Recruit outside the tickboxes if you want top talent!

Recruitment shouldn’t be a tick-box exercise. I see it time and time again where candidates are only interviewed if they have exactly the right skills, experience and qualifications.  

Personally I think recruiters are missing a trick. There’s a massive untapped talent pool out there. A willingness to hire outside your comfort zone can bring in new skills, ideas and best practices, and add value to your business as well as your customer base. It can also bring long-term loyalty to your workforce.  

I can think of three things recruiters can do to improve their chances of finding — and keeping — the best people.  

Focus on transferable skills and aptitude for growth  

If an individual has a relevant skill set but is working in another industry, don’t rule them out. If they don’t have any prior experience in the role you’re trying to fill, look at what they do have. And even if you can’t identify a fully-fledged set of transferable skills, think about whether they could bring something to your business you hadn’t considered. An aptitude for growth and learning is a powerful quality that is sometimes more valuable to a business than direct experience or qualifications.  

Invest in training and development of your existing talent  

Too often a company will go looking for a new, ready-made employee, rather than developing the skill sets of its existing staff. This can damage the morale of promising employees who end up leaving because of a lack of job progression. There aren’t a lot of good things about a business with constant churn and no loyalty, but if you remove people’s career ladders, that’s exactly what you’ll get. Plus, grooming talent from within can save you the time, cost, hassle and risk that is associated with hiring someone new.  

So instead of just budgeting for perks, nights out and one-off seminars to drive retention, invest in developing, cross-training and upskilling by way of long-term courses and company-wide mentoring plans. After all, retaining good employees who know your business and your brand is crucial to securing your business’s future.  

Welcome diversity  

I know everyone talks about diversity and inclusion, but it’s not always in the right terms. Diversity isn’t an obligation; it’s an opportunity. One that too few businesses are taking.  

For instance, a more diverse workforce can bring in new ideas and practices and ultimately provide a better, more personal and more cohesive service. It can enable you to gain a wider cultural understanding of your customer base, and better understand your market for advertising purposes. And hiring outside your typical talent pool is often the right call when strong, more typical candidates are thin on the ground.  

I believe that companies should focus less on finding candidates that conform, and more on what candidates can offer. Companies should allow roles to mould to the talent available, not the other way around.