Reducing your recruitment spend…

Attracting, hiring, developing and hanging on to good people is expensive.

Talk to any Finance Director about how much people cost their will be a roll of the eyes and a shake of the head.   Managing the cost of that end to end people lifespan is challenging, especially when sales opportunity cost, people inefficiency or lack of productivity are thrown into the mix.

Naturally I am biased to the front end of that process, it’s my trade, finding and hiring good people for your organisation (and mine for that matter) but more and more I am being asked to look at the end to end process, the bit in the middle between starting and leaving.  More and more this is because of the direct link between departure and incurring cost.  Depending on which survey you look at (and there are many) that cost is anything from £5000 to £15000 or a multiple of individuals salaries.  When you look at sales people by the time you have added loss of sales, the time it takes to get them up to speed you could genuinely be looking at millions of pounds.

But there is some good news… in the main.

Organisations that have low staff attrition rates typically have lower recruiting costs. 

It makes sense.  Hire good people that are a good cultural and skill fit for your organisation and they will stay with you longer. More and more I am being asked to hire on attitude, aptitude and good emotional or intellectual fit.  Hire people that ‘get it’ then worry about their skills.  So as an organisation look not only to how you interview, select candidates etc. but revisit the ‘what you are hiring’ criteria.  Look at people that left, sift through the ‘Left for lack of career development’ and focus on whether they had the traits you were looking for in the first place.  Is their leaving a loss or not to the business?

I am a great believer in the try before you buy approach to hiring.  Ideally when I am looking at a Permanent role for me, I would want to do a two or three month day rate based assignment first - it helps test the water on both sides and leaves the door open if it isn’t working for us.  Clearly that doesn’t work for everyone, ask someone to leave a permanent role and it’s perceived safety for something else and many people will decline.

Hire your mates or sort of...

This isn’t a referral pitch however there is tangible evidence that encouraging current employees to introduce people they think are a good fit works.  It is that age old reputation thing that kicks in here.  No one wants to be known as that person that keeps bringing idiots to the business with the result that there is a natural first pass of ‘will they work out here or make me look stupid’.  From a recruiters perspective referrals can be great, they are direct, know something about the business from the referrer and are engaged.  The only word of caution is that you also don’t want to be at the other end of the scale where you have hired a whole team of mates that can also backfire.

Walk the walk...

Having worked in start up, medium and large organisations, the thing that keeps most people in a business is the career path it can offer.  This may be inside or outside an organisation.  For example I joined a large corporate organisation specifically to gain some experience of hiring large numbers of people in multiple locations even though the longer term career prospects looked poor.  Without that specific experience I would struggle today to talk to senior people within organisations about how to hire, it adds credibility.  This approach is getting more and more common.  Be committed to a role, give your best and gain some valuable experience that ultimately may no longer be needed by your employer.

One thing that I always encourage is to create an internal job market.  It is tough to achieve, especially in large corporates with their multiple theifdoms but genuine and transparent internal movement can work really well.  Recruiters in the main face the external market but they should be given free reign to proactively approach internally as well - looking at current employees as they would any other future potential hire.

It works for everyone and in the main results in an external hire at a more junior level which if you are using an agency automatically saves money.  Take it one step further, what if all your external hires were only entry level - you would be hiring on attitude and aptitude not experience, running weekly hiring days rather the the traditional treadmill of mid level recruitment.

So if you want to talk more about how I could help you get in touch.  Find me on twitter @MDangerfield or Linkedin.


Currently working across Europe with high growth, high tech organisations to develop effective blended onshore/offshore recruitment models, covering full commercial engagement, transition and ongoing delivery management.

I am an avid blogger, writer, public speaker and traveller of trains across the UK.

Follow me on twitter @MDangerfield or find me on Linkedin.