Talent acquisition through better engagement

With record levels of employment in the UK, the job market is without doubt candidate driven. Whilst the huge shortfall of drivers in the UK logistics industry is well documented, this talent deficit is prevalent throughout operational management structures, and beyond.
As the peak/returns period is now over, it’s typically the busiest time of year for recruitment in logistics as organisations strive for competitive advantage by increasing capability.
It’s commonplace for the best candidates in the market to be considering multiple roles but how do they differentiate between these rival opportunities? Remuneration is rarely the deciding factor, finding a conducive business culture with genuine progression opportunity is typically a higher priority. But how do candidates gain sufficient understanding of an organisation’s culture before making a decision? 
The only exposure most candidates have to an organisation prior to joining is gained during the recruitment process; logically then, this process should promote the organisation in the best possible light? With the time sensitive nature of our industry and the demands on senior management diaries, providing candidates with the attention they need to feel fully engaged can be challenging. A lack of engagement can significantly impact an organisation’s ability to attract candidates ahead of their competitors and by not investing sufficient time into the recruitment process organisations are often leaving themselves open to rival offers, counter-offers, and offers being flatly rejected. There are some basics that are often overlooked which can make a real difference. 

Candidate sourcing

Identifying the relevant talent in a buoyant market is in itself a challenge; in January and February of this year we received 7,000 applications for logistics roles of which, 22% had logistics sector experience, however only 6% had relevant experience for the role advertised. Once we entered into dialogue with these candidates just over 1% of original applicants actually met our client’s criteria and were shortlisted for the role. This illustrates just how much funnelling is required to identify the best talent from the active candidate population alone. Losing such hard found candidates from your recruitment process to other employers or counter-offers through poor engagement, presents a real risk to your business. The time investment required to generate another shortlist rises exponentially as its likely you have already exhausted the market for the best rather than available candidates. 

Job brief

The quality of the initial brief is key to attracting interest and differentiating your business. Often a job description is not sufficiently informative to differentiate an opportunity and in the current market candidates expect to gain a comprehensive understanding of the company performance, values and culture. The reason for the vacancy is always something that requires a full explanation along with a real insight into the challenges of the role. Investing time with candidates at this point in the process makes a huge difference as it allows them to begin their due diligence by asking questions. Talking candidates through the management structure also gives them an opportunity to fully assess how realistic career progression is within the organisation. This is also the right time to start talking about salary expectations and the package on offer.

Interview process

Tardy interview processes can send the wrong message to candidates about your business and provide competitors with a window of opportunity. A defined interview process can significantly increase candidate buy-in and positions your business as focused and competitive. Candidates will feel the business is committed to making an appointment rather than simply gauging what the market has to offer. Communicating timescales at the outset, offering flexibility around interview slots and reacting to rival opportunities demonstrates commitment towards a candidate; this gives a good indication to how they might be treated as an employee. Allowing enough time during the interview stages to provide visibility of the working environment and meeting members of the team can really differentiate your business, therefore giving the candidates confidence. Interview feedback, whether positive or negative, also speaks volumes about your organisation. This assures candidates their time investment has been worthwhile and enhances a positive experience regardless of the outcome. 

Offer management

Offer management is a pivotal point in the process; the manner in which this is handled really defines how your business conducts itself. Regular and consistent dialogue regarding remuneration throughout the process helps avoid contention. In such a competitive market counter-offers and rival-offers are a very real threat and if candidates don’t feel 100% engaged, you risk losing out. Most candidates are motivated to leave a business due to its culture, so differentiating your business throughout the recruitment process sends the right message at the right time. Communicating verbal and written offers swiftly and accurately, minimises doubt. Delays due to final sign off at this point in the process can be very damaging. 

Onboarding

Offer acceptance is often seen as the end of the recruitment process but it’s not unusual for candidates to be lost to counter-offers or rival opportunities beyond this point. Communication following offer acceptance has never been more important as it assures candidates they’ve made the right decision to join your business and will help fend off counter-offer attempts during their notice period. Indeed even once candidates have joined a business a poor induction can present other opportunities as more alluring.

Summary

Whilst extremely time consuming, comprehensive candidate engagement has never been more critical from the point of identifying individuals through to completion of an induction period. The recruitment process itself provides candidates with more insight into an organisation’s culture than you might think and it really can impact business growth. 
Chris Madine
T: +44 121 230 9446