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5 Recruitment Myths: Your talent acquisition strategy could be harmed

Anja van Beek
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Most companies understand that they will not succeed unless they recruit and retain the best possible talent. Yet many organisations still cling onto ideas about recruiting employees that are outdated or just plain wrong. In many cases, their beliefs in these myths prevent them from finding the best possible talent for their businesses.

Here are five recruitment myths that companies should leave behind.

1. Technology can do most of the work for you

Today, digital technologies such as career websites, social media platforms, website postings, and applicant tracking systems form an invaluable part of every recruiter’s toolbox. But they are most effective when used to supplement the recruiter’s skill and knowledge and to automate routine processes. They are not a substitute for a recruiter’s knowledge, experience and business contacts.

A good internal recruiter or resourcing specialist will be able to assess candidates for soft qualities such as cultural fit or leadership skills.

This is an art rather than a precise science because a perfect candidate on paper might not be the right person for a job than someone with a slightly weaker CV. What’s more, a recruiter will have the network to look for someone with rare skills when advertising online fails to bring in the right CVs.

2. The best people will come flocking to your business

You might think that your status as a leading brand will ensure that the best people are banging down your door looking for a job. But it’s not that easy. People with the right experience and qualifications are in high demand and have no problem securing a job. You might have a strong brand with consumers, but how much effort do you spend building an employer brand that will attract the right people to your business? If you want the best people to work for you, you’ll need to earn their attention and interest.

3. You start recruiting when you have a position to fill

You should have a proactive recruitment plan that focuses on the needs of the business beyond today. Actively think about the positions you may need to fill in six months or a year, and about the profile of the candidates you’d like to attract. Collect CVs and establish good relationships with people in your industry. One day, when you need to fill a role that demands rare technical skills, you’ll know where to look for them and possibly even who to invite for an interview.


4. Recruitment agencies aren’t worth the time, bother or money

Recruitment agents have earned a bad reputation in the market, and in some cases, they deserve it. There are many recruiters who charge high commissions and fail to deliver high-quality candidates to their clients.

But there are also good agencies with excellent contacts, who take pride in the work and take the time to understand each client’s business and culture.

If you cannot justify the cost of full-time internal recruitment resources, a good agency can be a valuable partner. And even if you have a strong internal recruitment team, an agency might be able to support you when you’re recruiting for scarce skills or when you simply want to broaden your exposure to quality candidates. Often, the time and money you’ll spend trying to fill a specialist role yourself would pay the agent’s fee several times over.


5. Small companies don’t need a formal recruitment strategy

SMEs often hire ad hoc when the workload has grown and they need an extra set of hands to help. Often, they’ll rely on word of mouth to find someone rather than taking the time to advertise the new job and interview candidates.

Using internal referrals can be beneficial as employees know the business culture and the quality of candidates required. This should however not be the only approach as you would not know what other candidates have to offer and you could miss an opportunity to build a sustainable team.

All SMEs should take the time and focus to attract the best talent to help build the business.


Anja van Beek

• Anja is an independent leadership consultant, talent strategist and coach with over 20 years of HR executive experience in the Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia region. She has lead multi-national teams through transition and change management.

• She is a champion of leadership development and has interests in corporate culture, employee engagement and mentoring. Her other HR passions are strategic business partnering, succession planning, talent management and reward & recognition.

• Anja is a speaker and facilitator on cultural change, organisational emotional intelligence, and adaptive leadership. Anja consults executives and leaders from small businesses through to large organisations on all people-related aspects with a specific focus on integrating the talent of the business into the overall strategy.

• Over the years she has become an expert in coaching leaders and teams in managing behavioural change in the ever-changing business landscape. Anja also works for various companies as a facilitator in the area of leadership development, mentoring and change management.



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