Flexible ways of filling the recruitment void

Feb 1, 2016 | Recruitment

If you’re considering recruiting into your business, the most important step to getting this right is deciding before you start what it is you actually need.

Often you will be recruiting for a vacancy following departure of the previous incumbent, and the temptation is to recruit an exact replacement. However prior to commencing recruitment it is a good idea to assess the job again to redefine your requirements. You may find you don’t need to recruit to exactly the same job again, or in the same way.

If it’s a new role rather than replacing a leaver, it’s equally important not to jump to conclusions about what you need and in what form the support you are looking for will take.

Do you need to recruit at all?

Think carefully about the tasks you need completing. Technology, different ways of working, or different circumstances within your organisation may have overtaken the need you initially had, if the role is a replacement, and you may be able to save costs by reassigning the workload elsewhere, providing development opportunities for other staff, or subcontracting it out.

If it’s a new role, make sure you consider possible technological or other solutions before committing to recruiting a new member of staff. Some services can obviously be outsourced altogether to an external provider, removing the responsibility of managing employees at all and often bringing additional expertise.

Does the role need changing?

If it was a full-time role previously, does it still need to be? If the workload is adjusted or partially reassigned elsewhere, you may only have a part-time need. Don’t recruit full time on a knee-jerk basis. What flexibility could you offer candidates to increase the attractiveness of the role? Home working? Flexible hours? Term-time or school hours? There are lots of talented people out there looking for flexibility in their work-life balance – don’t miss out on them!

Does the role need to be at a different level? Look at how the role will fit with the rest of the organisation and adjust the level if that would work better.

Find out what is needed

Get feedback from people who have an input or interest in the role you are looking at, such as colleagues or clients. What do they feel is needed, and in what form do they think the tasks or services would be most effectively provided? Exit interviews with the previous incumbent (where there is one) may also provide helpful insight into how the role could be changed for the better.

Don’t assume traditional employment is best

You have a number of options, and shouldn’t assume that standard employment is necessarily the best fit for the role or for your circumstances. If the role is a junior one, look into whether taking on an apprentice might work. There may be funding available, and as long as you take the responsibility seriously, training up an apprentice can be an excellent long-term succession planning strategy for your business.

It may be that the role could be covered by agency workers, giving you perhaps more flexibility if need fluctuates. In a similar situation casual or zero hours workers might meet your need.

If the role is more senior, or project-based, a self-employed consultant or contractor might work. Rates are usually higher but they come without employment obligations and can be a useful way of adding high-level expertise to your organisation’s arsenal.

A caution

While you may wish to look at casual, self-employed or similar arrangements to cover the role you are looking to fill, you need to be careful. Employment status is not something either the employer or the worker get to choose – it is by and large defined by what is actually happening; by the nature of the relationship between the parties. If the role genuinely meets the requirements for a self-employment arrangement, great, but if it doesn’t, this option isn’t available to you.

If you think your need might be met by a zero hours worker or a self-employed consultant, look into employment status carefully, and remember that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, the person is probably employed, regardless of whether they are described that way in a contract or agreement between the parties.

If you want some help looking into options when recruiting for your business, do get in touch.