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Innovative recruitment in an age of full employment


The ability of recruiters to help clients provide a better candidate experience and improve their selection processes is needed now more than ever.

Collaborative hiring is one solution that is becoming more prevalent. One of the strategies that made Apple so successful was Steve Jobs’ belief in asking people from across the organisation to play a part in choosing who should be hired. In the UK, Pret A Manger has adopted a similar approach, with candidates spending ‘experience days’ in a store, and team members voting on whether they are taken on.

Jobs transform lives

There are more people in work now in the UK than at any time since records began in 1971. Jobs transform lives and the fact that more people are feeling the financial and social benefits of work is great news. However, vacancies continue to rise, and for employers it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the talent they need to compete. 

Our data shows that 94% of organisations are operating close to full capacity, and that more than eight in ten companies intend to hire more permanent staff in the next three months. According to CEB Global, recruiting organisations have increased their budgets for candidate assessment and selection by an average of 15% over the last two years. Business leaders know that without the right people they will miss opportunities and struggle to take advantage of the UK’s favorable economic climate.

Candidate experience

With recruitment becoming more of a challenge, employers are looking for innovative ways to recruit talent. And there’s significant room for improvement. Our research shows that a third of UK adults don’t feel positive about their last experience of being a candidate.     

Collaborative hiring is one innovations that employers are turning towards, and as recruiters we should be prepared to advise clients about the merits and challenges of adopting this approach.

Who’s the boss

The merits and challenges of collaborative hiring is explored in a new TV programme on BBC Two - “Who’s The Boss” - in which three organisations try this approach for the first time.

Craft beer company BrewDog, national fruit and veg supplier Reynolds, and Beech’s, a fine chocolate manufacturer, are all trying to find talented middle managers. They create a series of real tasks for all the candidates to go through, and then hand over responsibility to their staff for appointing the right person.

By moving away from relying solely on the traditional interview and towards more job-related testing, employers are able to assess who is the best person for the job. By asking their existing team to feedback on each candidate’s performance, hirers gain more insight and so are much more likely to make the right decision.

Collaborative hiring also benefits the candidates. As an interviewee, you want to get a sense of the culture and values of the organisation. Engaging with the people that already work there during the selection process is a fantastic way to work out whether you would make a good match.

The productivity puzzle

Businesses also get the benefit of empowering their existing team and encouraging collective responsibility. A good fit with the team can make a new starter up to 30% more productive, according to CEB Global. Part of this is because employees who have played a role in hiring a new starter are more likely to help that person be successful.

Another benefit of collaborative hiring is that businesses can avoid what is known as ‘unconscious bias’ when hiring. Managers will often instinctively hire people who are similar to themselves – but in doing so organisations run the risk of missing out on diverse talent. Giving more people input in the hiring decision means it is a more robust and objective process.

Collaborative hiring is set to become a more familiar strategy as employers seek the capability to help them grow. By creating more engaging hiring strategies, organisations put themselves in a better position to attract the people they desperately need - which is great news for candidates, employers, the recruitment industry, and for the UK economy as a whole.

Source REC website