How to stop HR compliance slowing your growth plans

HR compliance is a crucial process. But that doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating when HR responsibilities cause bottlenecks that stall growth. Especially when those delays mean you lose top tech candidates to competitors.

It might feel like HR compliance is out of your hands. Your biggest priority is getting the right people onto your team – not making sure you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s from a compliance perspective.

That’s not quite true. 

There are things you can do to make HR’s lives easier – and make sure HR compliance doesn’t slow your growth plans. 

Shift your mindset

Compliance is vital to successful recruitment. Nobody loves compliance – it’s a headache. But without a green light, nothing is possible. 

So shift your mindset. And know the consequences of getting compliance wrong. HR compliance isn’t a bureaucratic delay. It’s not something you can work around (or skirt around). 

Losing that technical hire you need might feel like the worst case. But securing that candidate without ensuring compliance can be worse. 

Either because you’ll get all the way through process and last-minute company compliance concerns will rear their head and mess things up. Or worse, because you could find yourself in legal hot water. 

Never assume

As recruiters, we’ve learned the hard way: never assume compliance is taken care of. If those assumptions are wrong, you’ve wasted significant time and effort – for nothing.

From our perspective, compliance is often a more strictly defined process in larger businesses. Which on one hand, is frustrating because it can cause hiring delays. But on the other, smaller businesses might lack a compliance process altogether – which can cause even longer delays while they sort everything out.

Especially for high-growth businesses, compliance might be an ongoing battle to get right as the business scales. That makes compliance even more important – so never assume; always ask. 

Be proactive 

This comes hand-in-hand with the first two points. There’s a fundamental shift in attitude here – HR compliance isn’t just on HR’s lap. It’s on everyone’s lap, because compliance effects everyone.

Managers can play their role by being proactive. If you wait for HR to come to you, you have no control over the process. If you approach HR upfront, you can make sure they get what they need and when, before they ask. 

For example, the visa situation in the Netherlands has changed a lot over the past few years. As more companies seek international technical talent, visas have become harder to secure from certain locations. 

Make sure you know what proof you need, and how long the process will take, so you can proactively manage the process. You’ll be red-faced and frustrated if you didn’t take into account that your new software engineer needs to wait five months for a visa when you need them on a project in two.  

Particularly in the Netherlands, many of our clients turn to international technical talent to help them grow. Relocation introduces more moving parts into the equation but we’re experts at helping clients navigate this space without disruption. 

Involve your team 

HR compliance shouldn’t be a skeleton in the cupboard. It should be something you discuss openly, to build compliance into your normal working processes. Likewise, compliance shouldn’t be a discrete, one-off thing. It’s not just a box you have to tick – it’s a process.

For example, are you managing your team in a compliant way? Do team members interact in ways that leave them vulnerable to non-compliance claims?

Compliance doesn’t just happen during recruitment and that’s the end of it, is the point. As a manager, you have to set a compliant culture from day one. 

Uncover unconscious bias  

To be compliant, your recruitment process must be fair and non-discriminatory. But unconscious bias can sneak in where you least expect it and leave you vulnerable to non-compliance claims.

You want to hire fast and this compliance stuff probably feels tedious. But take the extra time to rigorously assess all your recruitment touchpoints. 

Are your job adverts using implied gendered language, for example? Research shows language like ‘dominant’, ‘ambitious’, ‘self-confident’ and ‘achievement-driven’ are associated with the male gender stereotype. If your ads consistently use this language you might only attract men – or your interviewers might unfairly assume male candidates better fit the role. 

Or another example – are all your interviewers male? Are you – and anyone else interviewing – well-briefed on the interview questions you definitely can’t ask (even if they’re well-intentioned)? 

HR compliance is everyone’s responsibility 

HR compliance can sometimes be frustrating but it’s a crucial aspect of the technical recruitment process. Stepping up and taking responsibility helps you bring the right technical people into your team – the right way. So you don’t make costly non-compliance mistakes later.

Arrows Group help high-growth, high-tech companies hire the technical talent they need to scale. Let’s chat about Arrows becoming your strategic growth partner.

Four-stage sourcing process to find the best tech talent

You know the story. It’s a hyper competitive hiring market and the best technical people are hard to find, let alone hire.

So. Where do you look for them? 

