Here’s an excerpt from our Procurement Quarterly Market Update for the second quarter of 2015.
The second quarter of the year brought a UK general election and further concern about the economic stability of the Eurozone. At Edbury Daley, we saw a drop in the number of new procurement vacancies coming to the market prior to the election. With opinion polls predicting a hung parliament and political commentators speculating on which parties would be capable of striking a marriage of convenience to create a majority, uncertainty was rife in the business world.
For many businesses that uncertainty manifested itself in delayed hiring decisions with positions pulled or postponed. The unexpected Conservative majority provided a considerable boost to business confidence but also introduced the prospect of a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. For those businesses reliant on trade across EU member states a new uncertainty was created by the Conservative manifesto.
The wider economic landscape had a filtering effect on those business looking to hire. Those truly committed to expansion still went ahead and searched the market for the procurement people they needed. The more tentative recruiters drew back and waited. The impact at Edbury Daley was a surge in conversion from job instruction to placement.
Those businesses which still hired enjoyed the benefit of a window of opportunity whereby the strongest candidates briefly had slightly fewer potential career moves to choose from. Coupled with our advice on salary and talent attraction they were able to strengthen their procurement team during Q2.
The more tentative recruiters made little progress with sluggish recruitment processes and weak financial offers to the strongest candidates leading to offer rejection. The candidate market proved too competitive for those businesses unable to adapt to changing conditions and many still have unfilled vacancies that are months old. Specifically, these business recruitment processes’ were too cumbersome with excessive timescales and too many interview stages which results in a poor candidate experience. Several also suffered from wider company issues such as hiring freezes and changing corporate goals.
To address this issue directly, Edbury Daley conducted a survey amongst one hundred procurement professionals gauging their response to various components to a typical corporate recruitment process. Using the results as a basis for best practice, we have advised a number of clients who have been agile enough to implement a number of changes to improve their time to hire. You can see the results here. Procurement leaders who had endured multiple offers and rejections over the past six months are now getting the people they need in to the team.
The overall picture remains that the very best performers in procurement are hard to attract away from their existing employers. Post recession, businesses are more willing to provide basic salary increases and bonus payments to their best people. In addition, we are witnessing an increase in the counter offer on resignation. This last ditch attempt by the current employer is often too late to prevent the valued member of the team leaving but is a clear indication of the perceived difficulty of recruiting a high quality replacement. This trend is seen in the wider jobs market:
“our own survey indicates that three-quarters of organisations have struggled with recruitment challenges in the last year, particularly when filling skilled or niche roles” Mark Beatson, Chief Economist at the CIPD
If you would like to receive a copy of the full report please contact Simon Edbury via firstname.lastname@example.org
At Edbury Daley we are instigating some timely new research on the choice of recruitment and selection methods and the impact of those choices on the success rate of a getting quality recruits in to a hiring business.
As the global economy recovers many companies are pursuing significant growth plans. Often, the key constraining factor is the ability to hire and retain the skills and expertise needed. Employer Branding and Talent Communities are becoming the new parlance of Human Resource Management as bigger corporations embrace the advent of social media to gain an advantage in finding the people they need. This is covered in some detail in a very interesting recent study by Deloitte.
The creation of talent pipelines and new employee engagement techniques are pushing the boundaries of traditional recruitment practice but their success is reliant on the conversion of the initial engagement in to a hire. In other words, they only bring candidates to the start line of the selection process. How a company interacts from this point onwards determines whether the candidate ever crosses the finish line and joins the hiring company. Our survey is designed to investigate this second stage of recruitment process.
Candidate facing, the questions have been written to test attitudes and experience towards the mechanics of a typical corporate recruitment process. With companies investing heavily in cutting edge talent attraction strategies, this survey is about what happens next; how candidates respond to companies’ selection procedures.
To complete the survey simply think only of your experiences and responses as a candidate. There are just twelve carefully designed multiple choice questions.
The data gathered will be used to formulate a robust framework for a recruitment process which all corporate organisations can use as a benchmark for best practice. As a participant you will automatically have the chance to win one of three free career consultations with Peter Brophy, a qualified HR professional and one of our Directors.
The survey features twelve multiple choice questions and will only take a short time to complete. The questions are here:
How Do Recruitment Processes Impact On The Battle For Procurement Talent?
If you are a hiring manager you can request a copy of our analysis by e mailing Andrew Daley at email@example.com
If you would like to discuss any aspect of recruitment best practice, please contact the author of this survey, Simon Edbury via firstname.lastname@example.org
Recruitment market conditions have materially improved in the past six months in particular. More companies are hiring and strong candidates have multiple opportunities to consider, so competition for the best people is now fiercer than at any time in the last five years.
In the current climate companies need to understand the market conditions they are facing and how best to be successful in the circumstances. This is where an experienced high quality recruitment consultant can add real value over the more basic agency service prevalent in many markets.
With this in mind we have highlighted five key areas in the recruitment process where an experienced consultant can be the difference maker in hiring the talent you need.
1. Offers an accurate appraisal of the attractiveness of a new job opportunity
Will the candidates you want be interested in your job?
Agent: Takes job brief and sends any relevant candidates from the database
Consultant: Advises hiring manager of attractiveness of job vacancy in the context of current market conditions and advises on best sourcing strategy
2. Assesses the availability and cost of suitable talent in the relevant market conditions.
Is the candidate you seek available at the salary budget allocated?
Agent: Sends candidates who are suitable but you cannot afford or vice versa
Consultant: Discusses the potential to flex either the salary or the person spec to get the right blend of cost and skills for your business
3. Helps position your company and opportunity better to the external market
How can you make your job more attractive to the best candidates?
Agent: Accepts the market perception of your company as an employer.
