Creativity is the key to finding talent

Huw Martin, Managing Director, Head Resourcing

Recruiting real talent is challenging at the best of times. Recruiting senior level, exceptional individuals with a specific skillset is even more difficult.

In Scotland, as our economy has grown over the last year, the number of people in employment has reached near record levels. To surpass these markers, it is important we maintain momentum, recruiting the finest talent to run our businesses.

With the recent decision to increase income tax for middle to high earners, we now face a risk that those in executive or leadership positions will look for vacancies outwith Scotland, so as not to be penalised for their decision to live and work in this country.

In the IT & digital world, the overriding truth is that there are far fewer people across the sector with the required skills as there are open positions. And this is an industry that is poised for continued growth.

There are many ways businesses can help mitigate the risk of a skillset shortage. Changing the nature of work, increasing flexibility in a workplace, developing capability from within (grow your own) and looking at ever increasingly creative ways of attracting talent are all contributing to the solution, but there are also ways in which businesses can help themselves.

For senior roles in rare or specific skillsets we always recommend companies exhaust their own networks first. Often the best candidate is someone that is known to the business already.

Leverage the existing external network: it’s never been easier to communicate across large groups of people. This does come with different challenges in terms of time and resource, but is without doubt a step I’d take if I were hiring any role into my organisation.

Engage specialist help –The nature of senior positions can vary dramatically depending on the roles, specialisms, sectors and cost. However, often the passive talent is the best person for a role and often the network, advertising and traditional methods simply will not attract them.

Simplify the process – One thing that cannot be overlooked is the process in place for candidates applying for a role with any company. The amount of quality senior people who are put off by a convoluted interview process, seemingly ponderous decision making (which can say a lot about the leadership of a company) or a delay in response. Streamline your process, and make it a priority.

Make them come to you – Do more to make your business attractive to potential employees. Question why you joined the organisation you currently sit in, or if you are the owner – what are the values you have used to shape the business? These days, organisations must consider more ethos-lead thinking. Branding, reputation, company values, flexibility, diversity & inclusiveness all have a bearing on an employee’s view of an organisation and affect the desirability of a job.

In order for Scotland to grow, it’s critical that we encourage the best possible individuals to live and work in Scotland, irrespective of changing tax climate and the challenges of finding the right people in a highly competitive environment.  We can all do more to make that happen.