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WCN panel argues employer brand is more important than big salaries

Carl du Plessis, group head of resourcing at Royal Mail, explained, “Having the correct brand message is important, when it comes to recruitment it’s better to make sure it stands out rather than throwing money at the problem.” Du Plessis also stated that social media plays an important part in attracting scarce talent but it has to be done correctly. “We engaged with the market slowly at first, allowing potential candidates to interact with us, before advertising that there were job roles available. It will ensure you attract the right applicants, rather than ones after the big salaries.”

The WCN panel also included Beth Simkin-Park, Lead HR Business Partner at Simplyhealth, Sergio Sgambellone, Head of Customer & Business Services at Hampshire County Council and was chaired by Charles Hipps, CEO of WCN, the leading UK and global e-Recruitment software provider.

The & lsquo;Future of Recruitment’ panel agreed that when it comes to attracting scarce talent any organisation must work out why people would want to work for them. What do they offer that rivals perhaps do not? Keeping the organisation’s message the same the whole way through the process was also seen as a key factor.  

Simkin-Park added that again salary needn’t be the crucial factor: “Offer them something different – a day off for moving house or first day of school. That little difference could be all that is needed.” However, would-be employers must be consistent and genuine in their approach. Simkin-Park added: “Meeting candidate expectations is vital. It has become a prevalent trend for a candidate to vote with their feet, so one bad experience will spread through networks and over relevant social media channels.”

The interactive session then addressed the issue of driving cost reductions. The panel explored the idea that in order to effectively reduce costs it is important to look back at the whole process and the business as a whole. Du Plessis remarked: “We look into the company as a whole and challenge the whole picture. It is essential to make sure each sector is working as effectively as possible, otherwise changes are needed.”

Du Plessis alluded that smarter automation has helped them reduce time-sinking tasks, something talent acquisition teams struggle with on a daily basis, and candidates can now apply and get an interview within 35 minutes. “If used correctly, the right technology in the right areas of your process can help you recruit more effectively and free up time for more important tasks, creating a greater return on investment,” remarked Du Plessis.

Simkin-Park agreed: “In order to drive costs down, we need to control and manage the situation correctly. That means adding value to the business and building towards the future.”  Sgambellone added: “2015 is in the bank, 2020 is the challenge right now.”

Enhancing re-deployment was another topic preoccupying the audience. The panel argued that recruitment is not simply about finding someone for the advertised role, but looking at whether they are going to be suitable for the role above that one. When thought of in that way, an internal person may often be the perfect candidate. The panel was in agreement that companies not only need a & lsquo;grow your own’ culture but internal talent must be encouraged to apply for roles.  

Simkin-Park continued: “It is imperative to build for the future. To do this we need to ask - do we have talent? Can we make the opportunity attractive and keep people engaged? We need those in senior positions to be open to sponsoring the next generation of talent, actively encouraging an open culture.”

Sgambellone concurred: “More open conversations are needed in order to identify future talent. It is essential that those in a senior position are able to understand where the talent is and recognise the skills as early as possible.”

WCN’s Charles Hipps, explained how technology can help with many of the issues raised by the panel: “When it comes to re-deployment, e-Recruitment systems allow you to see if internal staff have looked at advertised roles. Equally, when assessing talent, you often know more about someone by looking at their activity online, social media and through proactive headhunting than by meeting them in person.” Charles continued to discuss the importance of early engagement and the build up of a talent bank database.


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