By Alan Davis
Staffing solutions for the new millennium
What Is Knowledge-Based Recruiting?
Knowledge-based recruiting is targeted search, taken to a new level of client relationship. It is a client-directed, continuous, yet flexible recruiting initiative designed to overcome the problems of critical skill shortage or sustained growth. It means that we do not have to “re-invent the wheel” every time a new opening occurs. It delivers a better quality of candidate, better value-for-money, and better time-to-hire periods. It is based on a mutual agreement between client and recruiting firm to invest in a long-term strategic relationship.
The philosophy behind knowledge-based recruiting is that all information gleaned from a recruiting activity should be stored for use at a later date. In other words, recruiting is viewed as not only a short-term process – to fill today’s position now – but as an opportunity to build a database of knowledge which will result in rapid future hires. Knowledge-based recruiting is based on the concept of sharing information and updating information on an ongoing basis, in order to continuously build a pool of talent. The database which is generated contains information pertaining not just to target candidates, but also to target sites identified by location, product, or technology.
The Knowledge-Based Recruiting Model
The way that this method of recruiting works is that together, both the client and the recruiting company define the anticipated skill-set requirements over a period of time; say a twelve-month period. Once this has been established, a minimum rate of ongoing recruiting activity can be agreed upon. From this activity, candidates who become available immediately will be hired on an ongoing basis.
Candidates who are potentially interested in making a move, but are not available immediately, can be tracked until they are available.
In addition, all information pertaining to recruiting sites is captured and entered into the knowledge database. The process requires continuous monitoring of both the long-term and short-term needs of the client and, whenever necessary, redirecting both the amount and focus of the recruiting effort in line with the client’s changing needs.
In other words, knowledge-based recruiting is an ongoing, flexible retained search that allows for a rapid response to the needs of the organization.
What Are The Deliverables Of The Knowledge-Based Recruiting Initiative?
The deliverables to the client can be summarized as follows:
- CVs of candidates who are interested in making a move right away.
- A profile of candidates who express an interest in moving at a later date, with contact information.
- Capture and storage of information on target candidates to be recruited in the future.
- Storage of target market data in terms of either technology, or product.
- Ongoing contact with high-potential candidates for hiring in the future.
- Customized contact records in accordance with each individual Client requirement.
The purpose of collecting all this information is that it can be re-used in light of similar mandates coming up later, or mandates which require similar technology experience in different types of job function. This information quickly leads us to appropriate target companies and target candidates.
How Does It Work?
Knowledge-based recruiting is an 8-stage process requiring the following steps:
Stage 1: Set priorities and establish timelines for each stage, and document all aspects of each requirement.
Stage 2: Design and implement the knowledge database both at client and recruiting company location.
Stage 3: Conduct target company and target name research.
Stage 4: Telephone recruiting and screening of CVs, including telephone interviews.
Stage 5: Ongoing submission of CVs as they are received.
Stage 6: Consistent entry of knowledge into the knowledge database.
Stage 7: Ongoing contact management with targeted high-calibre candidates.
Stage 8: Regular meetings with the client to monitor both the effectiveness of the initiative and to keep up to date on the nature and quantity of current and future requirements.
What Are The Advantages Of Knowledge-Based Recruiting?
Knowledge-based recruiting provides better value-for-money solutions in both the short and the long term. Specific advantages can be measured as:
1. Speed of Hire Because the up-front recruiting has been done, the time to hire will be reduced significantly.
2. Cost per Hire The client pays only once for up-front recruiting efforts; multiple hires from the same original work do not incur additional costs under this model.
3. Quality Hires The client will automatically be getting the best candidates available from within the target populations that the client defines.
4. Proactive vs. Reactive Recruiting You will hire high-caliber people who are not necessarily looking for another job. Instead of responding to a crisis (e.g. the sudden departure of a key individual or the award of a major contract), you are lining up the pick of the crop in advance of need.
5. A Renewable Resource The knowledge database is a snapshot in time that needs to be occasionally updated. After the initial set-up fee, you only have to pay for updates.
6. A Business Advantage Knowledge-based recruiting allows the client to stay competitive at the business level. It ensures that clients can compete for the best talent. This model allows you to react to market shifts and market opportunities much quicker than before.
Why Is Knowledge-Based Recruiting Necessary?
Prediction of Need
Recruiting needs are difficult to forecast. However, there are generic skill sets which are traditionally in demand, making a proactive approach to recruiting highly desirable. Because of increasing competition for top candidates, it makes sense to move forward with a reasonable prediction of future hiring activity. Even if we cannot predict exactly the projects that are going to be happening, the contracts that are going to be awarded, or the attrition rate, active recruiting for critical skill sets makes a great deal of sense.
Problems with Candidate Supply
The demand for qualified candidates has meant that managers have had to become accustomed to waiting to fill critical positions. This situation will likely to become worse; the demand for key technical skills grows daily. For this reason alone, the recruiting paradigm has had to change.
Reacting to needs as they arise cannot hope to fill critical positions in a timely manner. To the extent that the critical skill sets can be predicted, potential candidates can be recruited in advance of the need.
From a recruiter’s perspective, it is often impossible for us to react as quickly as line managers would like, since our recruitment process only begins when we accept a new mandate. In order to be proactive, we have to start on the groundwork of recruiting candidates well before the actual need becomes urgent.
Traditional Recruiting Solutions
The traditional approach to filling positions is a combination of recruiting methods. However, it is hard to pick the appropriate mix of recruiting methods for the optimum result, and while historical data is usually the best resource, this type of data is often unavailable.
Also, traditional recruiting methods – i.e. tactical recruiting – rely on providing only the immediate fix, and do not take into account any long-term or strategic value-for-money considerations.
Traditional recruiting solutions are based on the assumption that candidates with the appropriate skill sets will be available in sufficient numbers precisely when needed. This is often not the case. Many critically-skilled people work on a project-related basis. Their availability therefore depends on the stage of their current project, and whether or not a future project has been assigned.
Knowledge-based recruiting is a new-age solution designed to overcome problems of both demand prediction, and critical skill-set supply.