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Is Your Recruitment Partnership a Match made in Heaven?

Posted By APSO, 01 July 2014
Updated: 19 May 2014

Is your recruitment partnership a match made in heaven?

Author: Natalie Singer, APSO Strategic Engagement Executive



With the proliferation of recruitment and staffing companies in South Africa it can be tempting to play the field rather than commit to an exclusive partnership. However, whilst this strategy can seem to offer the best of all worlds, the resulting quality of the relationship can be less than ideal.

Choosing a recruitment agency is an important decision, after all, the agency is an extension of your company in the minds of candidates and you definitely don’t want desirable candidates to be turned off by their interactions with your recruiter. In today’s highly competitive talent market employer brand and the perceptions of your company culture start from the first recruitment interaction so pick your bedfellow carefully to protect your reputation.

Partnering with the right agency should save you time, ensure that you’re able to source the best candidates who wouldn’t necessarily be accessible to you via other means, and to guide and assist you throughout the hiring process.

Date before you decide...don’t be dazzled by the first impression

Because there are currently no, or very low barriers to entry, there are literally thousands of individuals and companies claiming to be recruitment consultants. How do you choose from the myriad of options that all appear to be the same if you listen to their rehearsed telephone sales pitches or read their generic company profiles?

For most businesses, appointing a recruitment agency usually comes down to the following four factors:

-          Cost

-          Time

-          Specialist knowledge and insight

-          Quality of candidates

 

Whilst these are common factors that should always be considered, the real debate is how you weight the factors – at the end of the day, it should always be about getting results!

Partner with a professional

In Sept 2013 the staffing industry was formally recognised as a profession with the Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO) being appointed by South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) as the professional body entrusted to be the custodian of the three registered professional staffing designations.

In addition to vetting the recruitment agency, it is recommended that you interrogate the quality and professionalism of the individual recruiter servicing your account. Have they committed to the profession, do they meet the minimum qualifications and have they invested in their knowledge and expertise via continuous professional development to ensure that they provide you with value-added services including specific insight into your business and your industry?

Got your perfect match in mind?

The quality of the individual recruiter will directly influence the success rate of finding, and securing, the best talent available.

Do you feel comfortable talking to the recruiter, do they seem intelligent and do they have a genuine interest in understanding your business to ensure a good fit, not just of technical competence but also of culture fit within your business context?

Do they demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the current job market and do they utilise this information to make suggestions to you on how you can improve your recruitment and selection process to attract the top talent?

How does your recruiter interact with candidates? Do they have a professional, honest and consistent process for candidate management?

And most importantly, do you believe that your recruiter operates ethically and honestly and will be a good brand ambassador for your company?

Commitment pays off

Utilising external recruitment providers can be very costly, but there are usually many different fee options available to clients who are willing to work with the agency. Many agencies are willing to offer reduced rates to clients who offer them exclusivity or who work with them on a continued, retained basis.

Above all, companies should remember that they will get the best possible return from their recruitment company if they are treated as partners rather than transactional suppliers.

 

Tags:  APSO  APSOgram  cost  insight  knowledge  partnership  Professional body  professional staffing designation  quality  quality of candidates  recruitment agency  recruitment partnership  SAQA  time 

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Blended Workforces: Strategising Today for Tomorrow's Success

Posted By APSO, 17 June 2014
Updated: 19 May 2014

Blended Workforces: Strategising today for tomorrow’s success

In today’s uncertain economy, securing and retaining top talent is a complex undertaking. Given shifts in workforce demographics, the demand for innovation and global growth, organisations need to be able to paint a complete picture of current and future talent needs. They are adopting a single integrated framework for employee recruitment and contingent workforce supply chain management, yielding what is known as a “blended workforce” approach to talent strategy.

Historically, organisations have invested in various outsourcing providers including engaging Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) for full-time employees and Managed Services Providers (MSP) for contingent labour. Today, forward-thinking organisations are applying the blended workforce approach and leveraging a single provider for both traditional talent acquisition and the management of the contingent labour supply chain.

Shift to more flexible workforces

According to Aberdeen’s 2012 Contingent Workforce Management report, nearly 26% of the average organisations workforce is considered contingent or temporary, up from 23% in 2011. Clearly, the demand for a more flexible workforce is on the rise as both employers and employees recognise the numerous benefits, including greater diversity, improved productivity and reduce costs.

