Recruit or Train?

Business Insights

As a business grows and expands it will have new roles to fill and may need to take on more employees. But before drafting any recruitment advertisements, or calling in the recruiters, business owners should think beyond their immediate requirements.

It is important to take the long view and consider your overall growth strategy, because you will need to attract candidates capable of growing with the business and of making a positive contribution to its future.

Bring your recruitment agent on board by explaining your business culture and your expectations of the role. Then a clear job description detailing the skills, knowledge and essential requirements that someone needs to have to carry out the particular role, will give a professional recruiter the necessary criteria to search for candidates who will be a good fit for your business, not just in terms of qualifications and experience, but personality.

Although attracting the right candidates can be an expensive process. It is even more expensive when done badly because when unsuitable candidates apply for a job, the post may need to be re-advertised - so it is best to get it right first time.

Some companies will want to see every application and create their own short list, whereas others will leave it to the recruitment agency to come up with a short list of potential candidates. A short list saves time, and if your recruitment agent is familiar with your business, will result in a group of candidates that meets your criteria to interview.

Recruitment agencies have a number of weapons in their armoury to narrow the field, including interviews, group exercises, presentations, 'in-tray' exercises, where candidates are asked to respond to work-related and other problems, presented to them in an in-tray to be processed. Psychometric (personality) tests have also become popular and are often used alongside other tests. How intensive, (and therefore, costly) the recruitment process is will depend on the level of the role being recruited for, director or shop floor.

By the time candidates have reached the stage of being invited for interview, they should already know details such as the job title, where they will be based, what the role involves, and what perks, such as company car, holidays, company pension scheme and bonuses the role carries. The interview is the opportunity for the candidate to ask their own questions and up to the business owner or HR dept to decide whether this person will be a good fit with their business and capable of taking on more responsibility later with appropriate training.

In these days of almost full employment where good candidates are almost constantly canvassed by agencies, business owners need to make a quick decision if a suitable candidate is found, but if someone doesn’t feel quite right, offer a second interview while you double check their references and credentials before making a decision.

However, it isn’t always necessary to go down the recruitment route, you may already have someone suitable within your organisation. Promoting someone from within is great for company morale, providing they are the right person. Promotion without training can be disastrous. Often high performing sales people are promoted to sales managers with no leadership training, and the business owner is left wondering what went wrong, they lose their best sales person and the team is totally demotivated because they have a leader who had never been taught to lead.

We often think of training as only being for new people or apprentices, we assume someone doing well in one role will naturally do well when promoted in the same department, but as in the example of the salesperson promoted to sales manager, without training that is rarely the case.

Appropriate training gives a greater understanding of the role, and in turn builds confidence, and enhances overall performance which can only benefit the company. A programme of continuous training at all levels benefits any organisation particularly in these days of rapidly developing technologies.

A training program strengthens any skills that need improving, and brings all employees to a higher level with similar skills and knowledge. Providing training creates a knowledgeable team with employees who can take over for one another as needed, work on teams or work independently without constant help and supervision from others.

Investment in training shows employees that they are valued, and creates a supportive workplace. Employees may gain access to training they wouldn’t have otherwise known about or sought out themselves. Employees who feel appreciated and challenged through training opportunities experience more job satisfaction.

So perhaps before recruiting, check whether there is already someone who, with training, could fill the position.