As someone who has been in Health and Safety Recruitment for 7 years – I can categorically say that recruitment within the industry has never been more competitive.
With a wealth of experienced candidates available – how do you know who to hire, and how can you be sure that you are confident in that decision? With that in mind, SHP have asked me to share a few top secret tips of the trade with you – Sshhh!
1) Commercial mindset has never been more important. In this day and age, companies need candidates that are able to think of Health and Safety as an integral part of the profitability of the company, as well as an ethical concern. This can massively be demonstrated at interview stage. It is important to delve into a candidates achievements to see that they understand how Safety can impact the bottom line – asking questions about budgets, engagement with operations or other more commercially focused parts of the business are key.
2) Qualifications are obviously an integral part of a Health and Safety but too much emphasis can be put on these, meaning employers overlook a candidates transferrable skill set or attitude. Of course ensure that a candidate has a NEBOSH Certificate (or equivalent) as a minimum, but don’t forget to look at other aspects of their personality and progression.
Things like networking groups (IOSH meetings, location specific or industry specific groups, HSE Leaders etc.) show a continued drive to progress above and beyond their qualifications and tend to indicate a well balanced and dynamic candidate.
3) Career progression – although job titles are a good indication of a candidates abilities they can be misleading. Try to look outside of the title and consider reporting lines and management responsibility. If you are recruiting for a Senior management position for a team of 10 – an advisor with 5 reports may be a better fit that a manager with none.
4) Risk profile vs sector – An ideal candidate is usually described as one that has worked in a very similar company in a very similar role, however how likely is it that a candidate in a similar role is looking for a sideways move? Consider the risk profile that they have been exposed to, rather than companies they have worked for. A good example would be Safety professionals within Facilities Management transferring into consultancy due to the client facing nature of the role.
5) Nowadays personality could be seen as much more important than sector experience – particularly with companies looking to change the perception of safety internally and introduce engaging professionals to the workforce. Look at previous accomplishments and achievements and how they communicated and integrated these with the workforce to ensure that the candidate’s values match yours and the company’s, as well as the goals that you are looking to achieve.
6) And finally process, process, process. Nothing is more frustrating than a candidate applying for a role and not hearing back, attending an interview and not receiving feedback, or long delays between interviews and decisions. It is a commonly quoted fact that News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for good customer service – so ensuring that your process is slick is not only good customer service but also brand protection.
Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an exhaustive list and every business prioritises these sorts of things differently. However any good recruitment agency (cough* HSE Recruitment *cough) should and will work in partnership with you to understand your needs and help you not only to identify the best talent for your business, but interview, offer and retain that talent!