Finding technical rockstars might feel impossible but it’s certainly not. If it were, we wouldn’t have built a highly successful recruitment business helping high-growth businesses like yours hire them. At scale, too. We generally work in multiples of two, five or ten for any one company, at any one time. 

Here’s our four-stage sourcing process, from the moment a client calls us with an opening. (Active recruitment comes later than you might think). 

1 – Qualify the opening  

First things first – who are we looking for? There’s no point going to market unless you know precisely who you’re going to market for. Equally, there’s no point going to market with an impossible list of requirements. 

As we’ve said before, it’s about compromise. 

If you want someone yesterday, you can’t also demand niche, senior technical skills and a niche industry background. If you want local Dutch speakers, you might have to wait, or pay above the odds. And so on.

If you’re working with Arrows, we’ll help you refine your brief so you know the person you’re looking for is actually out there. And we’ll tell you if your requirements are impossible – there’s no point wasting your time, or ours. 

2 – Approach your active hotlist  

We spend all day, every day, immersed in technical recruitment. So our network is our biggest asset – and something our consultants have spent years building. 

A typical consultant with three years’ bedding into the market should always have an active hotlist of three to five technical candidates who are actively looking for a new role. So that’s the first step – we see if they could be a fit and ask for referrals if they’re not. 

There’s not a like-for-like equivalent to this if you’re recruiting solo, but asking your employee network for referrals is a good idea. 

3 – Approach your passive hotlist   

In recruitment, a huge bulk of the role isn’t actually about recruiting. It’s about mapping the market – identifying every single player (only possible when you specialise, as we do) and building relationships with them.

As a result of that activity, a typical Arrows consultant also has a passive hotlist of around 150 to 200 technical candidates. As a business, we’ve got a global database of 250,000 technical candidates. 

These are people we’ve built a relationship with – often chatting or meeting for coffee every few months. Sometimes we’ve worked with them before; sometimes we’ve even placed them in every new role throughout their career. 

So that’s the second step. Calling your passive candidate hotlist and seeing if anyone’s situation has changed, and asking for referrals. 

The two hotlist stages are generally so successful that 75% of our hires might come from this source. It’s rare we’d ever ‘go to market’ in an active sense. 

But again, this stage is hard to replicate unless recruitment is your day job (building relationships like this takes a phenomenal amount of time). What you could do is call through your ATS and speak to anyone you’ve spoken to before, and ask them for referrals.

4 – Active recruitment (job applications; boards; social media)

The smaller your network, the more you’ll rely on active candidate sources like job applications, job boards and social media.

The issue is, candidates who are actively looking for a role will likely be interviewing in a huge number of places. Possibly ten or more. Which dampens your chances of a successful hire considerably. 

Not least because it means you don’t have the level of candidate management you’d like – which comes from having strong relationships. 

Also, the best technical people often never make it onto the open market. Top techies generally have strong relationships with recruiters – if they’re looking for a new role, they call the recruiter and ask for one, and that’s that. 

Don’t lose hope though. Probably 25% of candidates we send to clients are actively looking for a role, and of those, maybe one in four offers are successful. 

Having a great job advert is important here – you never know who’s eye you can catch; someone who never thought they were looking. 

That’s why it’s important your advert really sells your opportunity (standing out from the crowd is hard) and doesn’t unintentionally alienate anyone (unconscious bias can be a secret talent deterrent). 

To recruit better technical people, network is everything 

If you’re only recruiting a couple of technical people a year, you can go to market ad-hoc and you’ll probably be fine. It might take longer than you’d like and you might have a few drop-outs along the way. But you’ll get there.

If, on the other hand, you have ambitious growth plans, you need to view recruitment differently. At that point, recruitment needs to be less about reacting to a need and more about creating a pipeline. So you’ve got the technical talent waiting in the wings when you need to move. 

That’s not impossible to do yourself – not at all. But it does take time. And experience. And deep knowledge of the market. 

Long-term you can invest in building those capabilities in-house – or you could scale now, by working with strategic growth partners who’ve spent 16 years learning the technical recruitment space inside-out.

Your call. Call us if it’s the latter – we’d love to chat.

How high-growth teams can find tech talent that ticks all the boxes

Every business, every team, has slightly different hiring needs. But all the same, we’re all familiar with the ‘technical rockstar’. 

