How can recruiters help clients find candidates in short supply?

Clients don’t always see recruiters as their business partner and pick our brains enough. They can forget that we provide a free advisory service when they are unsure about a sector, or need to identify specific skills in short supply. By contacting a specialist recruiter that’s honest and trustworthy, it is possible to benefit from some expert advice.

It is not news that the tech sector in particular is facing a critical shortage of good candidates. Being able to help clients facing this problem ultimately comes down to whether a recruiter has access to the right international network of candidates who have already been carefully vetted for their skillsets. Hence why say we have a global view of niche markets - because we are specialists with an international candidate pool.

Two way partnerships

To be successful, recruiters need to become true consultants and partners to the client businesses they work with, advising them objectively and providing specialist search and networking skills when needed. For instance, we are currently working closely with clients to properly understand emerging markets like AI and robotic business process automation, so we can start to secure candidates in these highly sought-after areas before their needs become critical.

How can you build credibility with the client and identify good candidates, without really understanding what they are looking for? You don’t need to be a subject matter expert in the market, but you certainly need to be an expert recruiter, with sufficient expertise to screen candidates and rigorously evaluate them. Achieving this requires longevity in a market and specialist recruiters who cover niche verticals, so they can develop a deep understanding. They need to know who the good candidates are and how they can access them to enhance particular client organisations.

Protecting against a candidate drought?

There are multiple aspects to this. Proper workforce planning conducted in conjunction with a client helps us to understand what their business needs are likely to be and how viable that plan is. Ideally, HR should be sitting down with the CTO or CIO at the beginning of a financial year, to understand what the upcoming projects and programmes are or what their resourcing needs will be and then working with a specialist recruiter to source the required people - well in advance of time. If contractors are needed, these individuals may already be employed and a specialist recruiter can assist by advising when they will become available. For instance, the best person for a project may not be available when a client has planned for a project to start and timings may need adjusting.

Nuances of contract negotiations

Offering candidates a long term, 12-month contract with a notice period can be a good strategy to adopt during a talent shortage. Not only do you gain more security, but you are also locking the candidate into a specific day rate. It’s a much better approach than short term or rolling contracts, because this can leave the client more exposed to poaching by competitors. They also need to be prepared to recruit talent that is specialised earlier than they might need those skills, to secure the right people in advance. When recruiting for permanent positions, it is important to be flexible, look at transferable skills, train people internally and look at other markets for talent. However, this can make a candidate open to being poached if they are offered a chance to develop sought after skills, so this would need to be addressed too.

Look beyond the borders

It is also important to look internationally - there are fantastic candidates overseas that would love to come and work in the UK, they just need to be supported. The client benefits from obtaining the right skills and also improving diversity within their organisations. The value of a more diverse workforce is already recognised and is particularly needed within the tech sector where representation is around just 16%. Clients need to hire more women and often the best way to do this is to consider aspiring female candidates with the right trajectory and help them to gain the other skills required to do the job.

Above all, we believe that honesty is essential as a foundation for an ongoing relationship. Recruiters can have a poor reputation for honesty and we fight against this on a regular basis. Our policy is to be honest with our clients and if necessary, suggest they try a different recruiter rather than fail to meet their expectations. From experience, clients have always valued this and it’s why we have fostered such long term relationships.

To discuss your recruitment needs please get in touch with Rob Johnson by emailing robj@global-resourcing.com.

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