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Opinion: ‘HR needs to start thinking like a recruitment consultant’


“HR needs to start thinking like a recruitment consultant.” These are the words from Bill Shipton, Chairman of the Association of Online Recruiters and Commercial Director for Workthing.

Now is the time to start aiming for e-recruitment Nirvana – cost-effective and targeted recruitment coupled with retention.

Almost half of employers (CIPD Spring 2004 Quarterly HR Trends and Indicators) expect to encounter recruitment difficulties and the first step in overcoming these is recognising the importance in the management of candidate relations.

Ideally, HR needs to dedicate resource to creating their own talent pool and then making it work. For optimum success, investment in a talent pool needs to be accompanied by a shift in thinking. To extract maximum value out of a talent pool, HR needs to start thinking like a recruitment consultant. Treating a database of candidates as a valuable product means that you’re more likely to do the right things to realise its value.

Electronic dialogues with candidates may have to be maintained over several months before an ideal match between person and vacancy occurs. But, keeping candidates ‘warm’ pays other important dividends. A recruitment freeze that the major airlines suffered in the wake of September 11, for example, can be lifted instantly at the touch of a button. Giving recruitment an instant green light can deliver huge savings in premium adverts and branding campaigns.

HR owning communication is key. Once HR assemble a database of candidates and treat it as a marketing tool, other cross-marketing opportunities arise. A retailer who alerts loyal customers to special offers can treat the communication as a way of reaching potential recruits too. Customer databases often contain useful profile information such as age, location and interests, all useful information in building up a profile of candidates.

At present, searching a pool of registered candidates and finding a match between person and position is a matter of serendipity. Using the talent pool to communicate with candidates promises better value and results long term. The reason that talent pools have disappointed in the past is because they require HR departments to be proactive in the management of interested candidates.

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