Our blog aims to shed light upon the problems surrounding poor hires, while providing helpful, constructive advice to businesses facing recruitment challenges today. 
This time, our Managing Director, Nick Peacock, shares his top tips on how companies and agencies can improve their own recruitment strategies and safeguard against mis-hires. It’s much easier than you think! 

How do businesses ensure they are hiring suitable candidates? 

Placements whereby candidates have remained in their roles for over 6 months are considered successful. Based on this, we [Ascendant Recruitment] have successfully placed 95% of our employees. 
Our secret? We speak to our clients and really try to understand exactly who it is they’re looking for and what they want the new hire to bring to the table. Agencies shouldn’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions, such as why the company’s last employee didn’t work out and what their expectations are as an employer. 
Employers should always be looking to improve their recruitment strategy, and should put aside plenty of time to sift through CVs and create interview questions that test the candidate’s competencies and suitability for the role. Set clear expectations and consider implementing a trial period. 
Candidates too, have a part to play here. They should be honest about their experience and address any skill-gaps that require training or support at the interview stage. Employers value honesty and if the candidate highlights areas that require support, it’s the employer’s responsibility to provide the necessary training. 

What is the key to staff retention? 

It’s simple really: employees want to be recognised for their hard work, commitment and achievements in the workplace. Tokens of gratitude – whether financial or verbal – really do make all the difference to the general attitude on both an individual and organisational level. 
Employers need to recognise that their staff’s mind-set and happiness are an integral part to the success of the business. 

So what does this look like in practice? 

Managers should offer regular 1-2-1’s with their team members, as this gives employees the opportunity to voice concerns, issues or any challenges they are facing. 
Employees like to have a career trajectory in mind. Establish goals and dates for when these goals can be met, and be clear as to what their rewards will be, such as promotion, greater responsibility, pay rise etc. Accountability is key. If employees are simply going through the motions, chances are they will get bored and feel demotivated and this will impact their productivity levels too. 
Other benefits employers may consider include: flexible working conditions, bonuses, team away days and allowing employees greater responsibility and ownership of projects. 
Read our blog post on ‘Six Ways to Keep Employees Happy and Motivated’ for tips on how to achieve and sustain a happy workforce. 

Can you offer advice to businesses with staffing issues? 

In fast-paced environments, companies fall into the trap of hiring ill-equipped candidates. They then put up with poor performance due to lack of time and an increasing workload. It’s a vicious cycle, but it doesn’t have to be this way. 
Companies should always be on the lookout for potential candidates and create a talent pool for future hires, as long as it complies with the recent GDPR. Allow for a lengthier recruitment process – plan ahead and start early to avoid making poor decisions. 

What can recruitment agencies do to counter mis-hires? 

Be thorough and ask the right questions. Find out who the company’s best employee is and why. Only then can you understand where a company places value when it comes to personality traits, skills and competencies. 
Understand both the desirable and undesirable aspects of the role as well as the organisation’s culture. I encourage my own employees to spend a morning shadowing the role they’re advertising – this improves their understanding and better-equips them to answer any questions. 

How can recruiters improve their hiring strategy? 

A staggering 85 per cent of HR decision-makers admit their organisation has made a bad hire, and four in ten employers believe that the recruitment strategy should be improved, including the way interviews and assessments are facilitated. 
To avoid this, companies should focus on creating a sustainable talent acquisition strategy using fail-safe methods such as referencing and employee referrals, combined with innovative approaches such as programmatic advertising (a new method where automated job ads target suitable candidate profiles). 

How often should employers be looking for fresh talent? 

Managers should aim to meet at least one talent a month. That way they’re in-tune with the marketplace and have a realistic view of the standard within their industry. In turn, this will help them identify any existing employees that are underachieving. 
If employers have a fresh talent pool they’re less likely to ‘put up with’ inefficient and disengaged staff. Too many managers make do because they think it’s better to have someone working at 40% than starting the painful process of recruiting. 
However an A-rate candidate can outperform a C-rate candidate by 40%. So, for a small fee we [Ascendant Recruitment] can increase departmental productivity by 60%. Let us go and replicate your stars for you! 
If you’re a business looking for a recruitment agency in Northampton or Milton Keynes, contact Ascendant Recruitment today. Email [email protected] or call 01908 200270 (Milton Keynes) / 01604 439380 (Northampton). 
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