Cathy Hayward: Departing from tradition to secure the best talent

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Cathy Hayward from Magenta Associates discusses attracting talent from social media, flexibility in recruitment and using talent attraction methods that mirror your company culture.

Recruiting talent as an SME, when your to-do list for the week is growing by the day, and the mounting pressure of finding the “ideal” candidate is growing is no easy feat. The more traditional routes of recruitment are increasingly becoming outdated and are thus failing to attract the right talent. The standard ‘Please send a CV and cover letter to…’ doesn’t always make the cut in today’s increasingly digitised and competitive market. Recruiters and HRs must match the innovation and efforts of their candidates, and warmly welcome and embrace new forms of application, in order to keep finding the best talent out there.

Use recruitment methods that mirror your company culture

At Magenta, we pride ourselves on tackling recruitment with fresh and creative approaches. After all, we are a creative agency. Having a recruitment method in place which really reflects your brand values and company ethos helps to attract talent that will fit in with your organisation. Although hopeful recruits are more than welcome to apply for roles we advertise via CV and cover letter, we encourage otherwise and let them take the reins. One of our most recent recruits presented his research and portfolio of work by PowerPoint presentation. This was both unique and unexpected but engaged us in a way that the over-the-table interview wouldn’t. It also allowed him to showcase his digital and presentation skills in practice which is more effective than simply stating it as a skill on a CV. It’s all about allowing and encouraging candidates to be flexible and really show a bit of themselves.

Attracting talent through social media

The latest CIPD/Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning survey shows that 40 per cent of people choose social networking sites to attract potential talent. If we compare these findings with 2015 results, there is a clear increase in organisations believing both professional and social networking sites to be an effective tool for attracting candidates.

Social media has a vast reach and helps you to get your job vacancy out to a large number of people through the sharing of posts. We encourage all current employees to share our recruitment news on their own social platforms, whether that be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn – as they each have a network of contacts that might include a prize candidate.

That being said, be aware that as much as you use social media as a tool, potential candidates can similarly use social media to research you, as an employer. One of our most recent applicants applied for the role because they followed us on Twitter and really liked our posts showing the activities we get up to, and liked our culture. The right company profile on a social site is a powerful asset when attracting employees and shaping first impressions.

Be flexible in your approach

We understand that some candidates may not be able to travel to us for an interview. This is why we gladly accept telephone, Skype, and various other forms of interview in the initial stages of recruitment, as we would hate to miss out on finding the right person because they’re away when we’re interviewing or are currently living elsewhere! Software and technology has firmly placed its’ importance in the world of business, providing employees all over the world endless possibilities.

Skype has become a very crucial element in the world of recruitment now, so much so that it has recently launched a new interview-specific feature, within the software itself. Interviewing does take up a great deal of time and these kinds of innovations will not only allow employers to carry out remote interviews from the comfort of, well, anywhere, but also allow for specific tests and tasks to be completed during the process.

As the skills needed for job roles continue to evolve it is crucial that you widen your recruitment methods to source those who can adapt and progress in line with the changes. In some cases, employers are recruiting for entirely new roles, and thus need to source employees who are able to advance and grow in new ways. Traditional methods of recruitment aren’t always able to show these skills and as employers therefore need to be willing to try out new ways of finding the right fit.

“I’d like to see at least a third of undergraduates going down the degree apprenticeship route in the future,” concludes Lambert. “You are never going to replace the great value of going to a university, living away from home and the life skills that this engenders. But for young people who think the large amount of debt that university will bring is simply too much, degree apprenticeships will allow young people to get a degree that would otherwise be out of reach.”

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