The contemporary business often relies on contractors, contingent workers and traditional full-time employees to complete its objectives and drive more revenue to the bottom-line. As these categories evolve and progress, so do the solutions and strategies required to manage overall talent in an effective manner.

Aberdeen’s 2012 Blended Workforce survey identified several key drivers in this shift to an integrated approach, including reducing costs, improving visibility to attract quality talent, and improved productivity.


 

While optimising costs and improving visibility into the talent supply are important drivers for success, identifying and acquiring top-level talent involves a series of processes that do not have cost or visibility top of mind. Instead, these processes are only concerned with the end result of overall organisational enhancement.

Under an integrated approach, these processes must be executed in such a way that pay rates, utilisation of internal resources, and cost of recruitment efforts do not shatter greater objectives. Organisations should optimise their spending on all talent initiatives and gain a better understanding of their entire talent pool as a means of improving overall workforce quality.

Three foundations for success – Collaboration, Strategy, and Technology

For organisations to get the most value from a blended workforce approach, they should consider end-to-end recruitment including everything from employer branding to sourcing, screening and assessment, and hiring.  Keys to success include:

  • Fostering collaboration between internal units. All key decision makers - HR, procurement and business - should be involved, sharing core objectives and ensuring continuous communication.
  • Defining a formal strategy. A comprehensive plan, documenting existing processes and future goals based on both the internal and external marketplace, enables organisations to design foundational practices in the context of long-term goals.
  • Invest in technology. Analytics and third-party technology solutions enhance the programme by assisting in measuring and monitoring success, including elements such as cost and visibility concerns outlined earlier.

Working together to achieve


Although options vary, nearly half of the organisations surveyed indicated that they managed the strategy under a single group. Although each unit has its own challenges and outcomes, if they work together success is more easily achieved.

Human Resources:  One of the key challenges is aligning talent initiatives with those of the business. By providing a complete view, through analytics, of both traditional and contingent workers, HR is more empowered to make business-centric decisions around talent. HR is in the unique position to be the champion of an integrated strategy, driving the process and articulating results.  This evolving role will require HR professionals to move outside their comfort zone and create, track and report on a more complete picture of talent.

Procurement:  This division was designed with one major goal in mind, produce cost savings and improve the organisation’s bottom-line. However, it is necessary for the procurement division to be more than a mere cost-cutter; they must find balance between cost and quality. Procurement’s strength in contract, and supplier lifecycle management, is critical considering the contemporary “contingent workforce umbrella” involves independent contracts, consultants, and professionals services and more often than not, these forms of talent are linked to Statements of Work. Procurement’s expertise in managing performance, based on milestones and delivery dates, is critical.

Business:  The primary goal of the business unit, in particular those on a C-level, is to achieve the organisation’s objectives at the lowest possible cost whilst maintaining a top-tier level of quality. Under the direction of business, HR and Procurement can better focus on the greater goals of driving talent costs down while improving overall quality and visibility.

The need for technology

A key to an optimum blended workforce strategy is the ability of functioning units to tap into intelligence from the same system. Leading providers are now offering integrated solutions for recruiting both contingent workers and traditional employees.

Technology-led intelligence is critical in:

·         Managing geographically diverse workforces and talent pools;

·         Assessing supplier and worker performance against milestones and delivery dates;

·         Tracking ongoing and forecasted trends within traditional and contract talent to garner valuable intelligence about suppliers, usage or effectiveness; and

·         Tracking improves overall budgeting and financial resource planning for future projects that will use contract/contingent talent

 

The survey revealed that more than half of the organisations surveyed do not currently realise the value of analytics in their blended workforce strategies.

 

There is a multitude of technology options available in the talent and workforce management space but the most commonly used is the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The biggest challenge is that much of the technology available has only limited functionality to support contingent labour, necessitating an improvement in capability or at least integration with a Vendor Management System (VMS).

 


 

In conclusion, findings from the research shows that whilst the blended workforce approach is being adopted by a growing number of organisations, there is still much room for growth, and the time for implementing strategy is now.

