New rules in the battle for talent: How the pandemic has changed recruiting in mining
After years of sluggish growth, mining now is happily firing on all cylinders. The result is that there’s a dogfight for good people, and it’s especially vicious in this boom cycle given the dramatic changes in employment conditions, relationships, and values brought around by global pandemic. Managers at all levels in mining companies, from the engineering manager to the VP, need to adapt to this new reality.
If you’re looking to rise above the fray and emerge victorious in the war for talent, keep the following in mind.
1 | “Recruiting” is different than “hiring”
It’s a common misconception but recruiting and hiring are not the same thing. While they’re both methodologies for bringing new people into your organization, hiring focuses on roles and recruitment focuses on talent. This is a big difference that requires a shift in mindset and approach.
Organizations that focus on hiring will concentrate on the job description, the posting, head counts, compensation banding, conducting interviews, and getting offers out the door as fast as possible. Organizations that focus on recruiting will concentrate on understanding what kind of talent and personalities the business needs, romancing the best candidates by identifying their motivations and needs, and finding the right place within the business to get the most out of their hire.
How then do managers evolve from hiring to recruiting? They need to constantly stay on top of industry trends, understand what their competition is doing, and then do things differently. Managers need to proactively network and build dedicated talent pipelines and succession plans. They need to anticipate their future talent needs and manage their brand as carefully as their people. Managers who RECRUIT know the talent they will need; have identified the people who have it before they need it; and know how to bring that talent on board.
2 | YOU drive recruitment
Your primary responsibility as a manager is to ensure that your team is optimized to deliver the best possible results to your stakeholders. That said, you can’t optimize your team if you don’t build it properly and you can’t build it properly if you don’t drive the recruitment process yourself.
Too often managers abdicate responsibility to others, choosing to focus on other elements of their job; however, there is no one better suited to lead recruitment than the person who also leads the team, is responsible for its success, and experiences firsthand the pain when the team falls short. Have a plan, get involved with the details, and drive it like you would any other project you’re involved with. If you don’t take recruiting seriously, no one will.
3 | Be proactive
The most successful professional recruiters don’t wait for top talent to self-identify – they go out and find it themselves.
As an executive search and technical recruitment firm, we’re constantly networking, prospecting, and engaging with intriguing candidates regardless of our current portfolio of searches. We’re always interested in speaking to people who have a strong professional pedigree, who have worked on interesting, successful projects, who have a solid track record of accomplishments, and who we think might add value to our clients. We’re always playing the long game. Managers should follow suit.
Network within industry associations. Go to industry events. Make sure your team knows about your recruitment plans and encourage them to help. Create and maintain a list of people who you think would fit in with your team. Reach out regularly and have informal conversations with them about how you might be able to collaborate. Carefully keep track of them and cultivate relationships with them as any recruiter would.
Recruitment is an active and ongoing process as you continually build out your teams’ capabilities, even when you have a full roster.
4 | Train your recruitment team
Because of how important, and resource-
intensive, recruitment is, you may elect to engage internal or external recruitment support. Whether you use an outside firm or your company’s recruitment team, the better they understand you, the better they will perform.
There is a temptation to assume that the more experienced or specialized a recruiter is, the more hands-off you can be in engaging them. This is a fundamental mistake, and a huge, missed opportunity. A professional recruiter who specializes in your field might know your market and have a deep bench and they’ll also have the capacity to truly understand your specific needs. They can internalize the unique challenges you face with your teams, projects, methodologies, and technologies and use that insight to find the best possible candidate for your role.
The best way to guarantee this kind of success is to train your recruiters. Bring them as close to your business as possible. Don’t just give them a job description and a few bullets on the benefits of joining your team; ensure they get to know your team, the projects you’re working on, the challenges you face, the problems you’re experiencing and the obstacles you need to overcome.
The best predictor for success from your recruitment provider is their proximity to your business. The better they know you, your business, and your pain points, the more effectively they can identify the talent you need and successfully attract them to you.
Erik Buckland is a Client Director with Lincoln Strategic International, human capital consulting firm with a core specialty of executive search and technical recruitment and an exclusive focus on the global mining industry.