Acquiring talent in the industrial control and automation sector

I’ve recently found myself speaking to a number of organisations that have live vacancies they have been unable to fill for months and months. They are using multiple recruiters to assist them, online advertising, job board and internal referrals, so why are they still not filling these urgent and must fill positions?

One of the biggest mistakes companies are making at the moment is the number of recruitment agencies that they are using to assist them. Some companies believe that by using multiple recruiters, they will yield more applications and therefore fill the positions – This is a huge misconception. What happens is that your vacancy, rather than being everyone’s problem, becomes no-ones problem. In spreading your problem across a large number of agencies the amount of work each agency can afford to put in to your search reduces. Without commitment, or good odds of success they will do no more than sweep their database and a few jobs boards. Something in truth you could do yourself. These are the agencies that operate ‘hit and miss’ and generally do so for low fees that reflect the amount of effort put in (typically ranging between 10-15%).

Here are some of the other issues that I believe are causing problems:

  • Contractors in the market – More and more highly skilled people within this industry are choosing to be self-employed, so in an already competitive market is becoming increasingly hard to find the right candidate especially for permanent positions.
  •  Organisations are not willing to look outside the industry – A number of other sectors have come to terms with the fact there aren’t enough skilled workers in their sector to fill the amount of jobs out there, so they are looking outside of the sector for transferrable skills that they can bring into their organisations. Key skills and the right personal traits.
  • The importance of selling to passive candidates – At interview stage, if the opportunity isn’t sold properly by the company, the candidate may lose interest and withdraw from the process (this should be managed by the recruiter however and the company should be supported and advised before interview stage on how to sell to a passive/head-hunted candidate).
  • Looking outside the UK – There are so many skilled workers within the EU that are looking at moving to the UK for opportunities. These individuals speak very good English and often one or two other languages too. They are also usually highly qualified and educated.

As a company, Antal are very particular about who we work with, we like to work in true partnership with our clients, where we can add real value, not just offer CV shuffling. In doing this we get a far better understanding of our clients’ business, their values and culture.  We speak with line managers and key team members throughout the business to see how they differentiate themselves from the competition and what they look for aside from specific qualifications and skills. We get to know the organisation inside out and by doing so, we are able to sell their live opportunities, accurately, passionately and professionally, to the best of our ability, to potential candidates from both the active and passive markets.

Finally, what a lot of companies fail to realise at the moment is that the recruitment agencies you work with are essentially your representative in the marketplace. If the recruiter doesn’t know your business, your ‘selling points’, your real needs, culture, and opportunities, how can they sell your opportunity and qualify a potential candidate on your behalf? Or do they just make you look bad?

The war for talent may be a much banded phrase, but it is very true in the present market.  If you are going to war do you want the best weapons and armour, or the cheapest?