Throwing out the Hiring Handbook – A guide on how to get a fish to climb a tree

Recruitment and hiring insights - image of two female consultants chatting and laughing together in an office setting

Digging for gold with a spoon in your paved back yard? Demand for skills in the renewable energy industry is placing enormous pressure on employers and recruitment agencies to find and attract talent. Competition is now global, skills are highly mobile, and yesterdays tried and tested hiring methods are failing miserably.

“The typical focus of trying to match candidates against a set of criteria that inherently lies on past employment, qualification, and who is in your network, is causing the disruptive environment we are seeing today,” states Priscilla Gibson, head of AltGen’s Executive Search division and Lead: Emerging Markets.  “This method reduces the pool to play in, increases competition for talent, and ultimately hinders everyone’s ability to put MW onto the grid.”

An infographic describing that 52% of employers have begun to focus on skills over employment history and that 92% of recruiters beleive that soft skills are equally if not more important than hard skills in the hiring process.

The onset of the global marketplace and remote working, means that competition for these skills is no longer purely regional or national.  Candidates have the ability and option to both apply and take up employment with offshore companies, many of which provide creative remuneration strategies.  This global marketplace exacerbates the tight in-country supply, and without a compelling employee proposition this fight is won or lost monetarily. “5-7 years ago, salaries in the renewable energy industry were sitting below those in industries such as mining.  Today, our talent is earning globally, on average, 30% more than their counterparts in other industries.”

This fight plays out daily for AltGen. “Trying to serve all clients equally is very difficult when you are sitting with 150 open jobs and there is no defining differentiation between them. It is very difficult to sell a candidate on a company and role when the job description is incredibly limited and employee value proposition is all but non-existent,” states Kerryn Carlitz, AltGen’s Head of Recruitment.  “Everyone has a beautiful office space, everyone is working on big projects, and most companies now offer employees a hybrid work option.  So, it comes down to salary – which paves the way for counteroffers and lack of retention.  If you don’t know what value you bring to your staff, and what value your staff bring to you, how can you expect your staff to value you?”

A block of three puzzle pieces fitting together explaining the importance of acknowledging skills, knowledge and attributes of candidates in the hiring process

Creative recruitment strategies will win this fight.

To be creative, one must first move away from how things were done in the past.  Interviews and selections processes must focus on competencies:  skills, knowledge, and attributes. A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 52% of employers have begun to focus on a candidate’s skills rather than employment history.  This is because skills and knowledge are ‘learnt’.  “Ensuring that the minimum standard is evident in the candidate, one is able to identify the growth areas, creating the first step to providing a compelling value proposition to them,” states Priscilla.

Understanding and matching attributes is crucial and is often not understood.  They are the ‘soft skills’ that are hard to quantify and harder to assess.  However, these are what make one person more ‘competent’ than the other; what creates ‘stress’ in one person’s life and happiness in another’s.  “Understanding the relevance of the attributes to both your company, and the specific job (they are sometimes different) is the start to ensuring a ‘happy’ employee.  Coupled to a growth plan, and you have a stronger possibility of retaining the individual in light of the intense competition for their labour”.

The way we think about recruitment and hiring is changing and it’s happening fast, what are you doing to keep up?

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