Candidates with the experience your business needs: impossible to recruit?
- March 21, 2018
It’s no secret that businesses want to recruit the best talent. The right skills combined with several years of industry experience is invaluable; a suitable candidate makes a big difference not only to the quality of work but the bottom line too. Yet many businesses are struggling to recruit individuals that have the necessary experience or the relevant skills – and just the right combination of the two. Skills shortages, tough competition and an unstable political and economic climate combine to make the recruitment market extremely tough across all industries – though not impossible with the right help.
Why experience matters
In any industry or line of work the more time someone has spent carrying out tasks successfully, the less supervision they will require and the more effective they will be. Once an individual has three, five or ten years’ experience under their belt they will have encountered many different scenarios, have experience handling clients and varying workloads. At this point the employee may become more useful generally to the employer, as they start to think about developing their career in terms of management or specialising in a certain area that delivers a competitive advantage.
And it’s not just well-honed practical skills that form the backbone of experience. Take the engineering sector; EngineeringUK reports that annually the UK is ‘at least’ 20,000 short of the graduates required to fill engineering posts. The chronic skills shortage is a difficult hurdle for many different businesses to overcome yet it may not be as simple as hiring someone with a degree. Speaking to Director magazine Helen Atkinson, engineering professor at the University of Leicester, says that recent graduates often lack the commercial know-how that is the sum of technical ability and knowledge of how businesses stay profitable.
Experience delivers on the bottom line: businesses need well-rounded candidates that are capable, commercially savvy and have seen most it before. And once they have them, they need to hold on to them.
The three-year itch
Once an employee reaches a point where they are trained and they have some relevant industry experience they become a valuable asset, hence the reason why it’s so difficult to recruit candidates at this stage of their career. The business that spent time and money training the individual is faced with the prospect that they may jump ship, taking valuable knowledge and experience with them. It’s in the company’s best interests to keep hold of those individuals and retain those valuable skills. Simultaneously, they need to attract more staff at that crucial stage of their career in order to keep growing – and competition is high.
Competition isn’t just rife from other businesses within comparable industries, it’s an issue facing all industries. The IT sector is a good example of this: as technology changes and develops the need for people with those skills increases. An IT expert isn’t just needed at Microsoft or IBM, they are potentially needed by any industry or by any company that employs its own IT personnel and requires those skills. So now the competition doesn’t just come from Hewlett Packard or Dell, it could come from the banking and finance industry, healthcare, retail – anywhere.
If a candidate feels tempted by an offer elsewhere there needs to be good incentives for them to stay. Globalisation is another key factor in competition for candidates. An increasingly connected world brings new opportunities for work as well as potential overseas employment that may prove tempting. If businesses are to remain competitive it’s essential that they attract and retain employees that are highly desirable to other businesses both in the UK and abroad.
How to beat the competition and recruit the best candidates?
Recruitment can be a stressful affair at the best of times and especially so in the midst of a skills shortage. Posting an ad on job board or the company website can feel like sifting through an awful lot of sand to find a small amount of gold. It’s time-consuming and takes the focus off running the business, winning new work and delivering existing work. This is where a recruitment agency can really prove its worth.
A reputable, experienced agency will have an extensive network of contacts and a large database of potential candidates at their disposal which can save a lot of recruitment legwork. Any agency worth their salt will have developed good relationships with their candidates and will be able to act as an effective, trustworthy middleman between the two parties.
While there is no magic solution, by being alert to issues surrounding competition and retention companies stand a better chance of attracting skilled, experienced individuals. A professional recruitment partner doesn’t just present a list of the best candidates, they can offer advice on how best to retain them: an investment that pays dividends now and in the future.