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Time to remove our recruitment blinkers

Posted by: Jessica Wood on Mon 28 May 2012

Time to remove our recruitment blinkers

It is no surprise that the current climate has made for a more difficult jobs market in the retail financial services industry (indeed, in most industries). However, what I find particularly interesting is the impact this has had on the attitudes of many employers looking to recruit. Having been a specialist in financial services recruitment for 12 years, and worked in the industry for 12 years prior to this, I have been around long enough to see my fair share of peaks and troughs. However, I have never previously experienced such wide spread ‘rigidness’ from firms looking for new people.

The Holy Grail

What I am referring to is the increasing trend over the last few years for hiring firms to be, dare I say it, somewhat blinkered when selecting candidates for interview. Some businesses seem to be looking for ‘The Holy Grail’ of candidates – someone who can be all things to all people, someone experienced yet moldable, someone who has used all of the exact same systems etc. Aiming for perfection is always a nice place to start, but we have to be realistic.

With jobs in many parts of our industry much scarcer than before, it is assumed by many that we are currently in an ‘employer’s market’. However, many are finding it as difficult (if not more difficult) to find the quality people they need as they did pre-recession. No doubt this is partly due to the increased aversion to any kind of risk most of us naturally feel when times are hard. Perhaps it is also partly down to simple choice overload. With so many candidates out there, surely finding someone who matches every last detail of your job specification should be easy, right? Unfortunately, it is never that simple.

I’m not talking about trying to ‘fit a square peg in a round hole’. Matching appropriate candidates to our clients’ specific requirements is what we are here for and something we pride ourselves on at Sandringham Wood. Unfortunately, we have found that some employers seem to be suffering from hiring short-sightedness. This can range from simply ignoring clearly transferrable skills to rejecting someone because they are over qualified or being suspicious of anyone considering a ‘sideways move’.

Keep an open mind

In our quest for perfection in the new ‘post RDR’ world, we must be careful not to be guilty of not seeing the wood for the trees. The talent we need is out there; we just have to make sure we are looking for it in the right places.

Yes, be clear about the skills you need and have a well-defined job specification. Both are essential for successfully recruiting someone who is going to be a genuine asset to your business. Equally important is keeping an open mind; don’t reject a potential candidate just because, on paper, they don’t meet your exact requirements. We know everyone is busy and a candidate who can hit the ground running is obviously ideal; but this isn’t always possible. Try looking at internal training; adopt a buddy system whereby your existing employees will benefit from increased responsibility for the mentoring and training of others, or a short external course may pay huge dividends when added to other essential skills.

No one is the finished article, particularly in this ever changing world; enthusiasm, willingness to learn and having the right attitude are some valuable traits that should not be ignored. One last thing to think about is this – if you select a candidate that is moving from a complete like-for-like role, where is the increased challenge for them? Without feeling as though they are progressing, how happy will they be and for how long will they stay in the role?

Our experience shows us time and time again that salary is not always the main motivator; job satisfaction and career progression are two key drivers for many excellent candidates we see.

Scroll to page 12 to see article in Money Marketing 17.05.2012

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