Recruitment has become increasingly complex over the last few years. Changing attitudes towards work-life balance and a growing need for better perks and support post-pandemic have upped the stakes for employers, making it harder to secure top talent.
Financial recruitment has been particularly challenging, with professions like accounting struggling to cope with fierce competition and skills shortages. Last year, 61% of employers recruited temporary workers to fill in the gaps — and 51% sought professional help from accountancy, office support and business support recruitment agencies.
Unsurprisingly, this new recruitment landscape has triggered the need for a different approach to recruitment strategies.
Traditional factors like qualifications and previous employment will always play an integral role in the hiring process — especially in sectors such as accountancy and finance. However, research shows the correlation between pre-hire experience and performance is loose. Instead, performance is influenced most significantly by cognitive ability and personality traits.
So, is it time to trade conventional hiring methods for a more holistic approach? With our tips, you can access a wider talent pool and confidently pick out the best candidate in a sea of similar applicants.
Plenty of valuable skills can be taught, so looking for potential rather than current capabilities is an excellent way to broaden your search for the right candidates.
When advertising new vacancies, focus only on the skills that are essential to the job to prevent you from driving away talented but less experienced applicants.
As for interviews, asking a range of behaviour-based questions like ‘how do you work under pressure?’ can go a long way in helping you uncover potential. You should also consider alternative interview processes, assessing applicant performance on relevant tasks.
Focus on professional development paths
You cannot upskill someone who does not want to learn, so making sure applicants are determined to rise to the challenge is key when broadening your recruitment strategy.
To deduce whether a candidate has the motivation and intention to grow within your company, look for evidence of aspiration in their previous roles (even if those roles are not directly related to the position you are recruiting for). For instance, did they quickly move up the ranks or sign up for additional responsibilities outside their job title?
Once onboarded, offer successful candidates a clear professional development path — outlining what goals you would like them to achieve and how you intend to help them do so. Such an approach will prove your commitment to their career prospects and help you retain aspirational employees.
Look for the right cultural fit
Taking a holistic approach to your recruitment strategy also means ensuring someone is a cultural fit rather than simply the right candidate on paper.
You can get a feel for like-minded applicants by getting multiple team members on board during the interview process, as well as by asking personality questions and encouraging casual conversation. If everyone gets on, you could be onto a winner.
Candidates that fit seamlessly with your company culture will be more motivated to excel — willingly supporting co-workers and picking up valuable skills along the way through collaboration. Plus, it is much easier to retain an employee who is comfortable in their team.
One of the best ways to broaden your recruitment strategy and build a successful team is to attract more diverse talent.
There are plenty of ways to diversify your applicant pool, but it should all start with your company and the image you present online. Ensure everyone knows your core ethics and values (and how they translate into a career with you) through a positive brand and active social media presence.
Explicitly encouraging applicants from minority groups in your job listings is another way to diversify your applicants. When doing this, be sure to demonstrate how you plan to create an inclusive workspace for such candidates with initiatives like diversity, equality and inclusion training.
Pay attention to key performance indicators
Specific performance indicators are another thing to look for when broadening your recruitment strategy, as they can paint a much better picture of candidates than experience or qualifications alone.
Much of what you need to know about an applicant’s performance can be found in their CV. For example, if they significantly surpassed output expectations or made a noticeably positive impact on operations across their team (or company) in a previous role.
You can also get an idea about how a candidate will perform by paying close attention to their communication from application to interview. If they respond to emails promptly and answer questions enthusiastically, they will likely outshine someone with lots of experience but no passion.
If you need assistance bringing your hiring strategy up to speed, contact us at 01252 718777 or email Farnham@howett-thorpe.co.uk. We are the go-to recruitment agency for accountancy, office support and business support requirements — helping our clients secure and retain top talent.