When Do You Know It’s Time for a New Hiring Strategy?

There’s more to recruitment than filling roles. If you’ve failed to adapt your recruitment strategy to match the current environment, then it may be time to devise a new hiring strategy.

Find out how to track the flaws in your existing approach and how a bit of tweaking can yield staffing success.

In any other industry a 50 per cent failure rate would be considered a disaster – yet routinely those tasked with recruitment are missing the mark, sometimes by significantly more. According to a survey from Gallup, organisations fail to select the right manager for a role a massive 82 per cent of the time.

And it’s not just managerial positions where mistakes over who to hire are being made. A three-year study from Leadership IQ revealed that 46 per cent of all newly hired employees fail in their roles within the first 18 months. Its research suggests that less than one in five hires will be a definite success (19%). If this sounds familiar, then it’s time to shake up your hiring strategy.

If these sobering statistics are correct, then what can you do to make sure every hiring decision has the chance to be that one in five? It starts by refining your hiring strategy. Here’s how.

Identify the mistakes you’re making

Think back to your previous six hires: are those employees still with your organisation? Are they putting their stamp on the role and thriving? Has feedback from their team been positive? Have they brought something new to the business? If you answered ‘no’ to any of these, then it’s entirely possible you’ve hired the wrong person for the role.

There are several recruitment traps that we fall into – perhaps because we’ve always done things a certain way, or inherited poor techniques. It could even be that you’ve become complacent in your role. Do you recognise any of the following obstacles to your recruitment techniques?

  • Not fully understanding the jobs landscape of today
  • Not identifying potential candidates from within the workplace
  • Targeting the same audiences
  • Failure to prepare accurate and captivating job descriptions
  • A reliance on interviews to find the right candidate

Of course, there could be many more reasons why your hiring strategy needs an overhaul, but these are the most common ones. Fortunately, you can fix them relatively easily.

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The world of work is changing. Change with it.

If you want to make long-lasting and highly successful hiring decisions then you need to rethink your recruitment strategies and align it with the latest thinking in clever staffing. The jobs landscape is changing, and we’re in the grip of a demographic shift that is affecting how and why we recruit.

Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964) are close to retirement or have already retired, leaving a gap of both skills and experience. Thanks to the increased birth rate after the Second World War these make up a large part of the population – and so the workforce.

At the other end of the scale, you have Millennials (1981-1996) and Generation Z (1996-2010) joining the workforce but even combined, they can’t replace the number of Baby Boomers retiring.

The younger generations are also driving a thriving gig economy – which sees people opting for short-term contracts and freelance working over traditional contracts of employment. For long-term success, using the gig economy should be key to your hiring strategy.

It’s not just takeaways and lift services which can benefit. The Office of National Statistics says the number of self-employed workers in the UK has increased by 45 per cent since 2001. RSA identified that 28 per cent of gig workers provide professional services, like accountancy or legal services. These statistics prove it’s the largest group ahead of creative/IT work and skilled manual work.

Harness the gig economy

One of the sectors leading the way when it comes to the gig economy is that of life sciences, which has been harnessing the potential of gig workers for decades. Kelly’s Workforce to Workfit white paper reveals that 75 per cent of talent managers globally in the sector already use gig workers.

This places it third for hiring from the gig economy, behind the oil and gas industry and industrial manufacturing. As businesses need to become ever-more agile and efficient to thrive, the gig economy is playing a key role in making this a reality.

Solving the skills crisis

For recruiters, a highly skilled workforce can be accessed for short term projects – such as when a business is rapidly expanding; to meet increasing customer demands, or; to respond rapidly to changing circumstances.

It’s also an effective hiring strategy to address the talent gap that exists in some industries, like life sciences. Research from McKinsey found that close to 40 per cent of businesses struggled to find talent who had the skills they required. Using free agents from the gig economy means being able to source those skills more easily as and when you need them.

It may sound counterproductive to hire people on a freelance basis – many recruiters worry about a lack of commitment, for example. But, on the contrary, giggers tend to be more committed to a project as it’s usually a short-term option. There are other benefits for recruiters too – most notable the knowledge transfer that is a natural by-product of the gig economy.

Moving between multiple roles, in multiple organisations affords the gigger a wider range of experiences to draw upon, and the opportunity to gain valuable skills. And all of this then gets passed to the organisations using the gig worker.

new recruiting strategy

Image: Unsplash

Think outside of your usual focus

Do you find yourself placing your recruitment ads in the same places every time? If so, your hiring strategy is stale and could be missing a trick. Many industries are in the grip of a skills shortage. Forward-thinking organisations are looking outside of their sector to secure the best talent.

It’s a strategy Kelly identified as a key challenge for the life sciences sector to address, in its Talent in Science whitepaper.

It notes the importance of building early-stage relationships with prospective candidates. Building these relationships will help companies understand what it will take to lure talented industry outsiders to the life sciences sector. It would be wise to monitor the yield from some traditional recruitment channels. You may find that taking the time to build networks could give better results.

Focus within for your new hiring strategy

Up your hiring game and fill roles internally where possible. It costs time and money recruiting new employees – and that could be slashed considerably if the new candidate is right in front of you already. Not only does it make economic sense (think of the time and money spent on recruiting to external candidates) but your new hire will also be ready to hit the ground running, so to speak.

An internal hire will be up to speed on the business’s goals and values, already have a network of peers within the organisation and going for promotion over outside hiring can also bring a boost of morale and productivity.

Rethink your job descriptions

A good job description should be more than just a list of duties. It needs to also identify what the purpose of the role is, how it fits within the rest of the organisation, where the areas of responsibility lie, and how the position may progress.

Jobs for life may no longer be attractive for many – but individuals still want rewarding positions that offer more than just a decent salary. Give potential candidates an idea of how they can grow in the role, if you don’t, they may pass believing the position is stagnant.

Take a look at the job description you’ve started: is it a long list of particular skills? If so, you may have just made that job impossible to fill. Spend time with the people who will work with the new hire to find out what is essential and what could be learned on the job.

And remember in many instances, enthusiasm and attitude can count for more than skills. You can gain invaluable skills and experience once you’re in a role, but you can’t fake enthusiasm or passion forever.

Use a range of tools and techniques

It turns out interviews can be a pretty poor indicator of future success. That’s not to say they should be ditched all together but, how a potential new hire fits with the team culturally is far more important. And the problem with interviews is that the interviewee is often too preoccupied.

They can become so focused on how the candidate’s skills and experience match-up that they forget to take into consideration less obvious characteristics. Motivation, emotional intelligence, temperament and team spirit are equally, if not more crucial.

So, in your revised hiring strategy, shake things up by inviting potential candidates to spend time with the team they’ll be working with. Let them get a feel for how they fit culturally, and to gather feedback from their possible future peers.

In summary

Remember talent is all around us – the real challenge is fitting that talent into the right role. Spending the time to formalise your new hiring strategy will pay off ultimately. When you make the right hires, you can be confident you won’t be re-advertising the position in six months.

Make the time to assess your current efforts and any flaws in how you recruit and then using the advice here bring your hiring efforts into the 21st century.


About the Author

Fiona Housiaux is a senior brand strategist for Kelly Services UK who has written, developed and delivered award winning marketing strategies in a challenging industry. Her career has been built on a passion for people and numbers.
Borderline obsessive about candidate acquisition, client communication and all things online, particularly SEO, PPC and SMO.

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Team 6Q