Continuous recruitment can keep a company agile and resilient

Continuous recruitment can keep a company agile and resilient

So, if you read this title, your probably thinking “well yes of course you would say that Luca – you’re a recruiter”.

22 September 2021

So, if you read this title, your probably thinking “well yes of course you would say that Luca – you’re a recruiter”.

Well, that’s true. Obviously, I rely on companies to recruit to earn a living. But it’s no different to the advice that other professionals would give. A good dentist would advise you to have a regular check-up. A personal trainer will tell you to go to the gym more often. A mechanic will tell you to service your car once a year.

Recruitment is also one of those activities that can be good for the health of a company. It’s very valuable during periods of rapid change. That is particularly true now. After all, we have just gone through one of the most disruptive events in work history – the pandemic.

Multi-year recruitment programmes that previously help drive careers and foster a certain office culture might not be so useful anymore. They will need a new continuous recruitment strategy to bring in a fresh flow of talent that can handle rapid change. This will mean getting “uncomfortable” with new recruitment methods to stay agile and nimble.

Let’s discuss three examples on how a company can do this.

1. Create new roles that are cross-functional by design

Prior to the pandemic job roles tended to be more specialised and focused. The drawback to this type of specialism is that it can also reduce the agility of a company. Hiring candidates who can flexibly operate across multiple functions protects the business from risks that might not otherwise be seen from a single function. It also creates a more exciting work environment and prevent silos within the business from forming.

For instance, if a CFO can also understand the operational challenges of a company, then they can tangibly see how a company's finances are intrinsically linked to its operations. In such an environment, it's far easier for a company to be nimble and agile make decisions that benefit the business because the flow of information is much more shareable.

It also creates a more social atmosphere within the workplace where teams who would not otherwise mingle, work together to solve issues that directly affect the company.

2. Make flexible job descriptions

This goes hand-in-hand with the first point about creating roles that are cross functional by design. Sometimes reducing the amount of detail in the job description and creating a little slack can make it easier to find the right candidate. It can increase the number of candidates that might apply, which then may inspire the hiring manager to consider a candidate they might not otherwise have done.

It also allows the job description to be fine-tuned with the successful candidate that is eventually selected. This results in a candidate whose expectations are met and whose job is clearly defined before they start. It also allows the company to adjust quickly to changes that might be happening during the recruitment process.

Increasing the flexibility of the job description can also prevent candidates from being discouraged from applying. For instance, it may not be necessary to insist on fluency in the native language of the Canton i.e. German, French or Italian, if the company’s operating language is English. Insisting on certain academics might not also be necessary if it’s not the core criteria for doing the role.

A better approach would be to select candidates that are willing to embrace continuous learning. Through training and education, the perfect candidate for the company can be created. Language courses can be booked and executive work programmes can help create experienced employees.

3. Make sure the hiring manager is also agile and nimble

Of course, this is a no-brainer. But I see this all the time. Quite often you have a conservative hiring manager who has risen through the ranks of management just because they have worked in the company for a long time. When it comes to hiring decisions, they often choose a candidate who can sit comfortably below them in the pecking order.

I've often tried to place highly dynamic candidates, who are then passed over because the hiring manager feels intimidated by that person’s dynamism and experience. One of the best pieces of advice I give to hiring managers is to pick people who are smarter and more talented than you.

As a hiring manager your duty is to hire the best person for the company and not for yourself. If they hire out of self-preservation then you will struggle to succeed with the team you lead. Your job in a leadership position should be about serving and helping the talented employees that you have hired to achieve the company’s goals.

So, what’s the bottom line here? Continuous recruiting forces you to be agile and resilient in an environment full of change. It brings a constant flow of new talent into the company. Consequently, it increases diversity within the workforce and cohesion. It’s also great for a company’s employer brand because it shows your hiring and growing.

But continuous recruiting by itself is not enough – you need to use the right techniques and change your mindset. Your recruitment strategy therefore also needs to be agile and nimble.

Luca Semeraro

Head of Badenoch & Clark
Zurich, Switzerland

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