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How to recruit top talent


Janice Haddon gives us some great tips about how to hire the best - and what to do to keep them.

Just how do you attract the best of the best into your business? Many organisations are now making recruitment their top focus for their HR teams. In recent research, 39% of businesses put recruiting top talent as their number one HR priority. Additionally the CIPD’s 'Spring 2015 Labour Market Outlook' reported that 74% of businesses recruited key talent externally rather than promoting internally.

At the other end of the scale only 6% of businesses are focussing on helping employees to achieve a better work-life balance, even though it is rated as the top influence on staff morale, with two fifths of those questioned believing this to be the case. 

The truth is that not only do you need a slick recruitment process as the foundation for getting the right people in; you also need a great culture, values, policies and procedures to attract them in the first place. In the long run this will also help you to retain them, keeping top talent within the business. But first you need to get them in, so let’s start with the recruitment process.

When advertising:


  • Make it clear what you are looking for
  • Point out the skills, experience and qualifications that are essential for the role
  • Use appropriate branding
  • Choose the right places to advertise or the right agency/head hunter appropriate for the role


  • Over sell the role. You may attract candidates in the first place, but they will become despondent very quickly if you cannot meet up to the promises you made for the job role or for their personal development
  • Use any discriminatory language or requirements for selection

When selecting the right candidate:


  • Document everything and make it clear why you are either going to or not going to interview each prospective candidate
  • Keep notes and offer rejected candidates feedback. Taking the time to do this gives you a good employer brand in the market place so the time spent now will serve you well in the future
  • Make sure your managers are trained in interviewing. The interview is a two-way process so they need to give the right impression. I have seen candidates turn down what appears to be their dream job because of how senior managers have conducted themselves in the interview

New starters:


  • Give them a full induction to the organisation, including to policies, procedures, how the organisation works and what they can expect
  • Ensure they have full support from their line manager and new team
  • Give them the appropriate training and set clear boundaries and expectations
  • Set objectives and review performance regularly. People like feedback on what they are doing well and what they can improve on. Without it expectations become blurred and review meetings become awkward as opinions differ


  • Go back on what you outlined at the interview
  • Be too busy to set clear targets

Attracting top talent requires clarity of roles, focused development, a culture of supporting work/life balance and wellbeing alongside open and constructive communication.  

With the recruitment market on the up and it becoming ever easier for employees to look elsewhere if they are not happy, getting the right focus on your employees is fundamental for a happy workforce operating at peak performance and for being able to attract them to your organisation in the first place.

Janice Haddon has over 25 years’ experience in strategic and operational Human Resources and management consultancy. A Fellow of the CIPD with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, an MA in Psychotherapy and an MBA from Henley Management College, Janice is also a Master Practitioner in NLP, a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapy Counsellor and runs a number of businesses including Morgan Redwood

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Janice Haddon


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