2016 US Recruiting Focus

2016 US Recruiting Focus

One of our clients found they were losing 12% of top talent brought into leadership roles within 12 months. A small amount of this was attributed to reasons beyond the organisation’s control, but the majority was due to the way the individuals were managed into the organisation – a sink or swim mentality, and cultural fit judged through the recruitment process.

Our client has since significantly improved the quality of people they were able to engage with and, eventually, hire. The same attrition rate two years into the programme is just 1%.

What did they do differently?

They changed the way they build relationships, and they developed an understanding of the talent landscape. They took a long-term view to building leadership pipelines, they engaged with talent who were not looking for a new role (the much talked about ‘passive’ talent) before an opportunity arose, they judged how candidates would fit culturally through ongoing relationships, they exposed candidates to the senior teams early on. They threw out the rules of reactive hiring and decided to engage with top talent in a different way so that, when the time was right for both parties, they were brought into the business whether there was a defined hiring need or not. “We always need great talent” is a great philosophy.

This example sprung to mind in the context of LinkedIn’s United States Recruiting Trends report in which it’s reported that 52% of US HR professionals are looking for talent in high-demand pools, 35% believe quality of hire is the most important metric, and 32% say sourcing passive candidates is the number one long-term trend.

These findings come from a function that typically operates in a reactive environment and one in which key performance indicators revolve around the here and now: percentage of roles filled, time to hire, and retention statistics. This short-term focus of the recruitment teams – often driven by the business – means that organisations will continue to find it difficult to attract high demand talent.

Food for thought

Having read the report, I can think of a number of practical changes that would help recruitment professionals address some of these challenges in the short-term. Much of it is achievable within 2016!

1. Quality of hire

Quality of hire is still measured broadly through retention. This measurement has little direct impact on the actual quality of hire: you can hire the best talent, bring them into your culture and lose them for any number of reasons; all too often none of them relating to quality of hire.

Build more metrics into this KPI: speed of career trajectory, promotion data, performance against business and role objectives, hiring manager’s (and their management’s) views, all of which encourage people to hire people who are as good as, or better than, themselves.

By all means measure those you exited from the business, but basing overall quality of hire metrics purely on retention, leaves a shortfall in understanding.

2. Balance internal and external talent

Since less than 25% of companies have a well-defined process for internal advancement, LinkedIn’s US report suggests companies focus more in internal hiring. Only 6% named internal promotions as their priority for 2016.

Retention and internal hiring programmes are intrinsically linked; a lack of focus on internal hires means an increased risk of leavers, causing a retention issue and thus fuelling the reactive cycle of hiring. A focus on good internal recruitment, as part of a wider recruitment programme that balances external and internal talent, means focus is truly on finding the right person for the role.

3. Understand where the industry is going

The report says, “To truly influence business decisions you need to understand where the industry is going”. To build best in class you need to understand best in class, and the best way to find this out is through research.

Identifying facts and figures about your target market or function for hiring can save significant amounts of time and money. Supplementing this with qualitative information from the marketplace gives you the edge in attracting and hiring. Gathering an understanding of what motivates people to leave, or to join, and their brand drivers, will help you make the right business decisions.

Best in class companies are taking a proactive, future focussed approach to their hiring. Many businesses continue to look internally at ‘what we need’ and then go to the external marketplace, when what they should be doing is looking externally and saying ‘what is out there and how do we engage with people?’


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