Consultant: Provides accurate feedback from potential candidates and suggests ways to position your company as an attractive employer
4. Creativity – knows where to look for right people, especially for rare skill sets, not just the obvious places.
Where are suitable candidates to be sourced from for difficult to fill positions?
Agent: Searches a database and advertises the position and sends you whoever they have.
Consultant: Suggests less obvious sources of good candidates and uses their network to pursue them on your behalf. Won’t send weaker candidates just for the sake of it.
5. Better conversion rate, candidate management, valuable in these market conditions
How do you get more of your job offers accepted?
Agent: Arranges interviews and hopes that the candidate accepts your job offer
Consultant: Manages candidate and client expectations throughout to maximise likelihood of candidate acceptance
With increasing competition for the best staff an effective recruitment strategy is vital. Here we look at the ten most common obstacles to attracting the talent required for your business.
1. Understand your internal recruitment processes from the start. A lack of awareness of standard recruitment procedure in your company leads to additional steps and delays. Typically this can be anything from an additional round of interviews or psychometric testing to a medical. Introducing these stages haphazardly part way through the recruitment process is very off putting to potentially strong candidates often leading them to lose interest or accept a job elsewhere. If you aren’t absolutely sure of the procedure speak to HR before you get started and be clear with candidates about the next stage throughout the hiring process.
2. Be realistic about candidates attitudes towards salary when moving jobs. Unless there is a huge improvement in non monetary terms such as a much shorter commute, candidates are looking for an absolute minimum of a 10% increase in basic salary, often more. Your company may well be a desirable employer but you still need to budget for a reasonable salary increase for your chosen candidate.
3. Be precise about the salary budget. A recruiting company states that the basic salary for a particular vacancy will be £50k to £55k and then when the offer is made to the successful candidate it is £50k which, it transpires, was always the absolute maximum. The extra £5k mentioned initially to the candidate could be crucial in creating an incentive for the candidate to be interested. So be clear from the start and therefore ensure that the candidates you see fall within salary budget.
4. Don’t cast the net too wide. Consider the following scenario: you’ve posted your vacancy on your company website and linkedin, you have an advert in a trade journal and on several of the online job boards and you have instructed six recruitment agencies. You have covered all the bases and are expecting some great candidates to interview. However, adverts on or offline have always been an unreliable source of quality candidates so you are probably hoping your recruitment agencies will produce the goods. But each agency knows that there is five other agencies and a slew of advertising to compete against. They are on a no placement no fee model and their chances are slim. So they spend their time working on other assignments where their chances of making a fee are greater and leave you without the quality shortlist you were hoping for. Be more strategic in your selection of recruitment methods and agencies rather than going for the catch all approach.
5. Develop a full understanding of the experience and the other clients of the recruiter working on your behalf. You create a PSL panel of recruiters and agreed terms. The successful companies impressed you with their slick presentation, powerful brand and big office networks. But did you meet the person who will be responsible for selling your senior level vacancies to the best candidates in your industry? Recruitment consultancies are typically high staff turnover businesses and you may have an inexperienced consultant placed on your account. Ask your recruiters which of your direct competitors they work with as this may limit their ability to approach and attract candidates who could be an ideal fit for your needs.
6. Don’t negotiate too hard on recruitment fees. If you have multiple vacancies in your department you can use this leverage to get your chosen recruitment consultancy down to a low percentage of basic salary as a placement fee. You may have got a great deal, but only if the recruiter fills all the vacancies. Remember they are working on a no placement no fee model and almost all of their other assignments will be more lucrative than your work if you have pushed too hard on their fee level. Given your multiple vacancy assignment you would expect to be near the top of their priority list. The fee deal you struck probably means you are a lot lower than you think so strike a balance whereby the terms are attractive for both parties to ensure you get the best results from your recruiter.
7. Don’t make the recruitment process too one sided. You want to make sure you put the shortlist of candidates through their paces and so you set up a half day assessment centre for stage one whereby there is a group interview and some psychometric testing. The problem is that the best candidates are probably only tentatively interested at this stage and unwilling to attend the assessment centre until they know more about the job. Maybe they are not entirely unhappy with their current employer or maybe they have multiple vacancies they are pursuing. Either way, you need to offer a little courtship before sending them to a formal assessment. Set up an initial interview which is as much about you selling the job opportunity and your company as it is assessing the candidate. Only when you have them excited about what you have to offer can you expect them to take half a days holiday and go through rigorous testing.
8. Communicate promptly with candidates following interview. Candidates assume no news is bad news. A delay of more than 48 hours will mean positive momentum will begin to drain away as will the candidates interest in the job. Going back to the strongest candidate quickly maintains the impetus and increases your chances of a job offer being accepted.
But don’t forget the candidates who you are discounting from the process. Dealing with them professionally creates good PR for your company as an employer and you may want to go back to them for a different position at a later date.
9. Take in to account the detail of fringe benefits when making a job offer. Generally both hiring manager and candidate will focus on basic salary when pitching their expectations on package but a failure to dig in to the detail of the benefits package may come back to haunt you. Corporate employment benefits include some or all of the following: car allowance, bonus, private medical insurance, life assurance, pension, discounts, vouchers, share options and signing on bonuses. You might be improving the candidates basic salary with your job offer but lowering their overall package. You need to gather this information early on to understand if you can make them a compelling financial offer.
10. Manage expectations on timing of the offer letter. If you have verbally offered the position and got a verbal acceptance in return you need to sort out the paperwork. Often someone else needs to sign the authority to recruit and may not be immediately available. Then the authority needs to go to HR to put together a benefits pack and then post out the contract and offer. If this is the case make sure you tell the candidate that the offer letter wouldn’t be with them for ten days and stay in touch until they have the contract in their hand.