Why Recruitment Looks Easy…And Why It Isn’t

Discipline always seems easy from the outside. The famous story about Dali springs to mind. Someone asked him to draw something on a napkin. He draws a picture and then demands a million pounds from them for it. They refuse. “You only took 30 seconds to draw that!” to which he replies, “Yes but it took me years to learn how.”

We cannot claim to be the Salvador Dali or recruitment. Who could? But what we and the dedicated professionals within recruitment do, takes years to hone. To succeed, one needs experience and knowledge, usually within a specific sector. This cannot be taught in a classroom and must be lived.

A problem with the perception of recruitment is that the end product does not belong to the recruiter. The recruiter must step away before the final part, that of the candidate starting their role and excelling. It is this lack of seeing the job through to the very end that gives people the impression that recruitment is easy and a bit of a lark, really.

There is a kind of alchemy at play here within the skills needed to be a successful recruiter. The role they play can be very different each time, but they play an integral part in joining up the loose ends between the role and the candidate. Sometimes they search and find the candidate. Sometimes they communicate the company culture to the candidates. They may rewrite a job spec that isn’t clicking with prospects. Maybe they know the databases or areas to search. Perhaps, like many recruitment partners, they did all of the above. Regardless of what part they played, the ability to identify and complete the task needed to make the process run smoothly, is one of the reasons some feel that little effort is expended.

Anyone who has attempted to recruit without a recruiter knows that it may seem easy from the outside but, as mentioned above, there are many elements that go into finding, screening and hiring a great candidate. It may become more apparent if you need to hire a team, with the recruitment partner being what is needed when it is needed, over and over, to pull a whole highly-skilled team together. Then the amount of stress and strain required for such a campaign can be seen.

Having the staying power to go through that again and again is what separates real recruiters from those who try it and move on to something more well suited.

What makes recruitment hard? You must have a marketing brain, marketing the job role so that it is an enticing proposition. And when the tried and true measures fail, innovation is key as well as looking at situations from different perspectives. Empathy plays a major role.

Recruiters will have already gone through the slogging away part and will have already entered the working smart part. By this, I mean, they will have found ways to simplify and speed up their processes, but they will have found out the hard way, how to do that. Newbies have that all ahead of them. They must be able to handle the tricky balancing act of utilising just the right amount of time for the correct level of importance. Multitasking is paramount. This comes from experience.

Networking, self-promotion and influencing are all part of the job, even if they aren’t in the job description. Not everyone can brand themselves and those who do so successfully, have been working at it for years. Great connections are forged through great word of mouth and great working experiences. There is no short cut for such things.

Dali could draw on those napkins day in, day out, and always produce something special. Recruitment partners can guarantee you the best chance of finding those amazing candidates too.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Simple Steps To Diverse Recruitment

All together now

Inclusive and diverse workplaces don’t just happen overnight. By rights, they should, but they don’t. The hold of ‘this is the way we have always done things’ is a strong one and it will take a bit of effort to change things.

If you wish for your workplace to reflect the world we live in now, representation and equality have to be baked into your hiring policies. Whether the diversity is religious or racial, around sexuality or gender, or whether your employees have disabilities or are neurodivergent, what is required is an open mind and an appreciation that every person is different and may having differing life experiences and viewpoints.

Experience and knowledge vary from person to person and can lend a diversity of skills which will benefit the company in the long term. These acquired attributes, and the need to find them in prospective candidates, will drive future growth and adaptability.

Innovation will speed up and business decisions will become less theoretical. A more inclusive workplace results in greater work satisfaction and higher staff retention. And all it takes is a little work to start off with.

Unpaid internships create a situation whereby only those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds can afford to partake in such an invaluable opportunity. Targeting internships at those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and those from diverse backgrounds helps the next generation get a leg up and also helps you discover them before your rivals do.

Whether its via your website, your marketing collateral or during interviews, it is always important to convey a sense of diversity and understanding. Your branding should reflect how the business as a whole views diversity and the values that candidates should come to expect.

