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The How-To: Helping HRs Find The Right Talent In The MENA Region Being more creative, keeping track of changing trends, verifying their workforce's credentials pre-hire, and finding cost-effective solutions to problems can help smaller organizations to thrive and compete with much larger companies for the best new talent.

By Peter Cleverton

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Our 2019 EMEA Employment Screening Benchmark Report has found that Human Resources (HR) teams are looking at new ways of using software and digital products to address their most critical human resources issues. Across the region, HR professionals are under more pressure than ever to find the right talent – and fast.

Here are several trends emerging that will no doubt impact SMEs.

HR is investing in technology
Introducing new technology into HR processes is not new, but this year HR departments are increasingly thinking of new ways to use software and digital products to help them address their biggest challenges. Technology has the power to change the face of the HR profession, enabling faster and more diverse hiring decisions to be made, fair and thorough performance management, engagement and KPI tracking, training and development plans, and so on. The opportunities are endless. So much so, 45% of HR leaders are putting aside more than 10% of their 2019 budget to invest in technology.

42% of HR experts predicted that Artificial Intelligence (AI) recruiting technology would disrupt HR in 2019, yet fewer than 10% are planning to invest in it in the next 12 months. However, the need for a more efficient way of recruiting is at the forefront of HR professionals' minds, and AI recruiting technology could certainly be part of the solution – but maybe not just yet!

Whether you're a larger SME and have an HR department, or you're a smaller organization, now is the time to see what technology is available that could help make your employment processes more streamlined and effective.

Related: AI: The New Engine Of HR

Business growth is expected widely in EMEA
Finding, retaining and developing talent continues to be HR's top business concern, being cited as a major challenge for 54% of businesses in 2019, up by 4% on last year. With 76% of businesses expecting their workforce size to grow in the next year, the pressure is on for businesses to find the skilled people to take on the extra workload. But it's not getting any easier to find and retain talent, despite the possible candidate pool now being international in scope –particularly in a transient Middle East– and there being so much technology at our fingertips.

Our research found that the HR professionals rely mostly on their corporate website (58%), online job boards (55%) and referrals (41%) to find candidates. This suggests it may be wise for businesses to consider investing in their websites, sign up to forums, and attend networking events to get their company name top of mind when potential employees are looking for a new role.

Candidate discrepancies are still widely found
83% of HR professionals have found candidates misrepresenting information on their CVs (down from 89% in 2018) and around 8 in 10 people are leaving false claims, accidentally or otherwise, on their CV. The most likely areas are in previous employment (56%) and education (49%), which highlights how important it is to thoroughly verify the information that your candidates provide.

The cost of a bad hire can be all the more impactful for SMEs, where a single bad hire could cause irreparable damage, particularly if there aren't other employees to pick up the slack. It's therefore wise to confirm a candidate's details with a pre-employment background screening, to reduce the risk of any nasty surprises post-hire.

Freelance workers are often overlooked
To manage workflow, temporary staff can be a great solution for SMEs who need to operate flexibly, however they should be treated with the same level of rigour as permanent hires. Our research found that temporary and freelance workers are less likely to be properly screened by companies, potentially leaving organizations open to unnecessary risk. In addition, just over half of organisations (58%) screen independent contractors, and only 37% of interns are screened.

Even in short-term roles, there are clear risks if people have access to sensitive or financial information, so it is advisable to consider the impact that any new worker could have on your business, and check their background thoroughly and proportionally for their role.

SMEs have a lot on their side– they can be flexible, agile and adapt to changing trends, sometimes more easily than large organizations. However, they often don't have the financial backing to invest in new technologies to make finding talented individuals easier. Being more creative, keeping track of changing trends, verifying their workforce's credentials pre-hire, and finding cost-effective solutions to problems can help smaller organizations to thrive and compete with much larger companies for the best new talent.

Related: Initiating Innovation: Furthering The Role Of HR In Change Management

Peter Cleverton

General Manager, EMEA, at HireRight

Peter Cleverton is the General Manager, EMEA, at HireRight. 
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