Many factors, both internal and external, impact the way that you recruit. Whether you’re running a business, a team or a project, thorough planning is essential to ensure success. Recruitment is no different – from identifying the task’s skill requirements to assessing the individual’s personality fit – it requires understanding and awareness of your organisation, your objectives and the world outside your business.

Recruitment falls into two categories – impulse and planned. Impulse recruiting is reactive in nature. Posting on a job board, for example, generates a large number of candidates in a short time. While this can work, it is certainly not the most effective or efficient way of hiring. Time and resources are required to sift through the applicants and the chances of missing the ‘golden nuggets’ are high.

Planned recruitment is therefore essential to avoid these potential pitfalls. Planned recruiting is proactive and is about implementing strategies that evolve and improve in effectiveness over time. When tasked with implementing planned successions or managing your pipeline of candidates, you combine your expertise and knowledge with that of your chosen recruitment channel to ensure that the right people are available in the right place at the right time for your business.

In an uncertain economy, planning takes on even more importance. Knowing you have a plan in place is crucial and it means you’re better placed to face the challenges ahead. It is an unavoidable practice for Tate and is revisited periodically throughout the year to re-evaluate market potential in an environment of rapid change.

Looking outside the business
It’s always worth looking outside your business to consider how external factors may influence your planning. A PESTEL (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal) analysis is an effective framework to do so… and I’ve included some key considerations for you in 2011.

Focus areas when considering political impacts on your business could include pressure groups, government and trading polices and changes in regulatory bodies and processes. An example of this is the New Equality Act which, was brought in during October 2010 and brings together all aspects of discrimination. This extends the scope of employers’ responsibilities into several new areas such as “associative” and “perceptive” discrimination and harassment by third parties. What impact would this change in legislation have on your recruitment policy? What might the practical effects of this be?

2010 saw the UK move out of the recession however, the scale and depth of government spending cuts may reignite uncertainty in 2011. What impact will this have on your recruitment policy?

Other areas to consider could include overseas economies and trends, general taxation issues, market and trade cycles and specific industry factors.

Social trends tend to be evolutionary and, as a result, are often overlooked. Areas to consider could include lifestyle trends, demographics, consumer attitudes and opinions and media views.

For example, young people are looking to break into one of the most competitive labour markets in recent times. Tate’s clients are increasingly open to create opportunities through internships and apprenticeships. How might the increasing numbers of available young people affect your recruitment policy?

You might also want to consider more subtle shifts in people’s perspectives on work, such as the growing level of importance candidates place on an employer’s values and company ethos rather than just salary and working hours when choosing a new role.

Technology has had a huge impact on recruitment in recent years – especially through the internet and online job boards. According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics), 18.3 million households in the UK have internet access in 2009, an increase of 11% on 2008 and a figure which looks set to continue to grow.

Using online advertising to fill a vacancy generates a high response and is effective when you have many positions to fill. However, the number of responses in itself can lead to challenges with some estimates putting effective online recruitment as low as 10%. Perhaps one area you could plan for next year might be how to manage your online recruitment or look to harness new technology that might make this more efficient.

The Climate Change Act 2008 set out plans for UK to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 and businesses are expected to play an increased role in helping to achieve this target. As a result, CSR (Corporate & Social Responsibility) is a big factor for many businesses when planning and this will also have an impact on recruitment. As businesses move forward, not only will CSR policy be informed by government advice and guidelines, but also business’ desire to create a competitive advantage by achieving external accreditations in this arena.

Tate has successfully done this by implementing company-wide CSR policies. These include the increased use of online portals to reduce wastage or using telephone interview techniques to reduce travel and therefore, our carbon footprint – all of which you might consider when planning for recruitment in 2011.

Changes in legislation can make a big difference to recruitment policy – not only who you recruit but how they are recruited. For example, the AWD (Agency Workers Directive) will be implemented in the UK by October 2011 and will have huge implications for companies who employ contractors, freelancers or temporary staff. AWR ensures the treatment of temporary staff is equal to that of permanent staff after 12 weeks of placement, so you will need to take its impact on your remuneration policies into account well in advance.

Other areas to consider could include immigration policy, employment law, anti-discrimination policy and EU legislation.

At Tate, we believe in working closely with our customers and are keen to share our expertise with you. We combine innovative thinking with tried and tested techniques, such as the PESTEL analysis framework, and hope that you find it as useful as we do when planning for the year ahead.