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How Companies Identify Talent with Ketan Dattani & Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

Buckingham Futures Human Resources Hiring Strategies

The importance of giving to others can’t be understated and that’s because the secret to living is giving.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Ketan Dattani.

Ketan Dattani is the CEO and Founding Owner of Buckingham Futures, a specialist Recruitment Business that provides bespoke permanent and temporary Environmental recruitment and consultancy solutions to public and private sector employers. Ketan has a high profile within the Recruitment sector and is widely recognized as an expert on Employment Law, Employee rights, CV writing, and providing Careers Advice.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?

Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I have always had an avid interest in environmental issues and problems caused by human activities like air pollution, water pollution, soil, and land pollution, climate change, global warming, deforestation, carbon footprint, genetic modification, the human effect on marine life, public health issues, overpopulation, the loss of biodiversity, household and industrial waste, ozone layer depletion, natural resource depletion, natural disasters, nuclear issues, acid rain, agricultural pollution, light and noise pollution, urban sprawl, medical waste and littering and landfill sites.

It was my avid interest in Environmental matters that led to my academic choices of undertaking an undergraduate degree in Environmental Biology and a Masters degree in Environmental Planning and Management. I also hold a Certificate in Employment Law and The Certificate in Recruitment Practice which is a nationally recognized recruitment qualification developed jointly by the REC and key employers.

After completing my Masters in Environmental Planning and Management in 1998, I unfortunately struggled to find a role within the Environmental sector and so began my career in recruitment.

I identified a niche for providing employment opportunities for Environmental professionals and set up Buckingham Futures, a specialist Consultancy supplying Environmental personnel across the Private and Public sectors on a nationwide basis.

Thank you for sharing your story. Can you also share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?

Early on in my recruitment career, I arranged an interview for a candidate with a client of mine. After the interview, the candidate emailed my client (her prospective employer) and cc’d me.

“It was a pleasure meeting you today. Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. As mentioned in the interview, I have great people skills. In my current job, I copulate with team members on a daily basis to ensure divisional targets were met. Looking forward to hearing from you.”

She meant to type “cooperate.” Nevertheless, she was offered the job. I advised her that ‘auto-correct’ is not always dependable. We still laugh about it to this day.

Wonderful. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?

As the owner of a Recruitment Business, from experience I recommend casting your net as wide as you can, using all the avenues available to you when searching for those hard to reach employees.

1. Social networks: Employers are increasingly sourcing talent from social media networks. In fact, my 2 of my most recent recruits were successfully hired via LinkedIn. Social networks are also a great way to forge meaningful relationships with passive candidates and build a pipeline.

2. Networking events: Your talent pool can be dramatically expanded when you spend time in the right places. I have met some extremely talented people at sector-specific networking events. Non-pressurized surroundings are a great way to meet people in the right industry and to promote your business.

3. Become an employer of choice: Job seekers are drawn to positive company culture and mission. Cultivating a progressive and lively company culture can help potential employees approach you. By focusing on core values you will find the right people that really connect to your mission.

4. Referrals: Look at your current employees. You will find that they often have an extensive sector-specific network to tap into.

5. Consistent communication: Most companies issue an automatic reply to every job applicant and some recruiters don’t respond at all. This will leave a negative impression of your organization with job seekers. If a candidate proved to be unsuitable for a particular role but showed some promise, keep the channel of communication open with them as there might be a more fitting job down the line.

With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?

1. Be clear: A smart recruiter provides a clear picture of every required detail in the job notification such as company history, pay scale, perks, company culture, and career opportunities. A good job notification should be able to clearly communicate job requirements and how applicants can benefit from this profile. A short video or a link to the company’s career blog is a good idea to express these plus points.

2. Campus recruiting: I encourage my staff to form excellent working relationships with the staff at career centers at universities. Career center staff are glad to help with useful tips to maximize our recruiting efforts. They can advise on the best way to expose our company to top talent and provide a variety of opportunities to get engaged with their final year students and notify us of forthcoming employer/student campus events.

3. Show the opportunity as highly desirable: Flaunt your job opportunity in such a way that it appears to be an opportunity not to be missed. Be smart and tactful in doing so, and you will be able to attract and engage the best talent for your company easily.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The importance of giving to others can’t be understated and that’s because the secret to living is giving.

If you really think about it, what is life all about? Creating meaning. How do you create meaning in your life?

It’s not about what you do for yourself: It’s about how you’re able to better the lives of the people around you — your loved ones, the people in your community or the lives of people somewhere else in the world.

Big fan of that answer! Can you also give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how that was relevant to you in your life?

A comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.”

Don’t join an “easy” crowd. You won’t grow. Comfort can lead to self-absorption, boredom, and discontent. Many people are so comfortable they’re miserable.

Breaking a habit, trying something new, taking a risk, making new connections, or putting yourself in a totally new situation won’t be easy, but it’s worth it. It’s exhausting but rewarding.

You can either be comfortable and stagnate or stretch yourself — become uncomfortable — and grow. Always choose the latter.

We are very blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

I would love to have a private lunch with Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson. I am inspired not only by his success but his moralistic views on business. More recently his pledge to invest $3 billion toward addressing global warming issues over the course of the following decade being an advocate of the Environment myself has greatly fascinated me.

Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!

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