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Selecting the right people







By Rita Lally, Director
SmartMoves Human Capital (Pty) Limited

When we refer to recruitment, we seek to attract talent from a pool of people from which candidates for jobs can be chosen.  A top priority is to ensure that the right calibre of person is appointed, and this is largely dictated by the accuracy of the job profile.  If the profile is vague, the chances of being successful are as good as ‘a shot in the dark’.  The secret is to attract talent, not simply recruit people.

How does an organisation attract talent then? Essentially, people don’t join organisations – they join people.  Organisations don’t succeed, then recruit - they find the right people, then they succeed.  That success is founded on having a clear strategy in place; focus and purpose; strong work ethics; cultural diversity, and lets’ not forget, core values that are clearly understood and lived by everyone.  The brand projected to prospective employees’ is what attracts talented individuals to the organisation in the first place.  ‘I want to work with that organisation because...’

This branding, however, must be a true reflection of what is offered.  If the perception is that working with your organisation is going to be ‘challenging the normal status, rewarding and at the same time enjoyable’, it must be the case.  Organisations must deliver on promises made and provide a true reflection of what is offered to all that work there, or they quickly lose credibility with employees.   Have you ever heard “I was promised .... , but it never happened”  or “we talk about ‘work hard, play hard’ but we simply have our noses to the grind”... Why do your current employees say?  Have you ever tapped in to find out?

Often considered the ‘soft stuff’ and not a priority by line management are the values the organisation has defined.  The competencies are not the only consideration in the employment offer, but ensuring the candidate’s values are in sync with that of the organisation is equally important.  The values are considered the heart and soul of an organisation.  For example, if an applicant does not consider himself to be a team player and the business was built up and grown through a strong teamwork ethic, this may become an issue, the person will find it difficult fitting in.  You don’t want to have to deal with issues, or to bend the rules to accommodate a risky profile.

When working through the recruitment process, it should be clear to both parties as to what is on offer, both in terms of specific job content and the organisations’ profile.   If the candidate is a ‘mover and shaker’, he will be seeking opportunities in organisations that are constantly changing and keeping up with the times.  He will not last if the organisation is stagnant and does not offer what he is looking for.  Job specifications should also indicate the ‘leadership style’ of the line manager.  Why?  If the manager is not a natural coach or mentor when dealing with inexperienced employees’, don’t put them together, you will be setting the subordinate up for failure.  Both parties will be frustrated.  As opposed to a mismatch, rather place someone who will be self sufficient fairly quickly and hit the ground running with the right level of experience.  

‘People leave managers, not organisations’.  Be careful who you promote if you want good leaders to treat people as they should.  Recruitment is an extremely costly exercise, it is worthwhile ensuring managers are skilled in this area and take the time necessary to appoint the right person.  If people are seriously considered to be ‘assets’ and you are looking for a long term investment, it is not an overnight decision.  Should the initial appointment not work out, and the process has to start again, the costs (hidden and unhidden) have been estimated to be as much as 25% of total cost of annual salary which could be avoided.

High staff turnover is also costly.   So often we hear management bemoaning the fact that employees are not long term players.   Gone are the days when ‘one job, one career, one pension’ was the expectation.  Younger employees are constantly looking out for new challenges and want more gratification earlier.   Keep ahead of these trends, retain talent and develop a culture where everyone is constantly on the lookout for potential employees to join your organisation.  Think out of the box, ensure your adverts are compelling; introduce an employee referral program; consider internships; hire differently (e.g. talent that is often overlooked due to biases such as age).

Have people banging on your door, without needing to go out in the market like your competitors.  Whatever you do, don’t wing it, it isn’t worth it.   1 out of 4 employees interviewed have a bad experience and would not buy or deal with the company afterwards, let alone want to work with there.  Remember, you are also being screened by top talent who are in a position to choose who they want to work for.  Is that you?

About SmartMoves Human Capital
SmartMoves Human Capital is an integrated one stop Human Resources, Industrial Relations, Payroll, Financial Management and Reporting and Training services firm. The company offers a wide range of line and senior management training courses, including the acclaimed HR FOR NON-HR MANAGERS course, a practical workshop taking you on a journey covering the life cycle of an employee from recruitment to departure.

Visit us at to find out more.

Source: SmartMoves Human Capital (Pty) Limited
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