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Financial Services recruitment: How to stay ahead of the curve

Over the past couple of years we have seen HR approval turnaround times increase across the Financial Services sector. In fact, we are finding that in some cases, time to hire figures across mid-junior level recruitment is taking months rather than weeks. The impact that this can have on business productivity is phenomenal. Unfilled roles will leave organisations with significant skills gaps, leading to a negative impact on output and worse still, a considerable effect on the bottom line.

Chris Merrick

Chris Merrick

Coupled with this, in a jobs market which is now largely candidate-led, high in demand job seekers with the necessary skills for these roles are now basing their employment choices, in some cases, on the organisation that is quickest to make an offer. In fact, in a scenario where candidates are talking to multiple companies that can fulfil their needs, and that they believe are leaders in their market, it is often the deciding factor. This means that across the Financial Services sector, businesses are missing out on potentially great talent, all because their HR and resourcing processes are inefficient. Essentially, the slower they are, the harder it will be to recruit good candidates.

Below, I discuss why financial services organisations need to ensure they have an efficient recruitment process in place, if they want to stay ahead of the curve:

Engage early

Across the Financial Services sector, organisations must start recognising that the very best candidates may now receive two or three offers at the same time, and are therefore more likely to go with an organisation that has nurtured them and ultimately made them feel wanted.

Resourcing efficiencies and the attraction of great candidates goes hand in hand. You need to be able to attract the right people, often candidates that are not actively looking for a move, at the right time, and once you have identified those candidates you must ensure that the process to screen, interview, offer and on-board them is efficient and positive. Many of us will have been approached about opportunities that have then taken weeks or even months to progress, an instant turn off for me when considering a business I want to work for.

Our latest Workforce Horizons report found that HR decision makers across the UK understand that identifying and nurturing top talent at an early stage is highly important. The survey found 94% of respondents believe it is vital that employers engage with the very best talent before a position is even available. The question is: how do you get the balance between early engagement, and making sure the candidate feels that they are moving toward the next step in their career?

Define your recruitment strategy

There are a number of reasons the recruitment process takes so long. It could be that there is no definitive recruitment strategy in place, and line managers and directors alike are having to pencil in CV screenings and interviews around their busy schedules. To add to this, most businesses have now been stripped right back, meaning workloads have significantly increased and recognising that early engagement is essential, companies are approaching candidates before roles have even been identified and a hiring budget agreed The final point is obviously a positive move, but if handled in the wrong way can really damage your ability to hire the people you want in your business.

Partnering with recruitment organisations who have the tools and expertise to manage your process, and creating a defined recruitment strategy with them, can immediately remove some of this burden. Professional recruiters can advise on the issues you are likely to face, make useful introductions to the wider tools available in the market, and not just act as a CV sending service. They can build, develop and manage specific talent pools on your behalf, (which is key to reducing time-to-hire figures across the industry), whilst ensuring you are able to continue to attract the most talented and sought after people.

Get business buy-in early

Another important step to take is to discuss this recruitment strategy with line managers and directors as early as possible to ensure everyone's buy-in from the outset. This will immediately speed up approval turnaround times as managers will know what role they play in the recruitment process, how much input they'll need to give and the immediate benefits of getting the right people and skills into their teams. The nature of recruitment is that it is unpredictable. People leave unexpectedly, contracts are won that require quick ramp up and business strategies change to meet the demands in the market. However if you can support this with a workforce plan and a recruitment process and strategy that is pre agreed and communicated, but flexible enough to cope, then your business will see a real improvement on the people that you attract into your organisation.

The financial services industry has seen some tumultuous times over the past decade, and there has definitely been some lessons learnt around recruitment and retention of talent. What's clear from the above is that in order to remain competitive in 2016 and beyond, financial services organisations need to have efficient recruitment processes in place, which includes engaging with candidates and getting buy-in from the business as early as possible whilst not losing sight of the fact that you are trying to attract people who have emotions and make their decisions based on their first experiences with your organisation.

Not every company needs to outsource the end to end process. There are efficiencies to be gained every step of the way, and finding a business that can add value at individual stages of hiring can bring you quick and significant benefits. One recruitment process does not solve everyone's challenges, it's about finding out what gaps you have and what can be enhanced. This could be anything from having the time to genuinely manage a talent pool, to dealing with the large response of candidates that apply, or it could be a process that runs from end to end and removes the burden from your business.

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