise is almost taken as read.

But, what we do want, on the other hand, is the character and individual that has the drive and personality to take people on a journey and encourage people to follow them, adopting new ways of working. That personality must be engaging. 

So we’re seeing, yes, the technical toolkit with the policy, the process, the ‘keep me out of jail’ knowledge, but that’s almost taken for granted. 

I am now often looking for someone who can mix that red profile from an insights perspective of drive, ambition and personality with enough blue to give the detail-orientated, precise data-centric, structured, measured way of doing things so that they can deliver that return on investment and give confidence to their key stakeholders – typically the business owners and the investors – that what they’re doing is value-add in a commercial sense.

What are organisations doing well and where are they currently going wrong with hiring HR professionals? 

I think if you talk to businesses there is a desire to get people back together. Intuitively we know people want to work together with people, and you’ve got a business saying, let’s bring people back to the office in whatever guise  

On the flip side of that, the top talent is saying, I’ve established a new working pattern for the last two years here, and I’m pretty comfortable with it, I don’t want to change that. 

So, I’ve got brilliant businesses with lovely roles that are saying it’s five days a week in the office, and I’m not, as a consequence, being able to attract the best talent to those roles. 

There has to be some way of figuring that out and I think 2022 will be a year of really establishing how that land settles because consensus isn’t there at the moment. 

There is a mismatch between the desire of the business and the desire of the talent in terms of how we fundamentally get that talent into the business. 

I think there’s going to always be a compromise. 

Businesses have got to think more fluidly about how you collaborate, what technology you embrace, and what demands you fundamentally put on that talent to ensure you attract them through the door. 

What advice would you give to Hiring Managers?

Move as quickly as you possibly can. 

There are so many roles that I’m working on now where the preferred candidates have simply been lost in the process before we even got to the third stage of interview. 

So, whilst I don’t want anyone to cut short their processes or to recruit without that empirical evidence and confidence that you’ve really assessed the individual to be the right candidate for you, I need you to fundamentally determine that process, scope it out, schedule it, and stick to the schedule to enable me to manage that expectation with the candidate. 

If there are three stages of the process and a number of stakeholders are involved in that, I can manage that and set the expectation with the candidate and align it to other processes they might be in.

What we are finding is that our candidates can only accept – and they will only accept – one role, and nine times out of 10 at the moment that’s a counteroffer where they are.

The movement of talent is restricted, but they are in play for four or five roles at any one time. 

So, how do we manage the process so that they have the choice and ideally choose your role? If you delay that, if you add another layer in, if you decide you want to bring a different stakeholder into the mix, or indeed, you want to run a behavioural profile or additional psychological processing, that fundamentally could switch that candidate off. 

The other thing I would advise against now is asking the candidate to do a presentation. 

The delay that takes, the amount of work they must do makes your role unattractive. Whilst I want the candidate to want your job, actually, it will switch them off and push them towards other processes.

Where there is an array of choice, you have to make your choice the easy and most desirable one. 

Getting your process to be slick and speedy is the best advice I can give you right now.

How can HR recruiters help organisations at the moment? 

We talked about controlling the process and setting it out from the beginning. 

I think managing expectations on both sides and being the conduit to do that – the old adage is – communication is key. 

We have to be talking to people.

We need to interview the candidate and present to you the candidate’s interview notes with what’s good about this candidate, but what else do you want to explore? 

At the interview stage, we need to get expedient feedback from that candidate to the client and from the client to the candidate and we need to understand where there’s any potential breakdown in that process, whether it’s the flexibility of working pattern, whether it’s how many days you’re in the office, whether it’s what the travel requirement is – it has got to be really transparent from the off, because, if we are not and there are new things that come into that, that candidate will be lost and lost very quickly. 

So, controlling the process, getting the clients and the candidates to stick to the schedule is important. 

I think advising our clients on where the market sits is key. 

We used to be in a position where we would present maybe a long list of eight candidates and a shortlist of five is agreed upon for the first stage interview. 

My advice right now is if we’ve got three strong candidates, particularly in something like Talent Acquisition, which is so highly sought after for talent now, don’t wait for another three – see those three. 

And if there is a candidate amongst those three that ticks the boxes, move on them and move on them really quickly and make them feel wanted and desired.

That will land you that top talent.

I don’t think the market supports a long list, shortlist elongated process anymore. 

Find the talent, jump on it, make it feel wanted, offer the candidate.

There’s nothing better than feeling wanted to enable that candidate to make a very speedy decision and join your business.

If you are looking for support with your next HR hire, or just want some advice without obligation, you can email us here.