Rather than providing guidance on how to pull a CV together and reminding everyone that a firm handshake and eye contact are always a good start to any interview, I thought I would look at an issue that has been darkening PR’s doorstep across the UK for as many years as I can remember.
Allow me to set the scene. On my way into the office this morning, I picked up a newspaper and was greeted by a headline that stated there are more unfilled graduate roles now than at any time since 2008. Twenty minutes later, sitting at my desk, my second latte in hand, an article landed in my inbox stating a recent survey had found that 34 per cent of UK businesses are affected by a talent shortage and are struggling with recruitment and retention of staff.
We are undoubtedly in a candidate-led market, and there is not enough good talent to go round. So let’s step off our soapboxes for a moment and look at what firms can do to win one of the trickiest pitches of all: winning new talent.
Have a brainstorm Do you know what you really want and why – and what criteria are you recruiting against? In my experience, there is a lot of: "We have lost an X and therefore need to replace them with an X." Would someone with a slightly different background actually enrich and add value to your team rather than dilute it?
Develop your creds How likely is it that a prospective candidate will know of you and your work? Perhaps it is time to put yourself in your clients’ shoes and do a little more to raise your profile to a candidate audience. Develop some recruitment creds that you can give to candidates to tell them a little bit more about what you do and who you do it for. And – more importantly – explain your culture: what your company is like to work for and why they should join your team over someone else’s. Do you need to do more in terms of entering awards, networking at talent events and generally being a little more ‘out there’?
Who is your target audience? We are in a market where talent is still viewed in silos. For a b2b tech role you must have b2b tech experience. By always doing this we miss some great people and make a small talent pool even smaller. It will also make careers less rounded and talent easily lost. How about viewing the industry as a whole, not by channel or institution, and making your options just that little bit wider?
The pitch You would expect a candidate to prepare for an interview and to have done their research, so show them the same courtesy. In this market, you both need to sell your wares. They will have other options – so if you want them you will have to go all out to get them. Now might be a good time to produce those creds you made earlier…
And what of the pitch team? We sometimes hear that the dream team were wheeled out for the pitch. Adopt the same process. When it comes to hiring, having a top-notch recruitment team that can bring your business to life may be your secret weapon. Furthermore, it means consistency can be maintained and notes can be shared from stage to stage, which will make the most of face time and help you avoid expensive mistakes.
The above formula isn’t foolproof but it’s a pretty good place to start. When you spend the majority of your day convincing clients that you’ve got a stellar team, it’s a good idea to do all that you can to ensure you actually have one.