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Talent Acquisition News South Africa

How to find (and keep) the right candidates

Human capital is the engine of an organisation - and human resource (HR) management is one of the key drivers for a company's success. To get HR operating optimally can be a challenge for many organisations, because the role of HR has become much more than a mere function.

Laura Renaulds, co-founder of RecruitGroup, has noted that some of the biggest shifts in HR are in the positioning of brands. "We are seeing a trend where big brands with positive reputations are finding that this is no longer enough to attract the right talent, and talent is the key to a successful organisation. Companies are moving their focus to a strong Employee Value Proposition. People are loyal to brands who invest in people, with strong retention strategies and who nurture a culture of quality of life balance, and very importantly, can tell a good story."

So how do you find and retain the right talent?

Talent mapping

It's the new buzzword in the industry, where forward-thinking companies are making sure they stay on top of their game. Talent mapping is the process of mapping positions and roles, geographically, by sector and position, to find out what employees want and what attracts them to a company. It is an accumulation of data from
portals, competitors and one-on-one research.

Reviewing your current staff

You may have people in your team who already have the necessary skills and a desire to take on a new challenge. Looking inwards first also helps with morale and gives existing staff a sense that there is room for growth - which is important when it comes to staff retention. "Candidates are often looking to shift their opportunities internally - they could be bored; projects have possibly been completed or they need more variety and exposure to new things. They are also possibly looking for career growth," says Harriet Smith, Branch Manager at Communicate Personnel in Cape Town.

Attract the right people with a compelling ad

Keep the following in mind when you prepare a job advertisement:

  • Include as much detail as possible about the position and the requirements
  • Skilled job seekers are often influenced by the company environment. Write a brief description of the benefits of working for the company. Think about adding pictures of the work environment which is possible on job boards like Careers24. The tone of the ad will also reflect the culture of your company.
  • Appearance is important. Make sure your spelling and grammar is perfect and that your ad looks good by using short, easy-to-read paragraphs.
  • Highlight the opportunity the position offers rather than just listing duties.
  • It is important to identify specific keywords that are relevant to the role and requirements. Keywords can be looked at in terms of job description and candidate requirements. A good example is if a role were to include "team management". These would stand out to the candidate when they read through the ad and help them to align themselves with the position on offer.

    However, creating an attractive job ad goes further than specific keywords. When presenting the job description, avoid simply cutting and pasting the responsibilities. Instead, offer a hook by highlighting key points to "sell" the available position.

    Place your ads in the right places

    There are a multitude of platforms that advertise positions. The key is to find the platforms that speak to the type of people you are trying to hire. Tech-savvy job seekers are increasingly using online job portals. According to Marc Privett, Head of Careers24, between 2013 and 2014, the number of users on the mobile site almost doubled while the number of sessions by these users tripled.

    Recruitment agencies could help you find the talent you need

    Recruiters often have access to talent that would be hard to find through simply placing your own job ad. Recruiters use highly effective tools like online job boards and social media platforms that complement their networks and databases.

    Laura Hutchinson, National Managing Director for Communicate Personnel says that as recruiters they recruit for multiple positions and use multiple platforms (traditional and digital/social media) to attract top talent and therefore have a much wider reach. "We interview/screen and engage with a large database of potential candidates: this is our core function. We also have a well-established network of highly skilled candidates, which has taken time and effort to build and develop.
    We've established connections with these candidates and understand their true career needs, which enable us to offer very good advice to companies when they are selecting candidates for specific roles," she adds.

    Save time through effective filtering and verification

    If possible, implement a system that helps you reject applications which do not match the job requirements. One of the most time consuming exercises when recruiting is filtering through the mass of CVs that are likely to be sent to you.

    One of these filters could be the verification process. ID number, driver's licence, CV references, matric certificate and other qualifications should all be verified. There are several independent companies that specialise in this. iFacts for example-, has partnered with Careers24 to help recruiters apply the necessary checks quickly and effectively.

    And once you have found the right person, how do you ensure they stay?

    Companies retain staff by not only offering good training, careers and remuneration, but also by meeting the needs of people through offering 'work-life balance' programmes such as alternate work schedules. Setting the right atmosphere to thrive in and providing ergonomically designed physical spaces in the workplace also goes a long way in retaining good people.

    HR is no longer a department in isolation, but forms an integral strategic component of every business going forward. As people are the beginning and end of business it is crucial we understand them.

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