Certain sectors in Malta are experiencing pressure points, in terms of qualified professionals, particularly relating to compliance/ AML / in house legal sections, as well as M&A and investment focused appointments, not to mention technical appointments in specialisms such as taxation, business analysis, data analysis, to name but a few.

Many factors have contributed to this, including the rise of regulatory changes, as well as the natural workforce migration, coupled with a decline in new entries to the market, from a first jobber perspective, all nuanced, in part, by the rise of consultancy appointments, especially at Senior and C Level.

So how can employers ensure that they recruit and retain the much-needed professionals to take their business forward?

Starting from, often forgotten, basics, employers can ensure they start off on the right foot through:

  • Having a clearly defined outcome of the roles: what is the company trying to achieve with this role? What skills are needed? How is success measured in this role?

Often, companies go through, on average, 3 recruitment cycles, to fully agree on what it is that they want precisely. This results in frustrated professionals, management, and hiring managers, directly reducing potential interest and creating an ever-growing hole in your corporate pocket.

Imagine you are looking to hire a CFO. When drafting the job specification, bear in mind, whether you want this person to be technically led or commercial finance-focused - some CFOs' are both, most are either one or the other.

Imagine interviewing 10 candidates, offering 3, all rejecting because they want a commercial financed focused role, and you need a technical iron hand.

You would have wasted at least one month of reviewing, profiling, and interviewing, all at the same time, whilst your potential best fits, have moved jobs.

  • Having a clearly defined interview process: who will conduct the interviews? How will the interviews be structured? How will the interviews be conducted? Are there any case studies involved in the interview process? Is the interview process refined, optimized?

In certain situations, interviews process are prolonged unnecessarily and sometimes, with way too many stakeholders involved: having a 4 stage interview process spread over 10 weeks reduces your competitiveness (certain roles, especially C Level, are excluded, however, one can argue strongly the efficiency point and have them structured over a period of 4 weeks, rather than 8+ ).

In addition to this, qualifying at every stage is crucial - before advancing individuals through interview stages, ensure that the basics are met skills, fit, interest, and budget.

Imagine conducting 3 interviews and putting forward an offer that is below expectations and it gets rejected. You would have wasted not only time but access to potential candidates who could have been a better fit for you.

  • Are we presenting ourselves the way we would like our customers to perceive us?

Interviewees are clients - whether directly or indirectly. Treating them as such, educating them on your company, ambitions, plans (as you would in a business pitch), helps you, not only engage your prospective employees beyond the traditional interview format but can contribute to turning them into your brand ambassadors in the market.

Just imagine this:

"Hey, I interviewed at this company X. We didn't progress further, but they were amazing. If you'd be looking for a job, have a look at them"


"Hey, I interviewed at this company X. Super long process, going back and forth on job specification. Have no idea what they want. Not sure I want to work there"

Position yourself strongly from the beginning - you will not go wrong with this strategy.

  • The good, the bad, and the ugly

It is natural, that during the interview process, we highlight and focus on the best parts of the company and the job. A little bit like dating: when you meet someone, you put your best foot forward and will not tell them from the start, that you have a penchant for leaving your socks on the floor.

And this is where the recruitment and dating analogy ends - unlike dating, being clear on the challenges you are experiencing as a business when recruiting for a particular role, can save you serious headaches along the way.

Every role and business has challenges - perfection does not exist and trying to portray as such is futile.

By being clear about those, professionals can make an informed decision as to whether they are 1) capable and 2) willing.

Imagine that you tell a prospective employee about your backlog and you tell them about your commitment and a clear plan in bringing this up to speed and where they will help you, what changes they can make.

Sure, some of them will not want to do it. But those that will, at least they know what they are getting into. You will certainly lose some potential individuals, but you will gain those who are happy to work, hand in hand, with you in overcoming your challenge.

  • The Classics

It's not only interviewees that should take this into consideration, but also interviewers.

Show up on time, be prepared for your meeting, dress appropriately. No one likes to sit in the waiting room for 30 minutes waiting for a conference call to finish.

Imagine how frustrated you would feel if you have a prospective employee come in 15 minutes late because they HAD to finish a call, all whilst half-eating their lunch from earlier and smelling of a Tuna Wrap.

  • The Sprinkles

If your interview process involves a case study, make that clear from the beginning. If the case study will take anything more than 1 hour and/or considerable research from the prospective employee's side, consider either reducing or paying the person for their work in certain conditions, especially for those case studies that involve business planning and analysis.

Part 2. The How to recruit and retain employees will be published in 2 weeks and it will focus on the interview process, particularly on how you can structure your interview to recruit better and for longer-term.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.