I once reported to a director who would sit in his office, with his feet on the desk, reading The Daily Telegraph. At the time, this irritated me. However, he recruited a brilliant manager for one of our departments. This appointment was of huge benefit to the organization. I decided that, if the director’s only contribution was to recruit brilliant managers, I would be happy for him to read his paper all day long.
Recruiting someone to join our team is probably the most important thing we do. Get it right and our department or business gets stronger. Get it wrong and it’s costly, disruptive, distracting, time-wasting and unpleasant for everyone concerned.
Over many years of recruiting, some of it successful and some not successful, I’ve managed to refine a good recruitment process. Here are my top ten steps for increasing our chances of securing the services of the right person:
Steps for your Recruitment Process
1. Always keep recruiting at the forefront of your mind. If you’re the boss, you should always be on the look out for good people. Keep in touch with them. Act like a professional recruiter, so that when a position becomes vacant, you have a short-list of people you can immediately phone.
2. Have a recruitment process. Write down the steps that you should follow to identify the people who are a good fit and the ones that are not. Learn from each recruitment exercise and refine your process.
3. Hire slow, fire fast. Take your time when hiring. Even if the situation appears desperate, don’t compromise and take on someone who isn’t suitable. Listen to your gut as well as your intellect on this one.
4. Plan for additional resource. Forecast the activity growth in the business and highlight the point when additional resource will be recruited. Work back from this point to know when to start the recruitment process.
5. Plan for people leaving. Go through your whole team and work out what you’d do if each of them left. Train people to cover their positions and buy yourself some time.
6. Determine if you really need the position. Even if it’s your business, imagine that you’ve got to financially justify the replacement or the additional person.
7. Write an honest job advert that reflects what you expect from the role. Write it in plain
English. The advert should mirror your expectations of the role.
8. Ask people to call in. Do not ask people to send in their CV. We’ve all invited people to an interview based on their CV. After thirty seconds we know they’re wrong. We’ve then wasted an hour of their time, and ours, by going through the motions. You’ll know at the end of a twominute phone call whether they’re good enough to join the selection process. If you expect many calls, these phone calls can be recorded and reviewed later. There are special phone numbers you can get that provide this service. You can then carry out longer phone interviews after initial screening, which is both effective and time-efficient.
9. Attitude is more important than aptitude. Skills may be required but can be taught. You won’t change someone’s attitude, and why would you take on such a challenge? Be clear about what attitude you’re looking for, and work out how you’ll recognize it when you see it.
10. Get your team involved. Your team will know who’ll fit in and who won’t. Ask them for their recommendation. Invariably it’ll be the same as yours. You can then go with their recommendation. The added bonus is that your team will ensure the new appointment works out, given that it was their decision too!
11. Put them under pressure. Get all the short-listed candidates in at the same time – so that’s quite a few people, given that your team is involved too. Run the session before or after work, and get the candidates presenting in front of everyone. Is their desire to join you greater than their fear of having to talk in front of a room full of strangers?
12. Make your selection process reflect what the candidate will be expected to do on a daily basis. I once worked for a cash-and-carry where we used to carry out a management-style interview for sixteen-year-old shelf stackers. We presented them with a pallet full of mixed goods, an empty shelf, and asked them to sort it out. Did they stand there paralysed? Did they move at a snail’s pace? Did they get everything on the shelf? Did they put similar things together? Were the labels facing the front? Did they notice the out-of-date goods? You get the idea.
13. Use psychometric profiling as part of the process. It’s inexpensive. (If for no other reason, there are some practiced, almost professional interviewees out there.)
14. Look for recent, spontaneous responses. When it comes to speaking to the candidates, listen out for how quickly they respond and how recent the example is.
“Tell me about your problem solving skills.”
“Uhmmm. Well, let me think, when I was working on this large project last year…”
“Funnily enough, on the way here this morning I…”
There’s no right or wrong answer but you get the idea.
15. Support and monitor candidates very closely during their probationary period. Hire slow, fire fast. If you make a mistake, and we all do, do them and yourself a favour, and let them go quickly. You’ll feel better, you’re team will thank you and respect you, and, in time, they will realise it wasn’t the right job for them.
This list isn’t intended as a definitive list of recruitment process steps. It is five steps longer than I thought it was going to be! Hopefully, it’s stimulated thoughts as to how you might improve your recruitment process and increase your hit rate.
If you need help with recruitment then please let me know. I’m assuming that you’re intending for your business to grow and will need to recruit at some stage.