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A competitive approach to hiring: Becoming a trusted advisor

Robert O’Callaghan, managing director of Rethink Group


The age-old ‘bums-on-seats’ style of recruitment is no longer sustainable. Disagree with me if you will, but client demands have evolved. Businesses no longer want to fully outsource the identification of employees – their biggest asset – to a company that doesn’t really ‘get’ them.


But herein lies the solution. Clients want an employment provider that understands their business, knows their culture and is truly embedded in what they do. As a recruitment firm that has grown into a talent management specialist, I fully recognise that this is, in essence, what many in the hiring industry have done for years. But the perception from the end user is that an agency simply aligns a CV against a job spec. It’s for this reason that the future of recruitment is in a greater advisory role.


In order to get businesses on board again and ensure they recognise the value of the work we do, we need to become a valued partner. But how can this be achieved?


Beyond the hiring remit


In the first instance, it’s important to work with a client on the development of wider talent management strategies. We all know that we can place the best candidate in a company, but with all the good will in the world this placement will not work in the long-run if the career development opportunities, for example, are not in place. And what about existing talent? I’m sure many of you have been in the situation whereby a client comes to the conclusion that they have the skills they need elsewhere in the business and in actual fact they don’t need the candidate you put forward.


By working collaboratively with a business to identify its real people requirements it’s possible to increase the success rate of placements and better ensure a positive candidate experience.


More than just skills


Added to this, a common challenge in embedding new staff is a mis-match of cultures. There are two arguments to consider here. On the one-hand, many clients will say that the hiring agency doesn’t understand their corporate culture, while on the other agencies will say that the company has a blurred perception of employees’ real values. The solution here is for the two sides to work together – as we do with our clients at Rethink Group – to assess what visions and values existing staff have. In doing this, both parties will be able to build a clearer idea as to who will fit with the true company culture, subsequently improve hiring success rates and, in the longer-term, employee engagement.




Finally, it’s important that hiring professionals work closely with clients to pipeline talent. The pace of change at the moment is exponential and simply addressing immediate hiring needs can put a business on the back-burner in terms of its competitive advantage. If a company is to plan for growth, it essentially needs a pool of individuals who are ready to jump into the business as and when they are required. And as we’re seeing more candidates place an emphasis on a company’s EVP over available job titles, for example, pipelining and engaging with talent pools is now more critical than ever. For those in the hiring arena, building this pool of skills is something we do regularly, but we now need to shift from pipelining based on the job description or skills we specialise in, and move to building a pool of talent for a specific brand.


What the distant future holds for recruitment is perhaps up in the air, but for now, a partnership approach to talent management is, in my opinion, the way forward.


How do you think recruitment firms could develop themselves into trusted suppliers? Let us know your thoughts.


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