When it comes to HR and recruitment services, one of the first decisions that a business leader needs to make is whether to use them in-house or buy them in. This is particularly the case when it comes to recruitment especially, as the stakes tend to be high.
It’s no secret that hiring the wrong person is costly in terms of advertising, lost productivity, and training provided to the individual. In addition, the wrong person in the wrong post can cause disruption, affect morale, and even increase staff turnover.
These risks increase when organizations operate in a niche or highly technical sectors such as logistics, IT, automation, and engineering. The obvious implication of recruiting for a specialized post is that the talent pool will be reduced. The more demands you place on the post, the tighter the fit needs to be in finding a suitable candidate.
As part of your company’s recruitment strategy, you will need to decide on whether to use internal or external resources to fill your specialized posts. To that end, it’s important to understand what skills the recruiters themselves need to have.
Niche Recruitment: What Your Hirer Needs to Know
Niche recruitment – which is sometimes described as ‘ultra-niche’ or ‘micro-niche’ – refers to recruitment activities within the types of industries mentioned above. Information technology is often referred to as a niche industry, but IT specialism searches are often broken down further into areas such as supply chain software, cybersecurity, and web development. That’s how granular specialized recruitment needs to be.
To be successful, the hiring manager for these types of posts need to have the following skills and knowledge:
- An enhanced knowledge of the skills available in the market by sector and by location – this allows the recruitment campaign to be targeted correctly
- Excellent awareness of the rewards packages required to attract the best candidates
- A sound knowledge of the relevant competitors (who they are, what skills their employees have, how much they pay) – to ensure that your benefits compare well
- A knowledge of which specific skills carry the highest salary demands
- The ability to keep an eye on emerging trends in the industry and in the labor marketplace
- The ability to tap into sources of candidates more effectively than your competitors.
The Value of the Talent Pool
According to a 2017 survey report ‘Resourcing and Talent Planning’ published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 7 out of 10 respondents stated that they had prioritized recruitment on key talents or niches. The conclusion is obvious: the talent pool is king.
The success of a recruitment campaign stands or falls on the availability of the right talent pool at the right time. When deciding who should manage them for you, there are a number of talent pool factors that you should bear in mind.
Active and passive talent
Those who are looking for a new job are described as “active talent.” Those who are not checking out new opportunities (but could be persuaded) are described as “passive talent.” When searching for a candidate for a niche post, it’s important to be able to harness passive talent prospects. This can only be done through:
The right contacts and networks
General advertising limits your talent pool, which is bad news if you need an employee with specialist skills. HR professionals generally do have good networks, but a specialist recruitment agency will have greater and more specific reach. They achieve this by leveraging contacts gained through industry events, networking in the right places, and leveraging social media (especially LinkedIn).
Passive talent contacts are particularly crucial when it comes to executive search as the talent pool is obviously much reduced. Adding in the specific requirements that you have in terms of experience, knowledge, or skills will decrease that talent pool further, making good networking all the more important. This can apply locally, nationally, or globally.
General vs. Specialist Recruitment
Whether you recruit via your in-house HR, a general HR/recruitment provider, or a specialist recruiter, the cost of securing the right candidate for a niche post or industry is likely to be more. However, people who don’t commonly recruit for your particular post will spend a lot of time trying to shape a campaign that will attract the right candidates. And, if they lack experience, the chances of success are lower.
A company that offers specialist or niche recruitment services may set higher fees but will be able to utilize their expertise, experience, and networks to increase the rate of success.
You may be understandably worried about the costs of using a specialist recruitment agency. While buying in expertise is never cheap, picking the right specialist can actually yield savings in the longer term. Hiring the right people the first time will reduce training costs, management demands, and staff turnover costs.
Establishing a trusted and long-term relationship with a niche recruiter will also reduce the costs of future recruitment as your hiring specialist will have gained a good knowledge of your requirements, standards, values, and culture.
One element of the recruitment process that is missed by internal HR is the candidate’s expectations. Yes, these can be established at or after an interview, but a good specialist recruiter will know their candidates better and will be able to establish if they are the right fit. Expectations work both ways, and you will waste time if you interview someone whose salary demands or work values don’t suit your company.
How to Choose a Specialist Recruiter
Despite the economic challenges over the years, the recruitment industry in the UK has prevailed. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation reported in 2018/19 that employer satisfaction with their recruitment partners was 82%, suggesting that the performance of external agencies is high.
If you think that a niche or specialist recruitment agency could be the answer to your recruitment needs, you need to spend time ensuring that you choose the right one for your company. Some points to consider include:
- How does the agency demonstrate its technical expertise in your industry or sector? Testimonials and detailed discussions should bring this out.
- Have they recruited for similar posts to those that you need to fill? Can they describe what techniques they used to find the right candidates?
- What is the agency’s approach to cultural fit? Expertise in this area will increase the average length of service of candidates.
In addition, check out what the quoted fee will include. A comprehensive recruitment campaign will include talent identification, CV sifting, interviewing, psychometric tests (if you want these), and salary negotiation. Knowing what the package entails will ensure that you receive value for money and a high-quality service.
Selective Focus of Employee… -DepositPhotos