Although the recession has somewhat eased the pressure on companies to find talent, signs of economic recovery in a number of sectors as well as the increasing internationalisation of local businesses make it imperative for companies to sharpen their act. Josef Said, Operations Director at KONNEKT highlights the need for companies to re focus their efforts to source and select the best talent to harness market opportunities.

See also: Jobs in Malta

Contrary to popular belief most companies we work with are not concerned with their ability to attract business but rather with their ability to attract the right people. In the light of changing market, demographic, social and technological trends, it is not candidates that have to keep the relationship with prospective employers but it is rather the other way round.

Engaging prospective candidates and selecting the best talent is not an easy task. Our experience shows that companies have to focus on three key areas:

  • Developing their employer brand
  • Strengthen their selection process
  • Implement CRM centred systems for candidates

Employer Branding

From research we have done in June 2010, 95% of our clients had a website and 48% of those had a career section. Of those companies with a career section only 54%, gave it the same prominence as their products/services section. Despite the stated limitations to growth is lack of talent rather than customers, it is very clear that companies are more keen to connect with their customers rather than their candidates.

Delivering a pleasant pre application experience to candidates in the form of campus recruitment (University and MCAST), a strong careers section on the company website, and the possibility of internships is essential. This will ensure increased brand visibility with candidates. This awareness needs to be translated into a solid commitment. In most cases this is done by setting one to one meetings with potential candidates to enable proper assessment and accurate selection. Employer branding does not stop with recruitment – ensuring that company employees evangelise your employer brand is critical – and this only happens if they are happy. Numerous studies have shown that employee happiness goes beyond financial compensation, investment in a strong induction, management behaviour, continuous education, performance reviews, timely communication and exit interviews are a must for employees to be motivated to evangelise your brand.

Selection Process

A solid selection process comes from knowledgeable interviewers and a disciplined observance of procedure. At the surface interviewing is a simple task and for the untrained recruiter the need to be knowledgeable on the subject negligible, however, like any specialisation interviewing requires skill. A strong grounding in psychology and an in depth knowledge of questioning are critical. The ability to interpret body language and emotions from the candidates as well as to group signals in clusters to make accurate decisions based on clusters is more often than not completely overlooked.

Apart from skill the process is also important. Not having a written job description and person specification is like setting on a journey without your GPS or the more humble map. When recruiting a structured approach to interviewing ensures that your data collection and eventual analysis is more reliable. Structured interviewing is not for geeks especially since studies have repeatedly shown superiority of this method.

We prefer a behavioural approach to interviewing, apart from avoiding theoretical answers to hypothetical questions it gives the interviewer ample probing opportunities increasing the information available to make correct decisions and identifying odd lair.

A structure approach is not only limited to interviewing but it should also be extended to shortlisting. A three minute thorough review of a CV could potentially save you setting a 40 minute interview. A thorough CV review is also essential for interview preparation. Reading your CV on the way to the interview or worse during the interview is not conducive to good results.

Candidate Relationship Management

Yes CRM for candidates. Maltese companies are already experiencing reduced job tenure and increased candidate apathy. The situation will not get any better as our economy continues to develop and more baby boomers exit the work force. The psychology contract between employer and employee is continually changing...but then what do you expect, the same can also be said of the relationship between your brand(s) and your customers.

Having the right tools to connect with candidates as well as store and search their updated details (education, training, work experience etc) is something which is a must if you are seeking to secure the growth of your business. Tracking your communication with candidates is also essential – finally that is what your more important customers would expect from your company.

On this front companies have two options which are often used simultaneously – implementing applicant tracking software that integrates well with the company website as well as various social media (like )and use recruitment agencies who will not only conduct selection professionally but also have an important role in how candidates perceive your brand.

With talent in short supply and as local businesses become more internationalised either due to their markets or as a result of increased activity by foreign companies in Malta, employers will have to sharpen their act. The need to engage people with superior skills and attitudes coupled with a more astute and educated job applicant makes it a mission critical for companies to upgrade their talent sourcing and selection capabilities.

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