That dream technical candidate that slots seamlessly into your team, integrates effortlessly into complex projects, energizes and engages colleagues, and becomes an evangelist for your culture and values.

Read on to understand what separates those dream candidates from the pack. And then keep reading to discover why you can’t always get what you want (but what you should do instead). 

What sets a dream tech candidate apart? 

Here’s what our consultants say:

    • Specialists not generalists. Less is more. Mostly we want tech candidates who’re real subject matter experts. They know their language inside-out; they’re not jacks of all trades.  
    • Understanding of wider context. The best tech talent knows they don’t work in a silo. They can clearly articulate what they’ve done within teams, and how those projects related to broader business strategy. 
    • Longevity. Tech candidates move jobs more often than they used to. That’s an unavoidable fact. But too-early turnover throws projects into turmoil and your team into workload overdrive while you re-recruit. So ideally we hunt for tech people with two to four years tenure in past roles.      
    • Exceptional communication skills. IT has changed, and the tech professionals you need have changed too. We look for tech people who play well with others. It’s crucial they can clearly articulate what they do and what they need to non-techie people. 
    • Cultural fit. The types of companies we work with generally have a bold, vibrant culture, so need technical professionals who can hold their own. The days of back-office cost-centre IT is over, at least in the worlds we work in. 
    • Track record in high-growth companies. We work with high-tech, high-growth businesses, so tech candidates need to be intimately familiar with that environment. It’s fast and furious – and there’s no room to hide.
    • Agile experience. By the same token, many of our clients specifically look for project managers and developers who’ve worked the agile methodology, with paired or extreme programming. Tech candidate with that experience who embrace that mentality are always in high-demand. 
    • Ability to learn fast. The demands of evolving technology like cyber security means businesses often cross-train, so we look for tech people who learn fast. If your business is set-up to effectively upskill, we’ll find you fast learners. 
    • They live and breathe tech. The best techies don’t see tech as a job. It’s a passion. Maybe they’re actively engaged in communities and forums, or maybe they contribute to open source, for example. The point is, they live their subject matter.

So that’s the unicorn. The dream tech hire. And they are out there. Probably two in five of the candidates we work with match that profile, for example. 

But let’s talk about compromise for a moment.

Find YOUR perfect technical hire (not THE perfect technical hire)

In reality, both the Netherlands and the UK are competitive, candidate-driven hiring markets. There are more open roles than technical professionals to fill them. Which means a comparatively small number of businesses will find THE tech rockstar that ticks every box.

Everyone else has to compromise. Recruitment isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every business has unique needs – and faces unique challenges.

Defining those needs and challenges helps you decide what your recruitment strategy should be – today and for future growth.

For example, maybe your interview-to-offer ratio is poor because your interview process takes too long. You want the unicorn technical candidate that ticks every box – but you simply won’t compete until you address your processes.

Maybe right now, you compromise and decide to hire someone with three years’ Java experience instead of five, because you’ve got a great in-house training set-up. And then longer-term, you start adapting your recruitment processes.  

Or maybe you’re absolutely certain you need a best-in-class developer and you need them yesterday. But you’ve been looking for weeks and nobody local fits. So you compromise, and decide to hire a Canadian developer who’s the absolute top of her game. 

And then long-term, you start fleshing out an apprentice programme to cultivate future skills locally. Or you invest into boosting your local employer brand, to help your business stand out from the pack. 

For example, we often help high-growth Dutch tech teams expand their search into international talent. Sacrificing Dutch-language skills – which often aren’t really needed, since code is universal and most high-growth businesses have international expansion plans anyway – unlocks incredible developers from elsewhere, who can add real value to your business.  

The point is, hiring ad hoc for top-tier tech talent is becoming nearly impossible, in both the UK and the Netherlands. You might get lucky a few times but ultimately a scattergun approach will hamstring your future growth. 

What’s needed is a long-term talent strategy that addresses your unique challenges, to build a future-proof recruitment mechanism that helps your business scale.  

That’s what Arrows Group help with. We partner with some of the world’s fastest-growth businesses to create talent strategies that help them stay ahead of the competition. 

How OneDayTM is transforming technical recruitment

You’ve probably heard us talk about our OneDayTM technical recruitment framework. 

