As any HR professional will tell you, recruitment is a function at the core of every business – but it’s a function that is changing at an accelerating rate. The constant evolution of technology, changes in the market and the shifts in the talent supply chain are all altering the nature of the recruitment function. It’s vital that HR professionals find ways to adapt to this changing market, in order to ensure they are able to effectively source and retain future talent.

The recruitment context

In a recent assessment the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called the UK’s economic growth ‘strong’. With the main underlying economic vulnerabilities having been addressed, focus is starting to shift back towards the skills shortages – in particular the shortfalls that exist in key economic industries. And it’s this shifting focus that is returning pressure to the recruitment profession. A number of surveys, including one by the CIPD, show that industry professionals are encountering substantial difficulties trying to fill higher skilled roles, highlighting significant skills gaps in IT, manufacturing and healthcare. While in contrast, low skills jobs have the highest number of applicants, many of whom are overqualified for the position.

What is clear is that there is a mismatch of supply and demand as Peter Cheese, CEO of CIPD, outlined in the 2015/16 APSCo Yearbook. The UK jobs market, like that of other developed economies should resemble an egg – but is currently comparable to what is known as an egg timer economy, where there are a lot of higher and lower skilled jobs, but not enough in the middle. What can we do to address this supply and demand problem?

Strategic adaptations

Strategic workforce planning and sourcing are now critical capabilities for HR teams. Facilitating discussions with recruitment specialists can allow practitioners to establish how they can best address the needs of the business.

There are a number of strategic methods that can be used to fill roles; we can adapt the job description to the skills available on the current market, by deconstructing roles into lower skilled tasks and recruiting candidates for those specific tasks, or begin to look towards different markets, such as the contingent workforce which possesses incredibly niche skillsets. Strategic planning aims to fill roles and address skills shortages in new and innovative ways by reviewing how we look at recruitment.

HR teams also need to consider who they are recruiting and if they can adapt their recruitment process to better accommodate the diverse talent they are trying to attract. Embracing diversity is not only key because it opens up wider pools of talent, but also because it is a source of innovation, and helps companies better represent their target audience.

Increasingly HR is also looking at factors such as conduct and values, with some coming to assess candidates on behavioural factors over qualifications. Candidates who fit culturally within the company, and who are adaptive, collaborative and good at communicating are often more successful in the long term within a company.

What is successful recruitment?

For a long time success in recruitment has been measured by the number of positions filled. However HR should really be assessing how effective HR hiring strategies are by looking at how well a candidate performed in a role, how long they stayed with the company or how they contributed to the reinforcement of its values. And although the context of recruitment is shifting and conditions may seem challenging we can continue to recruit successfully by working collaboratively with the recruitment profession to build strong future-fit teams.

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