Top Tips : Winning the war for talent

Posted on 5th May 2015 - tagged in digital, recruitment, tips, hiring

Top Tips : Winning the war for talent

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” ~ Larry Bissidy

"Great vision without great people is irrelevant." ~ Jim Collins

How do we hire the best people?

It’s a competitive candidate market yet there are a number of businesses who consistently do a great job hiring, securing and keeping the best people. I have been fortunate enough to help a number of these businesses and have personally specialised in helping clients who need to secure 20+ hard to find candidates in a short time frame. Whether you are hiring 20 people or just 1 person there are some steps that you can take to make sure that you secure the best person for the job, in the least amount of time, meeting a number of suitable candidates.

Here’s how:

Have a great brief

  • Just as you receive 10 CV’s and only want to see the top 5 candidates (based on the CV) candidates may receive 10 job briefs and only interview for the best 5 jobs (based on the job specs).
  • Make sure your brief sells the job, the business and the importance of the role – avoid merely listing the responsibilities.

Start with the end in mind

Hiring somebody in a time efficient way takes planning. Set clear timeframes to conclude first, second, third interviews. Communicate these time frames to your recruiters and the candidates you are interviewing. Candidates like to know where they stand and if you clearly communicate your interview process it helps make a candidate feel engaged in and important to your business from the start. And this means when you offer them the job, they are more likely to say yes.

Do what you say you are going to do

  • Most hiring managers are busy and, although important, recruitment is something that is easy to put to the bottom of your list of priorities. It is not always as urgent as the crisis management that you deal with on a day to day basis.
  • Drastically changing an interview process or the timeframes that you have communicated to a candidate can take the momentum out of the process.
  • You can go from being a candidate’s favourite choice to second or third favourite very quickly. When processes change or fluctuate drastically we often see clients miss out on their top choice candidate.  Even if they do get to the point where they make an offer to the candidate. This is frustrating for everybody involved and is totally within your control and easily avoidable.
  • Clients sometimes become frustrated with recruiting in such events and get a stage where there is no “end in mind”. At this point both the client and the recruiter do not commit to filling the job and on such occasions a process can drift until new timeframes and goals are set between you and your recruiter.

Be interested in candidates

  • It may be the fifth interview that you have done this week yet it is the first time that this candidate has met with you.
  • Be interested and engage with them. You stand the best chance of seeing if they are right for your business by doing so. And if they are what you want you will have increased their interest in your business. If you do not like a candidate and you learn this quickly you can always politely draw the interview to a short end.

Be prepared to sell

  • If you manage a candidate well throughout a process you can avoid a bidding war (which we always strongly discourage).
  • Introducing candidates to the key people in your business, spending time with candidates, having informal meetings (coffees etc), being interested in them and showing them why you are the right business for them, all make it easier for you to secure your top targets.

And one more thing…

  • Build relationships with your recruiters, make them feel valued and help them learn about your business. Recruiters who feel important to clients will work harder to understand you and they will work harder for you.
  • It is up to a recruiter to develop such relationships and repay your trust, yet you must give the right ones the chance to...

...here’s a reason why

I once placed over 40 candidates in a business over two years and helped the business achieve a 9 digit acquisition in the process.  I got to know the MD very well. He once explained to me that the business was having a terrible time attracting the right people. One evening when he could not sleep about the situation his wife asked “what are the recruiters like” and he said “I don’t know, I don’t deal with them”. The next day I happened to cold call him and he thought he would take the call and agree to meet. His commitment to us and

interest in us from the start made them a very important client. Within a month the businesses ability to hire and attract the best people had radically changed. The MD’s mentality to recruiting swiftly filtered down through the business.  They saved time, hired the right people, in a good time frame and achieved the growth that they had not been able to without having these people on the bus.  It made the business millions of pounds in profit. You can have this too.


Ed Steer, Managing Director, Sphere Digital Recruitment

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