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Agile recruitment in the age of flexible working

Alistair Collier, regional director at Sanderson


With one in four UK professionals quitting their roles to find greater flexibility, the main driver for job-seekers has shifted from pay to working environment and work-life balance. At Sanderson, we are increasingly finding that candidates are not interested in even tentatively applying for roles with companies that are not offering flexible working conditions – it is now a ‘must-have’, rather than a ‘nice to have’.


Yet, many organisations still don’t consider how to demonstrate modern ways of working in the recruitment process itself. It is not uncommon for a company to have a fantastic work culture but find it a struggle to engage and recruit prospective employees. Recruiters have a key role to play in bridging this gap, aligning candidate experience with the employee-offer to attract the best talent.


Actions, as they say, speak louder than words. It’s not enough to say you’re a flexible company if it doesn’t translate to your recruitment process. This means going beyond dropping buzzwords into job descriptions and making sure that websites are up to date – it’s a question of reviewing current practices, for the benefit of clients, their teams and prospective employees alike.


Agility starts at home

Recruitment is not just an external function. We often find that internal stakeholders may be dispersed across the UK or even internationally and time spent physically working in the same place can be at a premium. Recruiters who appreciate this can adapt the process, making the best use of technology, so that a client’s time is not wasted.


For example, instead of requiring panel members to assemble in a central office to work through CVs, recruiters can develop a streamlined interview process that is flexible and able to be conducted remotely. We will often shortlist candidates for businesses, video them answering key questions that have been agreed with the client in advance and then forward the recordings to busy stakeholders to review on their tablet or laptop at their convenience. This can be instead of a first-round interview.


After this, we often conduct technical tests on behalf of our clients. Only once candidates have passed a benchmark competency test and a values proposition video interview would we suggest gathering key personnel and candidates together for a face-to-face interview. In this way, we can significantly streamline the process and make it much more agile and cost-efficient for time-poor leaders.


Adapting to candidate needs


Candidates are also busy people and interviewing for a new role can be a stressful process. If someone is jumping ship for a better work life, then demonstrating how you can adapt to their needs and work around their schedules is vital. How do they prefer to be contacted? When is the best time to speak? Is a stage one video interview going to increase applications from the target market?


Ensuring that the process for candidates is agile and efficient not only saves the recruiting business time and money, but crucially it can also enhance their reputation within their talent pool. If we can meet candidates on their own terms and deliver an experience that is fluid, positive and informed, then even if an individual doesn’t get appointed, they are likely to speak positively of the organisation they have applied to. We find that people talk and getting a reputation for treating candidates well can be the making of a business within a competitive market.  


By implementing an agile recruitment process, we can demonstrate that we understand the pressure modern workers are under and can lift much of the burden of recruitment from internal stakeholders. A partnership is the goal – understanding a company’s values, communicating them effectively to the talent pool and then helping them hire and retain better people.


Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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