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Getting the most from recruitment

Nathan Bowles

Recruitment has always been key for any business, but as employment legislation has trebled and industrial tribunals have increased year-on-year, it is now more important than ever. With the complications and cost involved in getting the wrong people in a competitive market and damaged economy, there is a greater need for your recruitment strategy to be efficient and flexible.

There are masses of recruitment businesses trying to win your affection, so who do you trust and how do you pick a partner that is right for you? These are important questions because your recruitment partners will be looking after a wide range of posts on your behalf, from senior managers to HGV drivers. All these people will dictate your productivity, quality and safety standards; they will be the image of your business; and, perhaps, the main difference between service success and failure.

According to recruitment experts, it is about choosing a resourcing strategy that gives you more for your money than you may be experiencing now or more than you expected. To achieve added value with any supplier, you need people who understand your business so they can tailor their service for you. When this happens, you get a more personal service and, hopefully, more success for your business.

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself. Does your service provider understand the specifics of your business? Have they demonstrated attention to detail and have tried and tested procedures that they can adapt? Have they shown innovation in their processes and is their solution different from what you have been offered before?

Are the people promising you all of the above willing to give you a real service commitment, either in the form of Service Level Agreements or Key Performance Indicator agreements? Is there any provision if they fail in these promises?

What are the skills and experience of the people who are offering to support you? It is important that the people delivering the service not only know your issues and frustrations on a daily basis but are also qualified to help prevent them. It is also important for anyone who is delivering flexible or temporary labour to understand the health and safety requirements of an ever-more stringent industry. This appreciation should start before workers arrive at your premises.

A fundamental part of the process is in understanding the candidate attraction and selection methods of recruitment businesses because standards can vary dramatically. The use of social media and many innovative attraction practices can see real benefits in the quality and volume of candidates. It is also imperative to know that your business is being given priority, owing to the stigma attached to some jobs in waste.

The selection of candidates needs to be accurate and considered. Often recruitment businesses have the sole responsibility for placing staff to work within your business, so they must understand the job profiles. Poor recruitment and selection methods will result in low-calibre, under-prepared workers, followed by lacklustre performance and high turnover.

A major part of the selection process is the ability to demonstrate that the legislative requirements are monitored and adhered to. Things like failures to provide you with basic proof of ID to work in the UK can lead to expensive fines for your business. Any recruitment business that cannot demonstrate an auditable selection procedure should be avoided.

Cost will always be a consideration, and recruitment businesses should understand your budget and work our packages to help you achieve this. Encourage an open and honest approach to cost and ensure you cover everything that is to be included. The reputable businesses will be keen to work with this on you.

Nathan Bowles is chief executive of Smart Solutions Recruitment

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