HR Corner

HR Advice On Recruiting And Employing

Recruiting Talent

The trick with recruiting top talent cost effectively is finding people that others are not already targeting.  Here is a way to get your creative juices running.

Take a marketing approach to the recruitment challenge and think about the four elements of your marketing mix – Product, Place, Price and Promotion. Let’s take each in turn

Product – what are you offering that will distinguish you from the competitors and attract the talent to your job? Full time, long term employment? career prospects? Flexibility? Freedom? Challenge? Training and development? Better pay and conditions? Opportunity to travel? Opportunity to grow with the company? And so forth.  These will vary depending on if you are a small or large employer, or a start up or well established brand.  You should also think about these in terms of the message it sends to the talent that you want to recruit and retain.

Place – what can you do here that gives you ‘an edge’? Is this flexible – times of work, location of work, working from home; is your business located in a low cost or high cost area? Is there high or low unemployment? What are the available skills? What transferable skills can you tap into and transform.

Price – how does your pay/reward compare? Generally the less you wish or can afford to pay the more you need to do on the other areas.  Whilst there is considerable evidence that people are not motivated by money alone it is a good 'iniital hook' so if you do not have the luxury of being able to compete on salary/financial benefits, think about the other things you can offer that will be just as if not more attractive to some of your target candidates.

Promotion – how do you plan to attract people? There is a simple balance here. Time vs. Cash. The more time you can put into it the lower the cost. Think about sources of candidates and where you might find people and then target these - flyers to checkout operators for telesales jobs, lunch time gym for creatives etc.

You should then do a simple SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.

Think about who your competitors are for the people and skills you are looking for. Think also of the different sources of suitable people. You need to think very broadly. The more sources you can identify the larger your candidate pool and the greater you chances of both finding and recruiting the people you need

What do you have that will:

  1. Appeal to your target group; and
  2. Distinguish you from your competitors. 
If you are a very small company – what can you sell as the benefits? Conversely if you are large, what would you identify here?

Think about this from the point of view of the candidates you are trying to attract and your competitors.  What might put them off joining you - find ways to mitigate these

Have you explored the types of flexibility you are willing to offer? Have you thought about what you can do to make you company an attractive recruiter? Do you know what your target candidates value, see as important, would be attracted to?

What might make your competitors or other companies in the same location more attractive than you? What happens if you train people and they leave? And so on.

Having done the SWOT use the thinking to come up with answers and solutions to the problems and to frame and shape your positioning in the market place.  Thinking and acting strategically will reap rewards.

8 things Managers want from HR
Competent Professionals
  • Resourcing strategy & practice
  • Effective Recruitment and Retention
  • Organisational development
  • Performance management
  • Pay & benefits strategy & practice
  • Climate control & communications
  • Employee/Industrial relations & law
Can Do Attitude
  • Problem solving & innovation
  • Contributes to success
  • Business aligned policies and processes
  • Customer driven, not product led Business Understanding
  • Organisational understanding
  • Financial understanding
  • Industry sector understanding
  • Action oriented
  • Pro-active
  • Delivers what promised when promised
Change Management Capability
  • Consulting skills
  • Process management skills
  • Stakeholders influence
  • Role influence
Personal Credibility
  • Accuracy & consistency
  • Reliability & integrity
  • Building constructive relationships
  • Paying attention to stakeholders
Strategic Contribution
  • Challenging & supporting leadership teams
  • Strategic visioning & focus
  • Business partnership
  • Trust
  • Use of technology to aid processes
  • Data available for decision making
Role of HR in Mergers and Acquisitions

This brief guide focuses on the role of HR in the three phases of the acquisition process itself rather than the broader areas of strategy and operations important to a company with a continuing acquisition intent.  Thus scouting and opportunity identification (which comes prior to the transaction side); and overall organisation/HR strategy and ‘fitness', are not covered.


This phase is concerned with evaluating the people related aspects of value retention and deal structure (including incentivisation and retention).  It includes:

  • HR due diligence - review of all people related policies, contractual obligations, HR related liabilities and assets of the target company, including identification of risks, liabilities and opportunities associated with the deal or new ownership. 
  • Management due diligence - identification of leadership capability/bench strength (key to evaluating the need to replace or strengthen the leadership team post acquisition).  This should also include evaluating the feasibility of retaining key talent and ideas on how to ‘lock in' key talent as part of the bid process.
  • Pensions due diligence - evaluation and risk assessment of pension arrangements, liabilities and funding.


  • Supporting the deal team with information about post purchase arrangements for staff - which often increases the willingness of the company to sell to you.
  • Providing subject matter expertise and/or negotiating key people and pension related elements of the deal.
  • Assessing and approving disclosure documents and elements of the transaction agreement.
  • Establishing working protocols for the pre-transaction period such as sanctioning any people related actions including pay increases, bonuses and recruitment.
  • Lead HR planning process for all people related matters including appointments (philosophy and process), proposal for integration (absorption, preservation etc).

Post Transaction

  • HR plays a pivotal role during the integration phase and has three main activities:
  • Supporting the line in their integration activities (organization design, appointments, retention, communication).
  • Organizing and integrating HR .
  • Managing the HR integration. Including, where appropriate, integrating payroll, benefits plans, HR policies etc.
  • Synergy tracking
  • Communication to all employees.
  • Facilitating organisation learning from M&As.

Human Resources Vision and Values

HR purpose
Our purpose is to add value to the business by enabling continual improvement in the performance and contribution of all staff.

We will do this by:

  • Helping managers strategically manage the future needs of the business for skilled staff;
  • Leading, influencing, and supporting our internal clients to ensure best practice in the management of people;
  • Supporting, facilitating and encouraging a culture in the organisation of superior performance and effective project management/working;
  • Helping employees flourish at work by encouraging and supporting self-managed learning and helping them develop skills and confidence to take personal responsibility;
  • Adopting a problem-solving approach;
  • Building our relationship with our customers by providing them clarity of service in dedicated teams with a distinctive house-style.

Our values as a team:

  • We will provide our customers with a responsive and reliable service;
  • Our approach to individuals will be consistent and fair;
  • We will be open and clear on boundaries to confidentiality;
  • We will strive for excellence in the work we do;
  • As a team we will value and continually develop our professional expertise;
  • Support each other in what we do.

How we work:

  • We believe that it is the line manager's accountability and responsibility to manage all aspects of employing people - their motivation, their well-being, their quality of work, their career development, their performance management;
  • Human Resources has a role to play in best equipping the manager to do this, by sharing and developing best practice and in providing expertise and support in this process;
  • Human Resources has a role to play opposite all staff in best equipping them to get the best from their manager and their employment.

Our definition of excellent service:

  • Combining competence with care
  • Treating people as individuals
  • Doing more than expected and being proactive
  • Customer-driven not product-led
  • Attentive to detail
  • Balancing effort with value and risk
  • Being consistent
  • Constantly looking for ways to improve

Resources Available on

In addition we offer the following resources for HR people:

  • A knowledge centre which includes information and articles for HR as well as candidates, employers and recruiters. Please let us know if there is anything you would like us to add to the centre
  • A forum which brings together recruiters, candidates and employers as well as employees, consultants and interims and HR people.
  • HR and recruitment consulting information in our consulting centre
  • A range of psychometric tools and advice in our psychometrics centre
  • Details of recruitment related suppliers on our suppliers directory
  • Details of various job boards in our job boards directory
  • A recruiters corner where recruiters rate the best and worst candidate and employer behaviours.
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