Some clients hear OneDayTM and assume that means they can totally forget about recruitment apart from one day of interviews, and they’ll magically get five technical hires at the end. 

That’s not the case. 

OneDayTM is a dramatically faster way to hire – yes. And it does culminate in a single day of interviews. And you could have five new technical hires by the end of the day. 

But there much more going on behind the scenes. And only certain businesses can elevate their recruitment function to achieve OneDayTM. So let’s put the record straight.

What is OneDayTM?

OneDayTM is a collaborative, strategic recruitment framework for making multiple technical hires fast. It’s a controlled recruitment process with defined timescales and deliverables – culminating in a single day of interviews, and usually two to five technical hires.

OneDayTM condenses the recruitment lifecycle dramatically, usually to only two weeks from defining roles to having offers accepted. 

It also gives a dramatically improved candidate experience, which means candidates are more likely to accept your offers. Even candidates who don’t ultimately become employees have a positive experience – which boosts your employer brand and builds your future candidate network.

Overall OneDayTM is a more efficient, effective way to build your technical teams. It’s the antidote to a fast-paced, competitive hiring landscape.  

Sounds great, right? But OneDayTM isn’t for everyone.

Could you hire in OneDayTM

We get huge amounts of interest in OneDayTM – but many businesses just aren’t set-up to make OneDayTM work. OneDayTM is a tool, not a one-stop-shop solution. 

Here are the five criteria to see if OneDayTM could work for you.

1 – Do you need to hire multiple people, fast? 

OneDayTM is a better way to recruit technical people at scale. If you don’t need at least three technical hires within the next six months, this isn’t for you. That is, growth must be a strategic priority for your business right now. 

Otherwise you’ll struggle to get other stakeholders on-board, even if you personally are 100% committed to OneDayTM

2 – Can you give us exclusivity?  

To make OneDayTM work, we invest a huge amount of time and resource. Like several full-time consultants – even people on-site, in many cases.  

That’s not feasible unless you’re totally committed to working with us, which means trusting us exclusively with at least three roles. In practice, we’ll rarely make our first job together a OneDayTM. We’d usually ask you to give us one or two roles traditionally first, so we can learn your business and you can learn to trust us. Then we’d move to OneDayTM.

3 – Are you overwhelmingly committed?  

OneDayTM is like playing on a sports team together. If you don’t turn up, we can’t play and we certainly can’t win. In other words, OneDayTM only works if all stakeholders are on-side, with full commitment.

That means hiring managers, of course, but also engineers doing the interviews. Your team. HR. The C-Suite. Everyone needs to buy-into OneDayTM or there’s always someone who’ll disrupt the process – and it’ll fail. 

4 – Are you flexible? 

OneDayTM is a people-product – so you never quite know how it will evolve. You rely on our many years’ experience, of course, and deep market knowledge and extensive research. But anything can happen and you have to adapt. 

Like, perhaps that ideal job description simply isn’t on the market for your budget. You’re going to have to either increase your budget or change some must-haves to nice-to-haves, fast. 

5 – Do you have a fantastic employer proposition? 

At heart, OneDayTM is a sales opportunity. It attracts the best technical people on the market to interview, so you can give them an incredible experience and energize them to join your team.  

To do that, you have to actually be incredible. You have to know what makes you, you – and sell that to candidates during the interview day. 

We’re organising a OneDayTM at the moment, for example, where we’re putting on a whole event about the evolution of hybrid tech during the day. The CEO and all team leaders will be there; candidates get breakfast and lunch, meet everyone who matters.

It’s a big deal – but the client should get five to ten engineers out of it. Because everyone who attends has an incredible experience, and leaves feeling inspired and valued. 

Elevate recruitment to turn growth into business-as-usual

OneDayTM is fundamentally changing how high-growth companies in the Netherlands and the UK scale their tech teams. Because the thing about OneDayTM is, it’s not really about OneDayTM.

Ultimately OneDayTM becomes a recurring event that drives continuous growth. It’s a total strategic repositioning of the recruitment function – where recruitment becomes core business, not an add-on. And that’s what needs to happen, if your business is serious about growth.

Arrows Group partner with many of the world’s fastest-growing businesses, to build a strategic recruitment function that accelerates – not stalls – growth. Find out more about OneDayTM.