 

Extracts from “Driving a Blended Workforce Strategy: A Total Talent Approach” published in January 2013. For more than two decades, Aberdeen’s research has been helping corporations worldwide become Best-In-Class. For more information on this or other research topics please visit www.aberdeen.com

Tags:  APSO  APSOgram  blended workforce  business  collaboration  contigent labor  employee  flexibility  HR  procurement  quality  reduce costs  strategy  talent acquisition  technology  vendor management systems  VMS  workforce 

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10 Outside-the-Box Wacky Ideas for Hiring Better People

Posted By APSO, 03 June 2014
Updated: 16 May 2014

10 Outside-the-Box Wacky Ideas for Hiring Better People

By Lou Adler


Over the past few years I've made some pretty wild assertions about how to hire better people. While they have caused quite a stir, and despite the inevitable nay-saying, they've all proved to be extremely effective.

Here are my choices for the top 10 wackiest ideas on how to hire better people.

  1. Recruiting processes must be designed to hire great employees, not great candidates.
  2. Traditional job descriptions prevent companies from hiring top people.
  3. Behavioural interviewing has limited value in assessing candidates for bigger jobs.
  4. You only need one question to assess candidate competency and motivation.
  5. Historical cost and time metrics are useless for process control.
  6. Job boards aren't worth squat unless you know the secrets of semi-sourcing.
  7. Stop looking at the CVs of, or talking with, unqualified people.
  8. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) need to be designed and based on the needs of great recruiters and top candidates.
  9. Networking is still the best way to find and hire top people.
  10. The quality of the recruiting team determines the quality of the people hired.

If you're not hiring enough top people, you're probably limiting yourself by not thinking out of the box enough. To get started simply try implementing some of these ideas. If nothing else is working maybe it's time to get wacky?

  • Hire top employees, not top candidates.

Top employees are competent and motivated to do the work, they work well with others, and they exceed expectations. Top candidates, on the other hand, have great CVs, are enthusiastic, on time, and prepared, and make good first impressions. If too many of your new employees fall short once on the job, you're probably hiring top candidates instead of top employees. This typically happens when you overvalue presentation skills at the expense of performance. Research shows that only one-third of the best employees present well, and two-thirds of those that present well aren't top employees. So you're missing a lot of great people and making a lot of mistakes by using the wrong measurement stick.

  • Make sure your job descriptions define success, not skills.

It's been shown that clarifying expectations upfront is the key to achieving peak performance. When you over-emphasise skills and experiences to screen candidates, you inadvertently preclude the best employees from consideration. Here's an idea: minimise the use of traditional job descriptions in any of your job vacancy postings. Instead, describe what people need to achieve with these skills and some of the opportunities available. Then watch the quality of your candidates soar. It's what people do with what they have that determines their success, so play this up. This is why performance profiles that list the real job deliverables in priority order is the first step to hiring stronger people.

  • Combine behavioural interviewing and the one-question interview.

For higher level positions, traditional behavioural interviewing has limited value. Part of this is due to the fact that multiple behaviours are needed to perform more complex tasks (e.g., management plus initiative plus team skills). The other part is the need to assess the environment, culture, and performance requirements of the job during the interview. These problems are solved by asking candidates to describe their major accomplishments in great detail. This is the one-question interview. Then use behavioural questions to clarify how each task was accomplished. This way, you can assess how the candidate's mix of behaviours and skills were used to achieve results.

  • Use better metrics, or measure the right stuff in real time.

For strategic game-breaker positions, candidate quality must be the key driver, not cost or time. Quality still should be the primary metric for any important positions that directly affect company performance. For less important positions, time to fill and cost per hire are valid measures of success. Frequently these are the positions that can be outsourced. However, to impact results here you still should measure activity when it occurs, not weeks or months later. This is the big lesson learned from systems like Six Sigma: errors need to be tracked and eliminated as close to the time they occur as possible.

  • Use semi-sourcing and job branding to improve job board advertising.

