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By Peter Maloney, CFO, at Jobvite

Life is never simple for an executive. Providing leadership on strategic and operational initiatives, ranging from the company’s financials through to obtaining that next piece of business, but the fortunes of a company, whether under their control or not, falls almost solely on their shoulders.

Alongside this, there has been a shift in what issues are regarded as C-Level. For example, a few years ago, most executives would have left technology to those in the IT department, but with the ever expanding influence it has on both our personal and working lives, finding ways of using it to a company’s advantage is now seen as part of their remit. The same is occurring for recruitment, particularly in the financial sector. According to the latest research from Robert Half, almost half of CFOs have said that finding the right quality of staff is a key challenge, with 85% worried their top performers will move jobs. This is what is keeping CFOs up at night.

The current environment does not help either. The UK is currently undergoing a talent war, making it harder than ever to retain and attract the best candidates, and finance is no exception. For many executives, losing out on a brilliant employee to a competitor is unthinkable. How is a company meant to grow if it does not have the requisite staff? This is why the hiring process is not just a HR issue, but one that requires the attention of the whole company.

Incorporate Mobile in Career Sites

If you are going to overhaul your recruitment strategies to attract the best talent the financial services industry has to offer, the first place to look at is mobile —  the technology that has revolutionised the world. Transport, banking, gaming and many more have been irrevocably altered by mobile and financial services recruitment, if not recruitment in general, should be no exception. The facts back this up. Research by Nielsen showed that 91% of adults have a phone within arm’s reach 24 hours a day and, alongside this, active SIM cards outnumber the amount of people on earth. Mobile is here to stay.

With all this information available, you would assume that recruiters have already embraced mobile — well, you would be incorrect. Despite the fact that 43% of job seekers use their mobiles to look for work, according to the findings of Jobvite’s 2015 Job Seeker Nation Study, UK organisations are spending less than a thousand pounds a year on mobile career websites. Creating one of these should be a priority if you want to attract the top talent in your sector.

A common way many organisations start off with mobile recruitment is by rendering their desktop careers page for a handheld device. Unfortunately, this regularly leads to problems, ranging from images loading incorrectly to some elements simply not working. With attention spans on the decline and first impressions more important than ever, you cannot afford to lose potential candidates by using a sub-standard site to attract them. Instead, the whole application process has to be mobile optimised. You want a potential, already busy, financial services candidate to painlessly apply for a job, undergoing a seamless journey from start-to-finish. Executives need to ensure this exists in their businesses.

On Board with Social Media

Once you have created a slickly designed mobile career site that can be used to easily apply for jobs, your next step is making sure your recruitment funnel is full. Social media has become huge business, with Facebook in particular having 1.59 billion monthly active users. With so many people online, this should be a key location for recruiters to source the best candidates. This is not the case though, as Jobvite’s 2015 Job Seeker Nation Study revealed that 60% of recruiters do not use this channel to find workers. They are missing out on a massive opportunity.

With so many people active on social networks, it is a prime place to find some of the best and brightest financial services candidates around. Considered alongside the fact that social media recruitment is not commonly practised in the UK, it means your company can not only differentiate itself by operating on the networks, but also pick the cream of the crop with less chance of a competitor catching them first. With recruitment a C-Level issue, it is vital executives ensure their HR teams are fully involved in social media.

A Strong Brand is a Strong Company

It is not just direct hires that social media helps with. An employer brand, something that should be a priority for any organisation, has its foundations on social media. Uncertain of its importance? Just consider that one in ten recruiters suggest that brand awareness is a key challenge they face in attracting top talent, especially those that are younger.

Millennials, amongst which the next swathe of financial leaders will be found, differ from the previous generations in that they want to work for a business that reflects themselves. They grew up in a digital world and, with all the potential self-expression that brings, Millennials want their job to be more than just a place they work. To connect with this generation you need to ensure your business’ personality shines and social media is perfect for this. For example, getting your staff to post on social networks and sharing photos or videos from your office can give a company a human and inclusive feel, helping attract the younger generation.

Alongside this, having a strong employer brands helps your company stick in people’s minds — a very important element when you are up against stiff competition from multinational financial firms for the best talent. The fact of the matter is that most people are not currently looking for a job. Instead, many idly browse the latest opportunities without taking any immediate action. Connecting with them at this stage is key. If you display an attractive employer brand, when they begin looking for a new role, your business is at the front of their mind. Recruitment has become far more like marketing in this regard: it is about reaching the right person at the right time. Executives must foster this attitude amongst their HR and recruitment teams, ensuring that the majority of outward company interaction is geared towards creating an attractive employer brand.

The Right Tech at the Right Time

Despite all the positivity that will arise when following the above steps, much of it is useless unless your recruitment team has the correct platform to work from. With a fully operational and mobile recruitment strategy, it is important your team has the tools to deal with the inevitable influx of candidates.

The key to this is investing in an Applicant Tracking System, or ATS. The function of the technology is to ensure relationships are managed efficiently and effectively. Think back to the earlier comment on recruitment becoming like marketing: would you trust a retailer that sent you the exact same product offer week after week? Or would you be more likely to take up an offer if it is customised to you? The same is true of recruitment. You need to enable your recruitment team to contact the right candidate at the right time with the right message and the easiest way to achieve this is with technology.

Using an ATS can also have a huge impact on reducing the administrative workload on the HR and recruitment teams. It can complete many of the tasks that take up professionals’ time, blocking them from actually hiring people that can drive your company further forward. When you consider that only 27% of UK recruiters are currently using an ATS, its benefits become even more pronounced, as it helps you provide an onboarding hiring experience a cut above many other businesses.

The fact of the matter is that hiring is no longer the sole remit of the HR department, it is the remit of every line of business manager. The talent war has become intense and, with people being central to the success of any business, it is an issue executives must be aware of. It is the responsibility of the CFO and other members of the board to ensure the hiring practices of financial organisations are up-to-scratch — even if just through providing the right level of investment. With the market so competitive and staffing quickly rising up everyone’s priorities, it is essential the HR and recruitment department are using modern tactics and have up to date software. Without the best people, a company cannot thrive. Learn that before it is too late.