A Trio of Strategies Organisations Can Leverage to Attract Top Talent.

Most HR professionals say that it’s harder to recruit candidates now than it was a year ago. In fact, the two issues most likely to keep HR leaders up at night, according to a global survey commissioned by Korn Ferry , are quality of hire and competition for talent.

At the same time, the single most important factor driving talent to choose a company—more significant than money or even career progression—is corporate culture. Is the company inclusive? Does it focus on employees? What about the candidate experience during recruitment and onboarding?

“If candidates are gold and we know how hard it is to find really fantastic people for the jobs that you need, not only for today, but also for what your business needs tomorrow, why don’t we treat them like gold?” says Sue Campbell, managing director for Asia for Korn Ferry .

The impact of candidate experience cannot be understated. Within Asia Pacific, 38 per cent of job applicants say that if they have a bad experience whilst applying or interviewing for a job, they are “not at all likely” to remain a customer of that company. More than half say they would urge friends and family to boycott the company, and an equal portion (52 per cent) say they are unlikely to accept a job offer. Even if the candidate accepts a position, there is a strong correlation between negative onboarding and turnover.

“Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are wonderful, because they move things forward. We are able to find duplicate candidates, but ATSs have become compromised tools,” warns Korn Ferry Marketing and Communications Vice President Neil Griffiths. “ATSs were always meant to be the tool to attract candidates [and] for us to engage with candidates. Somewhere along the line, that connection was broken.”

Tech tools need to have a human face, Griffiths explains. Job descriptions need to market a company; they should be easy to read, not filled with technical jargon. Candidates need to be engaged; the vast majority of negative comments on the social job search platform Glassdoor are about companies that never contact a candidate or only send an automated rejection letter.

“Managers love head hunters; they hate in-house recruiters. Why? Because in-house recruiters talk about process and controls,” Griffiths explains. “The one gripe most recruiters have is that business leaders treat us as transactional recruiters. We don’t get the respect as a business partner.”

The best way to change this mindset is for recruiters to focus on candidate quality—not simply the speed at which they can fill a position. And the best way to identify quality candidates is to tap the knowledge of people already in the company. Encourage managers to share the business cards of people that they meet at conferences; allow them to provide feedback on candidates in the pipeline. Recruiters enable the process, but everyone is responsible for recruiting.

There are three actions that can help transform companies into more contemporary recruitment organisations:

  1. Employer Brand Strategies
  • Get the basics right. Focus on candidate interactions at a basic level to ensure that they are done correctly before moving on to employer branding.
  • Have consistent communication. Ensure that both recruiters and managers deliver consistent messages regarding employer branding when interacting with candidates.
  • Be authentic. Present a real image of the organisation throughout all the touch points of the talent acquisition process.
  1. Technology and the Candidate
  • Connect through video. Increase use of video, particularly for job descriptions and interviews.
  • Make scheduling easier. Leverage tech tools that automate scheduling with candidates.
  • Introduce e-onboarding. Ensure that all of the documentation and welcome interviews for new employees are online.
  1. Transforming Recruiters into Business Partners
  • Closely examine processes. Do a deep dive to determine which procedures are essential. Eliminate inward-looking processes if they are too time-consuming and do not add value.
  • Communicate differently with managers. If colleagues believe they already know everything, such as whom to hire and what recruiters do, change the perspective. Identify recruiters’ strengths and find ways to work together collectively.
  • Change how recruiters are assessed. Have an approach that makes recruiters think more like business partners— focusing on quality of hire—and less like transactional recruiters, who zero in on time to fill and cost to hire.
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About the contributor

Pip Eastman is the Managing Director for APAC Regional Solutions, RPO and Professional Search, Korn Ferry. She is responsible for the performance and growth of the APAC business; developing new clients, enhancing market presence and integrating RPO and Professional Search’s lines of business into existing clients. Pip has extensive experience in solution design. Her responsibilities included client development, contract and commercial negotiations, and the implementation, operational delivery, and continuous improvement of projects.

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