Tuesday 22 October 2013

Recruiting for Hard-to-Fill positions

Hard to fill.jpg

We all have those few particular roles which, for various reasons, we struggle to fill. When I was an HR Director, I always found it difficult to find senior business process specialists for large audit teams. Why? Talent was scarce and the skills were, excuse the redundancy, specialised. It’s common for recruiters to experience these challenges. If you have found yourself in a similar situation, here are a few questions you may want to consider in order to improve your opportunity to recruit for these roles:


1. Are they really hard-to-fill?

Start by evaluating your competition. Is your organisation exclusively having difficulty filling these positions or are your competitors struggling too? There may be underlying barriers preventing you from reaching and engaging ideal candidates. For example, how accurately are you positioning roles and how aggressively are you promoting opportunities? Are you simply defining your roles too tightly or are you limiting your recruitment sources?


2. Do you have a compelling proposition for these people?

If the positions are truly difficult to fill, then you probably do need to change your recruitment strategy. This may include evaluating compelling roles and company culture prior to putting more effort into actual recruitment efforts. For example, when I was sourcing those business process specialists, I found the most common reason why they left was because the existing auditors rejected them. They weren’t treated well. Perhaps if we had improved the current company culture, those hard-to-fill vacancies would have stayed inhabited.


3. Are you hiring key influencers?

Once you have identified a compelling proposition, you are ready to start recruiting. Try to align your recruitment strategies to not only meet key needs for today but to also promote future growth. For example, recruit candidates who not only meet the vacancy description, but who could also attract future candidates for that specific position. This is where key influencers come into play. Use their network and talent pipeline to promote your organisiation as “the new hot place to work”.


4. What’s your workforce planning process like?

Take the time to evaluate the role workforce planning or non-planning has played in bringing you to the situation you are in today. I’m not suggesting that WFP can always solve hard-to-fill recruiting challenges, but very often it can. Think further ahead, considering whether the hard-to-fill roles you have today are likely to be the same ones you’ll be struggling with 10 years on, or whether additional roles will join them. Be proactive and start taking action on these now to prevent you or your successors from experiencing the same roadblocks in the future.


5. Is your recruiting process sound?

Identify any cracks in your recruitment strategy that might hinder performance. Are your processes up-to-date? What about the capabilities of your recruiters? Are you using appropriate technology? An effective e-Recruitment system is not going to produce hard-to-find candidates out of thin air, but it can certainly help you identify them, and manage their interactions with your organisation in a more professional way.


This post is sponsored by iCIMS.

iCIMS is the leading provider of talent acquisition software for growing businesses. Through the implementation of easy-to-use, web-based solutions, the iCIMS Talent Platform helps organisations manage everything from sourcing, to recruitment, to induction all within one streamlined application.

Check out a free walk-through of the iCIMS system or make contact at +44 (0) 118 9000 706 or europeansales@icims.com.


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Tuesday 15 October 2013

Teneo's #talent7th - integrating acquisition and development


I've been at Teneo's 7th Talent Management seminar ( #talent7th ) yesterday and today.

We've had a good tour through talent acquisition and development, and am now onto a more integrated perspective reviewing the balance of global and local strategies, and focusing on the input from workforce planning.

The most interesting session for me also focused on integration within the talent acquisition slot of the agenda - and was delivered by Chris Taylor at SAB Miller.

Approaching the need for integration from a talent acquisition perspective, Chris suggests recruiters need to move from a sales force mentality:

  • Focused on short-term, KPI driven hiring
  • Internal service to HR managers
  • Process or mechanistic
  • Not involved in wider HR team goals
  • The 'pick up' and 'put down' approach.


The future is being a talent partner - this doesn't have to apply to everyone but top 10% of roles / recruiters.

  • Greater focus on key, business critical roles
  • Partner directly with senior stakeholders and customers
  • Has an authoritative voice on employment brand, engagement and talent management
  • Shares and delivers wider HR projects
  • Looks to longer term event horizon - so important things don't get left because 'we're all too busy'.


The three key enablers for this change are:

-   Hiring date into performance review - eg it may take 20 to 20 conversations to convince people to relocate to Switzerland.   But as soon as they are selected all that data goes out of the door.  We also need to think about the use of the data eg he would prefer rather than being measured on time into job, focusing on performance after first year.

-  Career path into development programme - eg they have 16 roles you can do in procurement mapped out on a career path.  But after recruitment this is not very integrated into talent management - they had some deep conversations about likely succession, potential routes etc.  So that they can offer more input to candidate, or at least being seen as a sort of independent adviser.

- Talent pipeline into succession plan - list 3 or 4 best people in the industry.  Regular contact is difficult - top 40 positions - 3 names for each roles = 2/3 internal and 1/3 external - identified in competitors or elsewhere.  If not sharing succession plan, why not?  We need to feed back on who got promoted / progressed so talent acquisition know whether they recruited the right people.


I also thought it was interesting that only 3% of web traffic on the SAB Miller main site goes to their career page - so they need employer brand to be reinforced, or even led, though other areas of talent and business management.


Also see: http://strategic-hcm.blogspot.be/2011/10/role-of-recruitment-in-integrated.html


  • Consulting - Research - Speaking - Training - Writing
  • Strategy - Talent - Engagement - Change and OD
  • Contact me to create more value for your business
  • jon [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


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Monday 7 October 2013

The perfect storm of HR technology

CWE_011013_252.png  I've had this article published in Computer Weekly.  It's meant for CIOs but if you're a CHRO you may still find it interesting.  It builds on Thomas Otter's focus on the HR nexus (I've relabelled it the perfect storm) at HR Tech Europe last year, in the run up to this year's conference that I'll be chairing again.

It's always good getting published but I'm particularly pleased with getting into CW finally - about 20 years after I gave up my regular subscription, leaving the world of IT for change management and then HR!

Good to see the two world getting closer finally!


  • Consulting - Research - Speaking - Training - Writing
  • Strategy - Talent - Engagement - Change and OD
  • Contact me to create more value for your business
  • jon [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


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