Swiftly becoming a trend is the idea of ‘blind recruitment’. Some companies require the candidate to submit a photo of themselves but we feel that that is quite unnecessary. Blind recruitment takes it a step further, so that the candidate’s name, address and educational record are not to be viewed by hiring managers. This weeds out any unintentional bias in the recruitment process.

Job adverts should also be double-checked for signs of any bias sneaking in. If we look back into the not-so-distant past, specs have been written with language that brings to mind whether the job is viewed as masculine or not. There may have been unnecessary requirements of education which could be viewed as exclusionary. Whatever the past mistakes, we must make sure not to continue to make those same mistakes into the future.

Where the candidates are sourced from can help. Job boards have been used previously as the go-to place to find candidates, especially for contingency recruitment firms. Spreading the net wider can help deepen the experience well. Utilising your workforce’s networks can also help.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to a change of mindset which leads to a change of work culture. It isn’t difficult but it can require some soul searching. Does the colour of someone’s skin matter really, when, after getting to the heart of what your organisation values, they are a match in those terms? Many companies are shooting themselves in the foot when not tackling long-held assumptions head-on.

There are recruitment partners who can point you in the right direction, if needed, and the results will help ensure a strong future for your company.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Recruiting For Diversity

It is about finding the perfect combination for everything to fall into place

Previously seen as a sop to do-gooders, diversity is now understood to be a key asset to a business by a lot of businesses. Others have not been as quick on the uptake of this understanding. If you prioritise the effectiveness of your organisation, it would be wise to pay heed to the facts.

Companies lacking diversity often fall into rote ways of thinking, treating the world as an already homogenised place, missing opportunities to grow and lacking understanding of different viewpoints.

When we talk about diversity we mean that a variety of ages, genders, abilities/disabilities, religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations are represented. Quite a few businesses still find it a struggle to imagine how these individuals may fit into their workplace.

To take this seriously, and be take seriously by your candidates, you must reckon with out-dated policies. Take religion, for example. Do you have a policy whereby those of differing faiths can take time off during the day, or during the year, in order to praise or respect their respective deities? If asked about this subject, can the hiring manager answer questions to ease any doubts that the candidates might have?

Diversity is not about ticking boxes. Diversity is about respect. Promoting inclusivity must lead from the job spec and job ad to the outreach to the interview and onboarding stages. Have you thought about the image your company projects within its commercials or website or literature?

Why go to the trouble, you ask? It is common knowledge that businesses with diverse workforces make better decisions and problem solve more efficiently. As the world becomes more diverse, the brain trust that comes with a diverse team cannot be underestimated. How much second-guessing does a business do? How many mistakes are made due to misunderstanding? How much of your resources have you poured into mistakes or fixing mistakes? Life doesn’t have to be that complicated.

Keeping a clear head and remaining focused on the important part of recruitment is paramount. Recruitment is subject to outside beliefs, which means it is not a sober and strategic mindset that is motivating the hiring decisions, but one of emotion and stereotyping.

The way to counter this is two-fold:

  1. Expertise. Engaging with a Specialist Recruitment Partner is important. They can guide you. Being from outside the business means that they can objectively assess the needs of the business and identify blind spots that those who have been within the company for a while cannot see. All you need to do it make your recruitment partner aware of the plan you have and they will be able to build diverse teams. But before you do that, you must understand…
  2. Data. Do you know what your current ratios are? How can you begin to tackle a problem if you do not know exactly how bad the problem is? HR need to be set the task of reporting back your diversity in order for you to assess and plan how you will improve.

Businesses that pride themselves on keeping that competitive edge need to embrace diversity. Enlarging the skillset of a business by exploiting the varied experiences of a diverse team means innovative ideas are brought to the forefront, cultural understandings are greater and adaptability is improved. When working with a business that is clearly committed to reflecting all walks of life, employees there are happier and more secure in themselves. And isn’t that what everyone wants?

