The decorations are back up in the loft, the last mince pie is long gone and business is back to normal for another year.
As another January flies in, so do the traditional New Year’s resolutions.
68% of us started off the year with the resolve to make a change in 2018*. Unsurprisingly, the most popular resolution is to eat healthier and get fit (although for most I’m sure this resolve is already beginning to waiver…)
Not far behind is the determination to move jobs. Which is why January is the busiest time of year for job applications, January 27th to be exact**.
Similarly, lots of companies, will be taking a look at their strategic projects and planning the resources they will require for the year ahead.
But then again lots of companies won’t.
Businesses plan projects with excruciating detail, every millimetre of a construction or business change project will be accounted for, every task will be scheduled to the hour. Which is why it’s surprising that when analysing upcoming projects, people planning is so frequently overlooked or underestimated.
Finding the best talent at senior levels doesn’t happen overnight, especially considering the looming skills shortage in transport and infrastructure that we hear so frequently about. So putting off the search for top people to fulfil these roles will only lead to problems later down the line.
The average executive search takes 3 and a half months from start to finish, with board positions often taking as long as 6 months to fill. So it is critical to get the planning process started as soon as possible if you want your plans for 2018 to run smoothly.
So what are the key milestones of recruitment planning that you need to be aware of to make your 2018 plans a reality?
1. Defining the requirements
Before a recruitment process can even begin to formulate, you need to agree internally what you are recruiting for, what skills and experience the role needs, where it will sit within the organisation, how much you are prepared to pay and how you are going to recruit the role.
Sounds simple right?
This step alone can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks depending on who needs to be involved in making the decisions.
Make sure you get all of the key players together from the outset to finalise these points and commit to them. Starting a search with a vague idea of salary or job specification is pointless and will slow down the entire process even further. Especially if it means that research has to be changed or adapted half way through the search.
2. Recruitment Process
However you choose to go out and find your candidates – whether it be an internal recruitment team or external search firms – this is where the bulk of the time is taken up.
If you want a high quality shortlist of candidates to interview, then you need to consider the entire market; not just the 2 or 3 names that spring to mind or come up first on a LinkedIn search. The best candidates are usually the ones that are hardest to attract, and this takes time.
Outsourcing this stage to a dedicated search firm, with an already established network, will obviously speed up this stage considerably, but it is still important to receive regular updates and information to make sure the search is on track.
If you are looking to fill a time critical role, then establish concrete dates for deliverables upfront. Book shortlist and interview dates in with key players from the start, so everyone is clear on time frames. Candidates can also be made aware of these interview dates from the beginning so scheduling runs smoothly. This avoids elongated gaps between interview stages, which can turn candidates off.
Over 50% of employers state the average number of interviews before an offer was made is 3 and that the time between first interview and an offer being made was 4 – 6 weeks.
Interviewing for senior roles tends to involve senior people, and senior people tend to have very busy diaries.
In order to keep this process as fluid as possible, you need to keep the interview process simple – limit the attendees to key personnel only and a maximum of three stages.
4. Notice period
A major hold up that is often overlooked is notice periods. Very rarely do candidates send back the signed contract and start work the next day.
Key employees will have lengthy contractual notice periods, anywhere from 3 months to a year. In practice these can often be negotiated down but this can’t be banked on.
Take the recent appointment by Carillion of Wates Chief Executive Andrew Davies. It was originally announced that he wouldn’t be able to take up the top spot with Carillion until April 2018 – a hefty 6 months’ notice. This has since been negotiated down to 3, but it is still vital that companies prepare for a long wait for the best talent.
January is a great time to take a look at the resources you’re going to need for the year ahead. The talent pool is thriving with candidates looking for a fresh start and to make good on those New Year’s resolutions.
So make sure you get ahead of your competition and start the recruitment process for your executive talent early. Click HERE to see how we can help.