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What penalty shoot outs can teach us about the recruitment process

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Now that the England football team has secured a place in the quarter finals, even some of the most disinterested are feeling a little buoyed by national pride.  That’s partly because the Brits love an underdog. 

Whether you love, or hate, the World Cup there is something that football can teach us about the recruitment process and how to win the top talent.  This is important to every business owner, Director or hiring manager as the success of your organisation relies on having the best people in post.

I’ll start at the end because, after the penalty shoot-outs, it’s all over.  Anybody watching the England vs Colombia match last night (or any penalty shoot-out) experiences a great deal of stress and anxiety.  There is joy and pain within seconds and many small children learn taboo words!  It’s difficult to predict what will happen until it’s too late.  The opposition can win by a stroke of luck, pulling some last-minute brilliance out of the hat, or because your team made a mistake.  Sometimes the victor is not always the team that played the better game.  So, how does this translate to your recruitment process?

In short, if you leave things to chance you may hand the best candidates to your competition.

To avoid this happening, you need to go into the process prepared to win the match and not risk going to penalties.  This means you need:

1.  To be match fit - are all individuals in the hiring process skilled interviewers and able to make sound judgements on an individual’s abilities and likely culture fit?  Are they all available to ensure that decisions are made quickly and that the interview process can be completed within a fairly tight window - days rather than weeks?


2.  To have a game plan – do you have a formalised recruitment and interview process that really explores the drives and values of candidates?  Has your organisation prepared and positioned itself as a ‘Employer of Choice’ that poses an attractive proposition for candidates?  Do you, and everybody on the team, really understand what the end goal is? (TIP: a good way to determine this is to ask what you actually want the person to deliver, or achieve, rather than what the tasks and responsibilities of the role are).

3. Teamwork – does everybody involved in the recruitment process know exactly what part THEY play in the process?  Is anybody at risk of scoring an own goal?  Can all of your interviewers quickly read people so that they interview in a way that doesn’t put certain candidates off?  Are all the people involved looking for the same type of person?  Do you have a strong Captain who will guide appropriately, listen to team input and decisively make a final decision?

If you create, and follow, a cohesive and effective recruitment procedure, add a good team of skilled interviewers, and provide a company culture that offers what the best candidates look for, you should have a ‘yes’ to your offer without the competition getting a look in.

If you leave it to chance, lack in-house experience, or rush things, you’ll probably go to penalties.  Is it worth the risk?

It’s at this point that we generally advise you to take some time to sort your schizzle out or you can simply let us handle the process for you.

Please call the team on 01902 763006 if you don’t want the stress of a potential penalty shoot-out.


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