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Why, what, who? Your plan for successful recruitment

Posted by: Jessica Wood on Thu 20 September 2018


Why, what, who? Your plan for successful recruitment

Despite the huge advances in technology made over recent years, financial services remains very much a ‘people business’. To build a great firm, you need great people. Simple enough in theory. However, in practice, recruiting and retaining the right talent is often one of the biggest challenges employers face. We humans are a varied and unpredictable bunch, and identifying the necessary blend of skills, experience, qualifications, attitude and approach is both a science and an art.

So how do you go about recruiting the ideal people for your business? Our 'finding the right person’ guide breaks the recruitment process down into five key stages:

  1. Planning
  2. Searching
  3. Filtering
  4. Interviewing
  5. Making an offer

In my next few articles, I’m going to look at each stage in turn. Starting with the all-important planning stage.


Measure twice, cut once…

As with many things in life, to give yourself the best possible chance of success when recruiting, proper planning is absolutely essential. All too often - with time, resource and other pressures to deal with - employers don’t spend enough time identifying their requirements before starting their search.

Finding the right candidates is only possible once you’re completely clear on the skills, knowledge and experience you need. So, before you do anything else, think about why you are looking to recruit, the tasks and functions your new employee will be required to fulfil, and the type of person best placed to carry out this particular role. Consider any gaps you may currently have in your organisation, or the specific team your new recruit will be joining. Remember to take into account any ‘soft skills’ needed, as well as the more easily identifiable requirements such as minimum qualifications and levels of experience.

Once you’re clear on the why, what and who, you’re ready to write your job description and personal specification.


Job description

The job description should outline all key aspects of the role and include, as a minimum:

  • the job title
  • their position in the company, including the job title of the person to whom the employee will report and, if appropriate, those who will report to them
  • location of the role
  • a summary of the general nature and objectives of the job
  • a list of the main duties or tasks of the employee

Personal specification

The personal specification should outline the key qualities and competencies you are looking for. This could include areas such as knowledge, experience, qualifications and skills – highlighting those that are essential for the job, and those that are desirable.

Remember; you must ensure that your personal specification is not discriminatory in any way – be that sex, race, age, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs, because someone has a disability, or anything else.


Why should they choose you?

Alongside your job description and personal specification, you’ll usually also need to write a job advert. Let’s be absolutely clear – advertising a role (whether internally or externally) and writing a job description are not the same thing. Yes, of course, they will include some of the same information. However, a job description typically covers what an employer requires from an employee. When advertising your role, it’s crucial to also consider and communicate the benefits from the candidate’s perspective.

What is so great about your role or company? Why should that great candidate choose to apply to you? Remember, recruitment is a two-way street. As much as you are looking for candidates who impress you and ‘tick all your boxes’, you also need to convince potential employees that you’re the right company, with the right job, for them.

When working with SMEs, a common concern I hear in this regard is that they can’t compete with the ‘big boys’ in terms of salary or benefits package. That’s OK! Money is important, but it isn’t everything. Smaller businesses often have more appeal to candidates for a number of reasons. Personal ownership, adaptability, culture, professional development, variety, scope of position, and so on. These are just some examples. The point is, to consider and highlight the positives of working for your company. In doing so, you’ll be more likely to attract the candidates who’ll be a good fit for your business.

That’s it from me for now – next time I’ll be looking at stage 2; searching. Once you know who you need to recruit, where do you find appropriate candidates? In the meantime, I’ve included below a quick recruitment-planning checklist for easy reference.

Quick recruitment-planning checklist:

  • Why are you looking to recruit?
  • What tasks and functions will your new employee be required to fulfil?
  • What gaps do you currently have in your organisation?
  • What are the soft skills and minimum levels of qualifications and experience required?
  • Who is the ideal type of person to carry out the role?
  • Have you written your job description and personal specification?
  • Why should candidates be attracted to your business and the role you have available?

P.S. If you want some help or advice in relation to planning your staffing and recruitment needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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To Jess and the team. Thank you very much. Your service is friendly, professional, committed and reliable. Sandringham Wood are the best recruitment company in this sector. Best wishes & thanks.


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