Appetite for recruitment – five steps that rock!

In order to type a successful blog about recruitment, I thought I would check for some additional tips on what makes readers tick with professional blogs. “You need to have a numbered list, because numbers are easy to remember. Besides, they make good headings!” “The text needs to be informative, in a logical order, and not too long.” “Anticipate questions your topic will raise, and pre-empt them in your content.” Hmm… nah. Instead, I need some cranked-up rock’n roll. Intro tape playing… lights… camera… action – go!

Firstly, you want to differentiate yourself as an employer. This is nothing as complicated and fuzzy as modern jazz: just give a face – possibly a voice – to your employees, use visuals to demonstrate work environment, emphasize company values and career opportunities you have. Make it clear what you are proud of and what you as a company stand to achieve. Prepare to sell yourself as an employer, as much as you expect the job candidate to sell him- or herself as an individual to you. You can make social media work in your favor to get ahead of your competitors in this aspect.

Secondly, apply the power chord of second or third opinion. It tends to be a norm that the direct supervisor of the role to be filled takes care of the recruitment. That person should most definitely be in a key role in the selection process, but there is a lot to be gained by allowing a couple of more stakeholders to meet the shortlisted candidates prior to final decision, and hear their feedback as well. Having multiple interviewers provides the employer with a possibility to use in-depth experts of various skills related to the role, to evaluate the real knowledge of the candidates better. Sometimes also a bit of a role-play comes handy, you can have ‘good cops and bad cops’ present in the interview simultaneously, particularly if the stress tolerance of the candidate is relevant to the role. HR professionals will also bring their own value-add to an interview situation, perhaps assessing the non-verbal cues the content-focused interviewer could have missed alone. And if customer centricity is a genuine value in your organization, why not involve relevant customer representatives to have a say in your next Account Manager’s selection process?

While the gut feel is important in personnel selection, you need also facts; to make the right choice, that is. Don’t fall into coma listening to waltz and overlook candidate reference checks – remember the most valuable references may well come from either previous customers served or previous colleagues, not necessarily the line managers. Use assessment testing that is developed to be used for personnel selection (most personality tests are not) and is both validated and reliable. These not only help to paint a comprehensive picture of the candidate, they also serve as a very inexpensive insurance for you by potentially revealing aspects the candidate preferred not to mention in the application.

I still got the blues for the quality of the candidate pool. At best, you can only select the most suitable individual from the candidates you have. So the background work in planning and preparing your next recruitment is every bit as critical for a successful outcome, as the actual selection process is. You probably do not just want to reach candidates with listed credentials and experience, but the most skilled and competent individuals that match the profile. That requires effort. Is the selection criteria for the role in question really thought through, or is it – at worst – a copy-paste from what your company always uses? How do you bring your vacancy to the attention of the best and the brightest? If they are currently employed, they most likely do not follow employment ads. Do you make it easy, possibly even rewarding, for individuals to share your employment ad to their own networks? How easy or difficult do you make it for the candidate to actually send a job application to you? Do you use a frozen template in your company website, with dozens of mandatory fields in it – or a possibility to apply using just a LinkedIn profile with a brief cover letter? If you do not provide interested candidates with a name and contact information to ask more information about the role available, what does that say about you as an employer, and about the importance of that role to you?

The fifth item on the list is pure 80’s hair metal: resourcing. What is the number of applications you expect to receive? How about if your warm-up efforts worked really well, and you get three times that many applicants – do you have the capacity to go through that many applications and review the shortlisted ones to agree who are the most promising ones you want to interview? In order to be able to attract the most qualified candidates also with your next recruitment, it is essential to keep the candidates (that is, all candidates, not just the interviewed ones) informed about the progress with your selection process. This requires some further effort from your side as an employer, but is an effort that well pays off in word-of-mouth regarding you as an employer.

That should get you off to a rocking start. Recruitment process is more than anything an opportunity for you as an employer to differentiate yourself from your competition. For those about to recruit, we salute you! Everything louder than everything else – and we are here to help .

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