Sourcing the right people

Hundreds attended the Royal Caribbean recruitment fair on June 7 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port of Spain hoping to fill vacancies on the company’s cruise ships. - SUREASH CHOLAI
Hundreds attended the Royal Caribbean recruitment fair on June 7 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port of Spain hoping to fill vacancies on the company’s cruise ships. - SUREASH CHOLAI

In my last article, I looked at personality testing tools used in the recruitment process and how these tests can assist you in finding the best “fit” employee.

This week I decided to continue along that area of recruitment and consider the methods of sourcing suitable candidates, particularly in a small market such as ours.

A good place to start is your company’s internal policy on recruitment or filling of vacancies. This should always serve as your primary guide to sourcing manpower. Most policies would generally contain established procedures.

As for collective agreements, they do not lay out hiring steps, but some include a clause that speaks to the filling of vacancies within the relevant bargaining units. However, the hiring process is an absolute management right, as it is the sole prerogative of management to determine manpower requirements and make such decisions in the best interest of the organisation.

Let us establish that the recruitment process can only be initiated after it is determined that a vacancy exists, and needs to be filled.

The next questions are: how accessible are the best candidates? Do you have a “pipeline” or internal talent pool with sufficient “bench strength” to justify considering internal candidates? Should you recruit on your own (advertise, interview, assess etc), or hire a specialist agency? Or maybe use your network to put out the word, or even call on educational and technical institutions based on the position to be filled?

These are all acceptable methods of manpower sourcing.

When looking internally, the candidates’ track record is already established in the organisation. However, for key positions identified within the organisation you should create a succession plan, which must include a robust performance management system with an emphasis on talent development and retention.

There are, however, some downsides to upward movements, like the resentment of others left behind, and the fact that you can increase the risk of creating an inflexible culture.

If you decide to do it yourself and seek external candidates, consider the possibility of getting a high number of unsuitable applicants, as your internal hirers may not know which source will offer a pool of the most suitable candidates.

It is also possible that your hiring personnel may also have lack understanding of sourcing strategies, which could affect the vacant job function to be filled. Additionally, it will be more time-consuming managing the recruitment process.

On the upside, it is, however, much more cost-effective to affect the recruitment process yourself, all things being equal.

The main advantage of using a specialist recruiter is that they may possess the required technical capacity using advanced tracking systems to quickly and easily review a relatively high volume of resumes and expedite the necessary shortlistings.

HR will have more time to spend on his/her substantive job function, as the specialist will oversee the job description, filter unqualified candidates, do the matching, handle reference checks etc. Those who are well connected in the industry can headhunt passive candidates and may have access to a larger candidate pool. Recruiter specialists may even fill positions for you with their contracted workers.

Remember, doing it yourself may or may not save you money, because a wrong hire can be very costly.

The likely disadvantage to hiring a specialist recruiter is that they may not fully understand your business and its culture and may overlook key aspects of the candidate and misguide you. You will have to consider, of course, the added expense and whether the time saved and the reduced risks and costs associated with a wrong hire will offset the cost of outsourcing.

Another disadvantage of a specialist recruiter could be a misrepresentation of the company’s culture and resulting miscommunication.

Today, simply advertising using the traditional media is not enough. As social networking is widely available through platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to name a few, these avenues offer an additional source of coverage to capture the right applicant.

A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) discovered that 77 per cent of organisations used social networking sites to assist in their recruitment process, not only to ensure a broader reach but also to recruit that passive applicant.

Another avenue worth exploring is your employees' networks. Your employees can essentially become advocates for your organisation and extend your reach to their former university colleagues and past co-workers, even if they are not actively looking for a job, and there again growing your passive and even your unsolicited applicants’ pool.

Candidates can also come from learning institutions, universities, and trade schools, which offer a large pool of young qualified and talented applicants. These institutions allow you to save time, effort and eliminate expenses such as advertising, initial screening, final selection procedures and so on, thus reducing the usual manpower necessary to undertake a recruitment exercise.

Sourcing done well should deliver a great hire with less time spent and money saved or strategically invested. In deciding whether to carry out the recruitment process on your own, hire a specialist recruiter, or a combination, you should consider the position you are seeking to fill and your budget for this recruitment process.


"Sourcing the right people"

More in this section