Avoiding the recruitment mistakes that cost big businesses plenty

August 30th, 2019 | Industry News

Recruitment agencies that make use of SaaS solutions have a real advantage when it comes to avoiding the kind of errors that huge businesses and sectors are prone to falling into.

Recruiting for oil and gas – and where it goes wrong

Once there was a well-worn groove from science and engineering departments to the oil and gas industry. But since 2014, this resource has slowed, partly because the price of oil has dropped and graduate recruitment was cut by around 50%. Although there has been a turnaround in the industry, recruitment hasn’t benefitted. In fact, it’s reported that 90% of executives in the oil and gas sector say skill shortages are damaging productivity. Even the best recruitment CRM struggles to find candidates to fill the shortages in this sector… bad press is definitely one reason, like tobacco and armaments, oil and gas has become a field that can turn off bright graduates, but unconscious recruitment bias has played a part too. Adverts that use language like ‘challenging position’ or ‘great benefits for candidates willing to accept adverse working conditions’ may sound honest, but in fact they read like code for ‘men only need apply’.

Pretty well all oil and gas companies are big, and these big businesses have taken on consultants and media advisers to help them fine tune language to appeal to STEM graduates regardless of gender. Recruitment agencies can help by using their own recruiting software to ‘decode’ industry speak when communicating with candidates.

Smaller companies seeking to recruit in the STEM areas can learn from this by ensuring they don’t demonstrate unconscious bias, and by engaging with specialist recruiters who speak the language STEM candidates understand.

IT recruiting pitfalls

Unconscious bias has also affected the top of the IT sector. The days of advertising for ‘coding ninjas’ and ‘tech masters’ has pretty well passed, which is great news, but it’s been a rocky journey for a sector that has several challenges to face, such as:

  • too many vacancies – not enough qualified candidates in the pool
  • a largely passive candidate base – few IT specialists are actively seeking work and ‘warming them up’ to move to a new job can prove difficult.

Recruitment database software can help with both these issues. First, online recruitment software can identify equivalently qualified candidates or those who have transferable skills and second, with a passive candidate pool, recruiters can establish longer-term relationships and use their recruitment CRM software to identify the key ‘pulls’ for any candidate, which might be: undertaking side projects; working from home; the possibility of up-skilling or retraining; working in a specific team (with a former colleague, for example). Where recruitment pools are stagnant, a good recruiter can help a client work out a package that will appeal to the right candidate, without necessarily need to pay more or recruit aggressively.

IT companies in the SME range can feel disadvantaged when trying to recruit but there are techniques they can apply. Using imaginative approaches will attract candidates who will find the company and its work appealing. Working with recruiters who can speak the ‘tech to tech’ language gives small companies a chance to persuade receptive but passive individuals that they are ready to move on.


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