There are many top people who look at job boards infrequently, generally after a particularly bad day. These are what I call semi-active candidates. While these people want another job, they won't jump through hoops to apply unless the job is attractive. If you design your advertising to attract these less-active candidates, you'll be able to find some exceptional people at very low cost. To attract their attention, make sure your ads are highly visible and compelling, and then make sure that you describe opportunities rather than emphasise requirements. If the job directly ties to the company strategy, all the better. This whole process is called job branding. Now consider this: the Corporate Executive Board's Recruiting Roundtable has shown that job branding is one of the two most important things you must do to hire top people. Don't forget, though, that you must call these people within 24 hours (the half-life of semi-active candidates), so efficient backend systems are important.

  • Pre-qualify everyone.

Recruiters spend too much valuable time looking at the CVs of, or talking with, unqualified candidates. Stop. The best applicant tracking systems have great filtering systems to rank order CVs. If the candidates at the top of the pile aren't good enough, don't look at any more CVs. Instead, run a more compelling and visible ad, or expand your sourcing channels. Also, make sure all referred candidates are pre-qualified, whether you obtained these names by networking or through other referral programmes.

  • Candidate- and recruiter-friendly ATSs should not be optional features.

Most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are designed around a requisition-based workflow. Recruiters don't work this way. Their work is based on task priorities. The best ATSs adjust for this by providing customisable desktops with folders and alerts to ensure that important data is pushed to the recruiter daily. Semi-active candidates don't have time to apply, so candidate-friendliness must also be an integrated ATS design feature. Unfortunately, too many ATSs were designed to meet the needs of the purchaser rather than their primary users. Recruiter productivity will soar along with better candidates with the addition of these two features.

  • You'll still find the best people through networking.

You should be able to hire at least 50% of your people by aggressively networking with your best employees, top candidates, industry experts, vendors, customers, and trade association members. This is a vast source of untapped and readily available talent. To start this, you'll need great recruiters working the phones asking for the names of top people, not for those looking for jobs. Then you must brand your jobs as described above, clearly describing the deliverables. Of course, you must make sure the application process is super easy. When networking is done properly, you'll quickly have many more great people checking out your website and attempting to apply. Don't disappoint them.

  • Great recruiters are needed to hire great people.

The best people always have multiple opportunities. They get counter-offers, have second thoughts, and consult spouses and advisors for advice. Recruiters are the ones called upon for this extra information, counselling, and hand-holding. They must know the job, they must interview well, and they must be able to negotiate fair offers despite having too many other things to do. Make sure you assign your strongest recruiters to handle your strategic game-breaker positions. Then, even if you don't do everything described above, you'll still be able to hire the best people for these critical positions. Unless the hiring managers do it themselves, the quality of the people a company hires correlates directly with the quality of the recruiters involved.

My biggest wild and crazy idea is the possibility that hiring top talent can be a systematic business process. You're 90% there if you do everything described above. Wow! Now that's the wackiest idea of them all.

Tags:  applicant tracking systems  APSO  APSOgram  better candidates  better people  competency  great employees  hiring  job description  motivation  networking  outside the box  quality  thinking 

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Picking a Recruitment Partner

Posted By APSO, 06 June 2013
Updated: 06 June 2013

Choosing a recruitment agency is an important decision, after all, the agency is an extension of your company in the minds of candidates and you definitely don’t want desirable candidates to be turned off by their interactions with your recruiter.

Partnering with the right agency should save you time, ensure that you’re able to source the best candidates who wouldn’t be accessible to you via other means, and guide and assist you throughout the hiring process.

When one considers that the vast majority of the skilled workforce is not actively looking for a new job, you must ensure that your chosen recruitment partner is able to access the best people in the field, not just those who are unhappy and have sent their CV out everywhere. In order to do this, you have to form a strategic partnership with a well connected, experienced recruiter who can bring in the talent necessary to transform your business.

Because there are currently no, or very low barriers to entry, there are literally thousands of individuals and companies claiming to be recruitment consultants. How do you choose from the myriad of options that all appear to be the same if you listen to their rehearsed telephone sales pitches or read their generic company profiles?

For most businesses, appointing a recruitment agency usually comes down to the following four factors: 

  • Cost
  • Time
  • Quality of candidates
  • Advertising reach, i.e. who is their audience

Whilst these are common factors that should always be considered, the real debate is how you weight the factors – at the end of the day, it should always be about getting results!

