Time is right to find top talent

With news dominated by redundancy and cost-cutting headlines, the most hardened business person might waver over the decision to add to the payroll bill at the present time.

Indeed, recruitment activity was one of the early casualties of the downturn so it’s a paradox that these same conditions are now facilitating good recruitment and providing the opportunity to hire talent that would not have previously been available.

But with so many candidates on the market how do you ensure you don’t make the wrong hire, particularly for roles critical to surviving, and then thriving, through the downturn?

Amanda McCulloch, managing director of recruitment specialists Thorpe Molloy Recruitment Ltd, shares advice on hiring with confidence at a time of uncertainty.


It’s hard to plan when you don’t know what the future might bring but if you are making strategic appointments it’s vital that you can convey an honest vision – to yourself and interviewees.

By thinking beyond the downturn you’ll identify the skills you need now and in the next few years.

Although no one wants to join an organisation that lacks direction, keeping it real is essential to avoid disillusioned employees a few months down the line.

Making good appointments now may mean you won’t have to come back to the market when candidate availability is tighter.


When’s the last time you reviewed an open position? If it’s a new hire did you write the job specification without consulting others? Does this position have a high attrition rate? Could it be adapted for flexible working?

Taking time to think laterally about the roles you need could significantly change how you fill those positions, and who you fill them with.

For instance there’s a hesitancy from some clients to hire candidates who have an exclusively oil and gas background due to concerns that they will be impossible to retain in more prosperous times.

The risk is there, but this approach short changes the hirer who chooses to discriminate based on previous experience without even engaging in a conversation with an exceptional candidate. In the short term there’s an opportunity to access their skills and experience and longer term employers may be surprised by the loyalty these candidates show when the market lifts.

Incredibly, there can be a stigma attached to redundancy too. We’ve experienced it where employers are conditioned to a “hire and fire” culture.  Needless to say, discounting candidates who have been made redundant is ludicrous.


Before the downturn employee attraction and engagement were top priorities and they remain important because they impact the employer brand.
If a candidate has a bad experience at any stage of the recruitment and on-boarding processes they’ll tell people about it and woe betide the organisation that handled restructuring and redundancy badly.

Even if you are not hiring right now, you will in the future, when competition for talent is tighter, so continue to invest time and effort handling all your interactions and relationships respectfully.


With a wealth of candidates on the market roles should be easy to fill – right?

Hold on, you’re not looking for desperate seat fillers who take the attitude “It’s a job, but I don’t really want to be here.” You want loyal employees who are going to engage so it’s important your own selection and interview skills are honed to differentiate fake enthusiasm from genuine commitment and to ensure you see beyond a polished CV and interview performance.


It’s true, candidates are accepting roles for a lower salary but that’s no justification for not rewarding talent – either financially or through career development opportunities.

Irrespective of the market conditions, if you want good people to stay you have to give them a reason to, which probably means getting creative with your reward and engagement strategies in the future.


There was a fair amount of compromised recruitment 18 months ago, but the silver lining to this big black cloud is that you don’t have to compromise now. Invest wisely, be considered and insist on good recruitment.


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