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Recruitment: Accountability And Partnerships

Accountability counts

Accountability is the degree to which responsibility is taken or given. Partnership is a formal agreement between two or more parties.

They’re also two words that can almost always explain why your recruiter has not delivered what you required. Exclusivity goes a long way to explaining the difference between the dedicated and the undedicated when it comes to recruitment.

Before delving deeper it’s important to clear up what exclusivity means. Yes, a dictionary would define it as something restrictive or perhaps as exclusionary. Exclusivity means so much more than this and is also much more positive than that kind of description gives the impression of it as.

The simple fact is, in recruitment, exclusivity is freeing. Whilst you are engaging one recruiter for a set period of time with an agreement to pay portions of the agreed-upon amount when certain targets are hit, it does mean that more energy is committed to finding you candidates you need, within that time, and for those payments.

We all know the standard way things are done in this space: multiple contingency recruiters are set the task with no payment upfront, they all agree, they weigh up how much time they can dedicate to the task before they give up because it is costing them money to search and they look, sometimes successfully, most times unsuccessfully. Rinse and repeat.

In the system above, there is no real accountability. There is an illusion of accountability. It is an unspoken rule that recruiters will try, and if they fail, some other recruiters will be found to complete the task. The impetus is on the employer to organise waves of recruiters, none of whom can dedicate a lot of time to the search, and to keep going until the job is done. This leads to a lot of job board searches and communications with candidates who are actively seeking jobs, as going deeper to find prospects is a much more time consuming task.

Specialist recruitment partners work in a different way and they are not afraid of accountability. In fact, they thrive on it. But how do you select that recruiter?

It comes down to three things:


If there is no specialism, how can you differentiate one recruiter from another? Why go for a recruiter who does not have the time or inclination to really learn about your business? Knowing a partner has the knowledge already to operate on the same level as the candidates you are hoping to hire really gives great peace of mind.

Track Record

With specialism comes a strong track record. The hard lessons that a contingency recruiter may learn while working for you have already been learned, so they hit the ground running. They are also operating on a totally different playing field to the contingency recruiter, in that they have not ever been allowed to shy away from the challenge, so the experience they have is genuine and hard won.


The drive and enjoyment of seeing that job right through to the end. The love for the sector your company is in. These things cannot be forced or faked. The candidates you really want, can sense this.

 Add to this, the fact that specialist recruitment partners will work with you to perfect job specs and strategy including cooperatively reworking the plan if a course of action is not producing results, means that you will be getting a lot more for your money than you were previously.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Junior Talent Vs Senior Experts

Running an inquisitive eye over the two types of candidates…

With the power pendulum swinging back from employers to employees and candidates, the job market has caused many businesses to question just what it is they are doing and what they want from their team.

One of the major sticking points is the difference between junior talent and senior experts, and which ones will suit the needs of the company or fit into the company’s future business plans. Taking on someone with lots of potential yet little experience, or choosing a track record which is in serious demand, can be one of the hardest choices in recruitment.

Dwindling supplies of top tier candidates, who are snapped up almost instantly for well-paying roles has driven organisations to test the waters of seeking out the untested and the university leavers.

Whether they are straight out of Uni, an apprentice, someone from the workforce who has retrained or someone who is turning a hobby into a career, they should never be discounted from these niche roles. Aside from reasonable salary expectations and a willingness to develop, one of the main reasons to seriously consider these candidates is that they are usually extremely up-to-date in terms of the software they use. They may also be looking for some kind of guarantee of progression within the company.

On the flipside, the experienced candidate will be able to start working straight away, not needing much help. By this point in their careers, the experienced candidates will know what they do and don’t want. They will accept the offer or they will reject it. There will be very little hesitation or dawdling. If your retention rate is important to you, you may desire this type of candidate.

