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The burning recruitment questions that just don’t go away

Damir Latte

With millennials being tagged as the job hopping generation, there has never been a bigger talent pool to target and hire from. Contributor Damir Latte, Talent Acquisition Manager – Perkbox. 

But as recruiters, regardless of this, there still remain many challenges, including: How does one filter through and reach out the right candidates and what should we prioritise in our hires? How do we strike the right balance between finding candidates that are a good culture fit, yet also ensuring targets are hit?

Let’s discuss some of those burning questions that we encounter time and time again as recruiters…

Qualifications vs Experience: Which is More Important?
This seems to be the question that never goes away! On the one hand, when it comes to qualifications, firstly, they demonstrate the investment that a candidate has made in the academic foundation of their career. Secondly, they serve to illustrate one’s ability to assimilate information and process accordingly. Obviously, these are both important traits, but what is evident in today’s job market is that degrees aren’t necessarily vocational and hard skills aren’t all we should be after. People who acquire degrees in History, don’t always become historians, for example. 

On the other hand, experience specific to the role you are hiring for is definitely a plus. If you are hiring a salesperson, it speaks volumes if they are able to provide accurate sales figures that demonstrate that exceeding targets is part of their make- up. Therefore, both hold considerable merit, but from my point of view, experience is the most important aspect of the two.

The Pros and Cons of External Recruiters
When it comes to the pros of external recruiters, the obvious is they have candidates for your company – lots of them! If you find a good recruitment agency, they will have an expansive database augmented by a team of recruiters and resourcers. As an in house recruiter, you can tap into this and provide quality candidates on time. 

With Perkbox rapidly scaling, when I was given the task of trebling the Product & Engineering team in the space of just three months, the help of external recruitment agencies proved to be invaluable.

However, on the flip side, using agencies is incredibly expensive. Typically a recruitment consultancy will charge between 15-25% of the successfully placed candidate’s first year salary when hiring on a permanent basis, or take similar commission as expressed over and above a day rate if the candidate is employed as a contractor. Given that we’ve hired +250 employees at Perkbox since I joined in late 2015, the amount of money we would have spent on fees should we have gone for this approach for all new recruits, would have been astronomical.

How to Recruit in Areas with a Skills Shortage
Think outside the box! The best example is hiring tech talent, which is a very candidate-driven market and as a result, extremely competitive. Good developers are in high demand, and will always have a choice of opportunities. It’s crucial to remember that to attract the best developer talent you need more than a strong salary and benefits package. Great developers want to be challenged and like having great problems to solve in their hands. 

Something we do with our product and engineering team here at Perkbox to encourage an  environment of this sort for them, is hold regular ‘hackathons’. On a quarterly basis we create teams who are tasked with  creating a working proposition over the course of the day. The winning team gets real-life investment for their idea, and see it become a reality on our platform. Given that we use a squad-based approach, it’s a great way to show prospective developers how we work at Perkbox and to keep improving our products for customers on an ongoing basis.

You can also generate great results through other, less specific means, for example through an appealing referral scheme that encourages proactive employees within your business to network outreach. This has helped us find quality candidates across all verticals and levels of seniority at Perkbox too.

So the top level conclusion – there’s definitely no  ‘one size fits all’ in recruitment! What works for us at Perkbox, may not work for you in your company.  However, what’s important is that you learn about all the options that are out there, in order to pick the right one for each of your particular recruitment conundrums . That’s personally one of the things I like most about our profession, everyday is different and will continue to be, with every new individual we are tasked to hire. 

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