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Becoming an employer of choice

For an employer, ensuring that quality candidates are interested in working for their organisation is not just the responsibility of their marketing and advertising departments, but a responsibility for all those associated with the company to promote them in the best way possible, i.e. current employees, recruitment agencies, suppliers and customers of the business.

Engendering a positive image of the organisation to potential future employees.

Other important considerations include good working conditions/environment, a flexible approach, competitive remuneration and a benefits package considerate towards the individual needs of the employees who work there, as well as those the organisation seeks to attract.

A happy and productive workforce who genuinely love their work, are the best advocates for an organisation. They make all the difference in promoting their employer to peers and contacts – likely sources of recruits. After all, if the current workforce is efficient, effective and still employed by the organisation, then their associates are likely to be of a similar nature.

With these elements in mind, once a recruitment exercise is undertaken, the next step is to ensure the vacancy role is fulfilled with the best available option. This means securing a candidate who matches the organisational culture, has the required technical skills and the right attitude towards the job.

Providing thorough and specific, yet concise, information to the relevant recruitment channels is essential. This can include a careers section on the company website, meetings and discussions with recruitment consultants, a well thought out, innovative and eye catching advertisement directed to the most relevant media channels (something recruitment consultants are able to advise upon and assist with), and a quality and customer-focused approach to all applicants. Having a defined recruitment process, and clearly communicating how this works, gives confidence to applicants that they will be well treated by the employer if they are successful in securing the position on offer.

Testing is always a delicate subject. However, ensuring that the tests used are practical, relevant to the position, and clearly measured via benchmarking with current employees, ensures the process is worthwhile. Suitable applicants will generally accept, and often welcome this as it shows the organisation has specific standards, and is keen to promote quality and fairness throughout the business – always attractive to applicants.

Clear communications and agreed response times are of paramount importance, nothing is more certain to put off a potential employee than a significant delay response to application, interviews and then decisions on whom the successful applicant is. Generally applicants of the highest quality will be considering a number of opportunities. Keeping their interest, being pleasant and honest throughout the process, and keeping in regular contact with the consultant and/or applicants involved ensures that the offer will be accepted. This commences employment in the for a successful long-term working relationship. It cements commitment in the long term, ensuring retention and satisfaction all round.

Once an employee commences, having a thorough induction process and a mentor from within the business. can make the transition period run more smoothly. This is always a difficult time, and a good recruitment consultant will always remain in contact throughout this period, speaking to both employer and new employee regularly. However, this doesn’t take the onus from the direct employer, and whether it is HR or the line manager who ensures guidance and a forum for questions is provided, it is wise to provide this for at least the first 3, and ideally 6, months of employment as a minimum. By which point hopefully the new employee will be settled enough to address any questions or concerns themselves.

With specific regard to PA and Secretarial recruitment, personality and culture fit are the most challenging areas to get just right. Clearly a CV alone cannot provide that information. When initially receiving applications for this type of position skills matching is the main area of consideration. Once shortlisting on this basis has taken place and moving on to the interview stage, it is essential that the candidate be introduced to the person/people they will be working with to ensure a good rapport and match.

An expert recruiter can add value to this process and therefore ensure delivery of the ideal candidate for the role. It is extremely useful for the appointed recruiter to meet with the relevant Director/Manager/Team. This enables the consultant to ensure “best-fit” as they will also have met the candidate. Significantly reducing the time and effort spent on the process – always a key consideration when dealing with the busy diaries of senior management/executives.