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Here’s our quick guide on how to avoid missing out on the best candidates.
These are great tips for people who have ever uttered the immortal line “you just can’t get the staff!” or for those who have found the perfect candidate only to have them decline your offer….booooo!
1. Be prepared!
You should know exactly what you need and want in a person before starting the recruitment process. This includes having a full job description and person specification prepared, along with a clear understanding of what you want the individual to achieve within the role. Realising during the recruitment process that you need something else, have an ideal internal candidate or could do with a restructure makes you look, quite frankly, a bit crap. Reputations can be irrevocably damaged this way!
2. Allocate enough time to the process
You need to ensure that everybody involved in the recruitment process can dedicate the time to look at CVs, provide feedback, and arrange and conduct interviews promptly. Rearranging interviews, stalling on feedback and delaying decisions on second interviews because something “more pressing came up” doesn’t instil a great deal of confidence in candidates.
Recent research by various industry and HR professional bodies suggest that recruiting for a fairly mid-range administrative post will take approximately 6 weeks of your time away from your core responsibilities (unless your role is dedicated to recruitment). If you haven’t the time, either postpone your recruitment campaign until you have or outsource the process to a good agency (we can recommend one!)
3. Advertise in the right places
Remember the last time you saw a queue of people outside the newsagent waiting for the newspaper on “jobs night”? Me neither. As a professional recruiter we have diverted 100% of our advertising spend from newspapers (with the exception of higher level executive posts where the broadsheets still have some relevance) to online job boards, social media, word-of-mouth networking, and database creation and management. This is how you find candidates in the modern job market.
You will also need to write good copy that attracts people and is keyword laden to utilise the search algorithms of your chosen sites.
4. Approach the whole process from the candidate perspective
The current market is very much a candidate-driven one, especially if you operate within a highly specialised or skilled sector. Good candidates are calling the shots.
Be accommodating: is it reasonable to expect a candidate to travel hundreds of miles for a first interview at HQ (sometimes with no offer of recompense for expenses incurred) when a SKYPE interview, or sending the interviewer to a local site to see a handful of applicants over a short period would be more convenient for everybody? You can test their commitment at second interview.
5. Don't haggle unnecessarily over salary
Is your package and proposition attractive and competitive? In a recent example, a client lost the perfect candidate because they wanted £1000 more than the salary offered. The client wouldn’t move because “a mere grand was just quibbling”. Who is it more trifling for - an individual with a household and family to run, or a business employing 23 people? The candidate subsequently went to work for one of their competitors and, in their first 6 months, generated over £100k in new business. Great move Mr. Quibble!
6. Ask the right questions
Smart, effective recruiters know that there is an art to asking the right questions at interviews. The best know how to discern whether the candidate can do the job while also uncovering what the real motivations, values and character of the individual are. Not only does this make sure that you find the right person, who will last in the role, it also enables you to “talk their language” when making an offer and getting their buy-in. There’s a lot of psychology and neuroscience involved in this malarkey. Good recruiters don’t just tick boxes!
7. Frame offers in the right way
Refer to point 5 and have a quick NLP course! Language is all important at this stage… as is making sure that your offer stacks up. Why on earth would somebody leave the devil they know for a lower salary? (Unless the role is less senior / stressful / distance from home etc).
Certain behavioural types will respond better to specific words and the offer should be “in their language” and should be framed to illustrate how it will satisfy all their needs. You can only do this effectively if you have asked the right questions and have noted the behavioural style you are dealing with throughout the recruitment process.
8. Have realistic expectations
If you’re not paying the market rate you cannot expect the highest quality candidate and something will have to “give”. You will have to compromise and should expect to train and upskill somebody at your own cost and on your own time.
Even experienced candidates who can hit the ground running should be afforded a decent induction and training to ease them into your environment. The best sales people generally make rubbish administrators - don’t try to roll two roles up into one to try to save on headcount or salary bill.
9. Look for potential in a candidate
Learn how to look “into” a CV. It is impossible to make an informed judgment solely from that piece of paper (unless it is chronically bad!). Our general rule of thumb is recruit on attitude and aptitude. You can teach people with the aptitude to learn but you cannot beat attitude!
10. Make your process slick and don’t faff about
In the current market practically every hour between interviews, making decisions or making an offer, exponentially increases your chance of losing the candidate to somebody else. If you think they’re right, make the offer. Don’t wait around for other candidates to benchmark or compare against if you have a strong candidate.
Ask yourself: what is the likelihood that anybody else we see will be as good as this person? If the chances are that you would still make the offer to them then do it now.