If you are looking for a quick impact, go with the experienced prospect. If you desire a individual who intends to have a deeper impact, then select a new talent. Where your business is, financially, can have an impact on who you choose. It is a delicate balancing act because experienced candidates will cost more in this climate, yet spending time on new blood can cost more in time, which in turn, costs more in money in the long run.

With most companies, a balance should usually be found between experience and junior talent. If you choose a new talent, you are choosing someone who knows about the newest innovations and has energy, ideas and passion. The experienced hand has been through this stage of their life and are seeking something more stable where they can use the skills they have gained to benefit your company.

Efficiency can only be achieved with the right mix and if your company has little experience of onboarding junior talent or of creating something like Data Team, you will need to bring in experience consultants or dedicated specialist recruitment partners, who can utilise their years of experience to help you get that mix right.

 If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that investment in the future has been neglected in favour of the hunger for short term gains. Now that organisations are waking up to that fact, one of the ways they are making up for it is by dedicating resources towards junior talent. Hiring them, yes, but also investing in their future in order to retain the talent. They will come to the business trained in a certain discipline with an aptitude with certain programs, but their skillset must be developed so that their soft skills are on point for the company’s future.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Recruitment: Opportunity & Upskilling

Encourage upskilling to make sure your employees can climb the ladder

Whilst the role of the recruiter has always been viewed as one of seeking out and selecting candidates with the requisite hard skills needed for the role they are tasked with filling, it should now also be seen as the job of ascertaining which candidates have the requisite soft skills that aid in their interpersonal communications and problem-solving.

This is essential now that working from home has become normalised, in the wake of Covid-19. Teams need to communicate better and managers need to be able to get to the bottom of problems at a distance from their workforce. Productivity suffers otherwise.

The skills shortage is not just within the hard skills, it is within soft skills too and upper echelon management are rightly concerned about it. If you are desperately seeking the right candidate to unlock your data project and, try as you might, you cannot find one, or find one who will commit to your company, you don’t have many options open to you. The C-Suite knows this and that is why around 80% of CEOs are stressing about it.

Offering opportunities and guarantees of upskilling to prospective candidates is one way to win them over from a competitor’s offer. Soft skills have now come to the fore more than they have in the recent past and the impetus is on the honing of them, in order to prepare the workforce for the next steps in their careers.

Invention, intuition, innovation and ingenuity are major factors in the rising need for upskilling. Whereas the C-suite used to view these attributes with indifference, with a pandemic that has not yet ended, the benefits to a company’s health of collaboration and communication are now seen as important. With that comes the desire to upskill the workforce.

Jobs that revolve around the understanding of technology and a need for highly technical skills, are no longer immune to the need for personal skills too. As projects grow larger and more complex, so do the teams, which means that they must operate like well-oiled machines.

On top of all of this, the teams may be working at locations in different cities, or even different continents, which means that communication breakdowns will hugely inhibit a productive working environment. Empathy must be present in those who are working in that environment.

Upskilling is already having an impact on recruitment. Businesses are already starting to focus on whether a candidate has advanced organisational skills, is friendly, thrives in difficult situations. Yes, these are always on job specs, but now there seems to be a move towards profiles that display this information as equal to the hard skills that are required.

Leadership qualities, emotional intelligence and resilience are two other major soft skills needed to take these businesses into the future and that also applies to current managers. Covid-19 has exposed a soft skills gap within management, which needs to be filled quickly before it becomes a real detriment to firms. The more diverse a company becomes, the more management need to upskill to understand where employees are coming from.

A programme of upskilling within a company not only strengthens the workers but it strengthens the company. Employees who have been encouraged and helped to upskill are much more likely to respect that company and to stay with that company. While upskilling costs money, it saves money in the long run. Lower turnover, in turn, saves time and money on constantly on-boarding staff. Upskilling builds confidence and leads to heightened productivity too.

The paranoia that the C-suite execs have that they are just spending money to train the next company’s workforce must end. There is no evidence that that ever happens. Workers want to feel valued and respected and upskilling is a way both parties can win.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.