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Eight Factors for a Successful Recruitment Strategy

‘The cost of a bad hire is three times more than the salary’ (REC, 2017)

Making the right leadership hire is vital for any organisation. Not only is there the financial impact but there is also the impact on achieving milestones, culture, reputation and your team if it does not go as planned.

However, a leadership hire can often feel even more challenging for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which often have limited resources and are competing with larger organisations for talent.

To find and secure top talent, a well-planned recruitment strategy is vital. But where do you begin?

Here are eight factors Tribus People recommends considering when planning your recruitment strategy.

1. Starting sooner rather than later! It takes time to find and embed the right person into a senior role (the hiring process can take up to 8 weeks, then include the notice period which is likely 3 to 6 months and then the bedding in time which is normally 6 to 12 months).

2. Consider if there is anyone internally who, with support and development, could slide into the role. If hiring internally, remember to consider the time needed to backfill the role, plus any development time required. The timing of hiring internally can be reduced with the right succession planning.  

3. Run a proper process to ensure you find and hire the best person for the role/team/company rather than falling into the trap of hiring quickly or only considering those who are actively looking. A thorough process that includes headhunting allows you access to those who are not actively looking, widening your pool of candidates. The Benefits of a thorough search and competitive process include better quality candidates and increased diversity, and therefore a better choice of candidate.

4. Carefully consider your leadership requirements. This is a golden opportunity to revise an existing role and bring in fresh thinking, and diversity which could overcome any skills and competency gaps in the senior leadership team.

  • Begin by mapping your current team’s skills/competencies to understand your starting point before drawing up a thorough job description, and person specification and agreeing on the interview criteria.
  • Make sure your ‘essential’ criteria really are essential to keep your candidate pool/options as broad as possible. Don’t fall into the trap of hiring a clone. As Matthew Syed states ‘Hiring a clone of yourself only duplicates your weaknesses’.

5. Sell the opportunity on the journey ahead and company culture. From experience, senior leaders looking for new roles want to understand the issues or opportunities within the company they join. Is this a rescue mission, are you on a growth trajectory, or something else? Candidates already performing well at this level are looking for a strong pull to leave their current role and join you – help them clearly see the part they’ll play in the journey ahead, understand your ‘why’ and feel the alignment in values.

“Statistics suggest that employees who are driven by a clear sense of purpose are 64% more likely to be highly engaged in their work and 50% more likely to stay with the company long-term. Hiring for ‘why’ is not just a feel-good strategy; it’s a strategic advantage that propels individuals and businesses to reach extraordinary heights.” – Simon Sinek

6. Keep the recruitment process streamlined! 60% of job seekers have dropped out of a hiring process because it was too lengthy or complicated. The phrase ‘time kills deals’ is as true now as ever. Keep top talent interested and within the process by keeping it streamlined, straightforward and enjoyable.

7. Provide a clear onboarding process. Research suggests companies with a formal onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity, 50% greater new hire retention, and a 36% decrease in time to productivity. Your recruitment strategy shouldn’t stop at a job offer. Plan to have a clear onboarding process that welcomes your new leader and sets them up for success.

8. Offer continual coaching and development opportunities: Opportunities to develop personally and professionally are generally very attractive for senior leaders. Arrange a leadership coach or mentor or help the transition into the new role and beyond to develop skills, and confidence and enable a sounding board outside of colleagues within the business.

Remember, finding and embedding the right leadership is an investment (of time and money) in your organisation’s future, and it’s worth the time and effort to get it right.

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