For our latest HoW Webinar, we were joined by Anna Milbank – Partnership Director at The FIRM – a membership organisation that supports in-house recruiters across the industry with inspirational events, valuable resources, and strategic tools.
We’ve written up just a snippet of the fascinating discussion we had with her! To get the full insight, watch the video below.
What struggles have you noticed in talent acquisition & recruitment?
The FIRM run an annual membership survey to collate data across numerous sectors. Our 2021 survey is currently live – and you can access it here – but in the past year, we’ve seen the two biggest hiring priorities being:
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Over 50% of our answers said that ED&I was a priority, and a whopping 80% are working on initiatives to tackle these! Unconscious bias is still hitting us – even via Zoom – and speaking of remote hiring, we’re seeing two distinct schools of thought. The first is that candidates believe they feel more comfortable during the interview stage because they’re in their own environment. The second concerns those candidates who struggle, believing they can’t create a substantial rapport via video interviewing.
How do we strengthen our ED&I strategies?
Mixed gender panels are a great start. We’re noting industry colleagues conscientiously applying these across the board to ensure transparency and security. Manager toolkits are being issued out on diversity, and significant, new areas to be aware of in the recruitment funnel. If you’re using an ATS – make sure it can anonymise CVs for blind hiring. 54% of companies don’t appear to be doing this so it will help you stand apart!
Unconscious bias training is still so important
We’re seeing more organisations double down on this to ensure hiring managers and recruitment teams are armed with the tools they need to combat unconscious bias, and it’s inspiring to see.
Social mobility apprenticeship programmes are being embraced across the board as well. The FIRM’s membership seems to be shifting away from steep barriers to entry for certain roles, and offering opportunities to candidates to get their foot in the door early on!
How do we create an effective candidate attraction strategy?
Candidate attraction is a real struggle now. We need to think about how we bring new talent in, and how we assess transferrable skills. According to our members, job boards aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution like they once were.
In that survey we mentioned before, 27% of people felt their EVP doesn’t reflect their current organisation, and 29% don’t have an EVP in place! It’s the hot topic of recruitment right now, but creating, assessing, and communicating a clear employee value proposition will do wonders for how you attract a candidate.
Lately, we ran a Career Drivers Survey – and what we’re learning is that money is not always the main motivator. People place a lot more emphasis on the culture, what it seeks to achieve outside of the business itself in the form of social initiatives, so communicating that continues to be key!
Not only this, but there’s a huge focus on succession planning this year due to the external talent shortages we’re seeing. Colleagues are being promoted in-house. We undertook a study 2-3 years ago which showed that the average ratio of external hires to internal hires was 70% external to 30% internal. The trends we’re seeing indicate this has shifted throughout COVID.
Barriers-to-entry are being shaken up too. We’re hearing a lot about strategies like WhatsApp Apply to simplify the process for candidates, which is a creative use of a new tool!
The candidate experience is more important than ever
There’s a lot being asked of TA and recruitment – and the ability to say no is very difficult for a lot of us in-house recruiters! Don’t be afraid of saying no as more requests come in. There are priorities for us to focus on, candidate attraction being number 1.
Something really interesting we noticed was that the second most popular measure of success after time-to-hire was the candidate experience. A lot of companies are beginning to interrogate their onboarding strategies. When does your onboarding actually end? After a first day? Signing the contract? After the induction week?
In doing so, we’re seeing organisations understand that you need two separate plans. One for those who are working from home, and one for those who aren’t. Regardless, the principles of engagement remain the same – authenticity is absolutely key to differentiating yourself from your competitors.
We can achieve this through the personal touches, which are still super important. Pick up the phone rather than just e-mail. Engage them in new ways, like a line manager sending a “hello” video via WhatsApp or LinkedIn. We’ve even seen some of our partners host welcome drinks for new starts!
GHS: Something we’ve noticed when we talk about the candidate experience are people missing the basics. Communicating what the process looks like to an applicant is so important and not enough companies do it. At the end of the day, behind a CV is a person, and it’s a huge step for them to apply for your vacancy – something as simple as not hearing back from a company can spoil their experience if they decide to re-apply in the future.
How do you measure success with the candidate experience?
Some of the more successful candidate experiences we see keep the conversational lines open the whole time, but if you’re looking to formalise your process, candidate surveys are as valuable as ever. They don’t need to be too complicated either; 2 or 3 questions could be enough. “Out of 1-10, what would you give the experience? Give us a reason for this score,” and so on.
Many organisations are asking colleagues to apply for their own roles. Take them back to why they applied in the first place, but without the anxiety of hunting for a new job. The feedback they can give you with clear vision will tell you a lot. If you’re reluctant to use this strategy, don’t be afraid to use mystery shoppers!