An HR Officer recently told me, "Criteria important to me are cost, quality of candidate, turnaround time, and reputation for successfully placing candidates into regular positions.”

Whilst cost is important, you should rather measure your recruitment partner on other factors to more accurately determine the return on investment before simply choosing to do business with the agency that is prepared to charge you the least. Some key factors to be considered include:

Quality Recruitment Consultants

The quality of the individual recruiters working within the recruitment company will directly influence the success rate of finding, and securing, the best talent available. 

Do you feel comfortable talking to the recruiter, do they seem intelligent and do they have a genuine interest in understanding your business to ensure a good fit, not just of technical competence but also of culture fit within your business context?

Do they demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the current job market and do they utilize this information to make suggestions to you on how you can improve your recruitment and selection process to attract the top talent?

How does your recruiter interact with candidates?

Do they have a professional, honest and consistent process for candidate management?

And most importantly, do you believe that your recruiter operates ethically and honestly and will be a good brand ambassador for your company?

Recruitment Methodology

Not all agencies can be compared. Unless you ask what the agency’s recruitment methodology is, you might unfairly be comparing apples with oranges. Many "recruitment agencies” rely heavily on advertising and utilizing job portals to simply source a CV to send directly to the client, but this can be detrimental to clients who are looking to source candidates who are not actively in the market or who have been already been considered by all and sundry, including your competitors.

Ask the agency to fully explain their methodology including advertising, sourcing and networking to find suitable candidates. Do you know for sure how candidates are screened before they’re submitted to you for consideration? Don’t assume that all agencies interview candidates face-to-face, verify information contained on the CV and conduct reference checks. Check that you’re happy with the screening process and the level of information that is being provided to you so that you can effectively ascertain whether or not to bring a candidate in for an interview.

APSO member agencies are bound by the APSO Code of Ethical and Professional Practice which prescribes minimum service levels in terms of client and candidate service. If you choose to work with an APSO member and you’re unhappy with the level of service, you have recourse via the APSO Ethics complaint process.

Specialism & Experience

Does the agency specialise in the area you’re recruiting? It is perfectly reasonable to make use of several agencies for different areas of your business to ensure that you’re dealing with a recruiter who fully understands the environment in which the candidate will be working and who can leverage their networks in this area to source the best talent available for a specific vacancy.

Have they got a proven track record of previous success in placing candidates in this field? Working with a specialist recruiter means that you have a recruitment partner who knows the right people to contact and who can appreciate the technical and business nuances that will contribute to making a successful hire.

"A key criteria for me when choosing a recruitment provider is whether they have the business maturity to interpret the company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and turn that into a compelling dialogue that will attract more of the right sorts of people for us to interview,” says a Marketing Manager responsible for recruitment of staff for his department.

Reputable & Referenceable

A good recruitment agency should be able to provide you, if asked, with strong testimonials from companies in similar industries who have made use of their service. Consider querying your own network about whether they’re aware of the agency’s work and reputation.

Personal Service

Your recruiter should provide you with personal service and this means you should have a designated single point of contact within the agency who you feel is always available and approachable. You should have open channels of communication that are direct and not driven through email. You should feel confident that your recruiter fully understands your business and the associated requirements of the respective positions so that they only send candidates who they know are a match. Furthermore your recruiter should be available to assist you with the full process, including providing guidance on setting up interview questions and even joining in on panel interviews.

A leading corporate Recruitment Manager says, "I tend to prefer external recruitment providers who know how to run an intelligent campaign, who take ownership of the vacancy or project and who I trust will source the right candidates.”

Terms of Business

Utilizing external recruitment providers can be very costly, but there are usually many different fee options available to clients who are willing to work with the agency. Many agencies are willing to offer reduced rates to clients who offer them exclusivity or who work with them on a continued, retained basis.

Above all, companies should remember that they will get the best possible return from their recruitment company if they are treated as partners rather than transactional suppliers. To this end, you should always be sure to invest the time to brief your recruiter to ensure that they have an in-depth understanding of your business and requirement so that you will receive the level of service you want. A close working relationship between recruiter and client has been proven to improve hiring success.

Tags:  advertising  APSO  cost  CV  ethics  preferred supplier listing  quality  recruiter  recruitment methodology  sourcing  verification 

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