Knowledge Centre for recruitment

mlh global hr consulting

Finding Talent in a Competitive World

This article has been sponsored.

With talent being key to business growth, I first pulled together the thinking that underpins this article for a presentation at a small business forum ‘Growing Your Own Business’. Much of it is just as applicable to larger organisations, including the HR Function.

Owners of small businesses usually have a good idea of the basics of marketing. This may or may not be formalised and may or may not encompass the latest jargon but the thinking is sound. It has to be, without it there would be no business. One of my particular passions is HR functions, their capability and their credibility. Hopefully the commercial/marketing focus of this article will also be helpful to them.

My key message is that you should treat recruitment as you would any marketing campaign. 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? And so forth.

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?

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 others.

Promotion – how do you plan to attract people? There is a simple balance here. Cash vs. Time. The more time you can put into it the lower the cost.

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. will 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

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

About the author …

Lisette Howlett, Managing Consultant/Director, mlh global hr consulting, has a unique range and breadth in HR and a track record of achievement spanning over 20 years global Human Resources in companies such as Zeneca/AstraZeneca and Syngenta. This includes extensive global HR project and content leadership and internal/external HR consulting covering UK, U.S., Switzerland, Europe, and Asia.

Additionally Lisette is founder of a website to deliver independent ratings and information about firms throughout the recruitment industry.

She writes and presents on a wide range of topics including recruitment, recruitment effectiveness, integrated talent management and the people and organisation side of Mergers and Acquisitions.
Finding Talent in a Competitive World