Like so many other facets of business, the recruitment process has changed considerably in recent years. Once upon a time, all you needed to do was place ads in a local newspaper or in a shop window and, like magic, the perfect candidates would appear.
Sure, you may still see an occasional sign in a shop window, but nowadays there are many other forms of recruitment channels – and countless accompanying traps that you can fall into.
So how can you make sure you recruit the right person for the role, and what are the most common traps you need to pay attention to? Here are nine tips on how to improve your own recruitment process.
1. Use competency based interviews
These days, competency based interviews are the norm for effective recruiters. By recruiting this way, you can identify the talent with the right knowledge, skills, attitudes, and personality traits to deliver success for your organization.
You will already know that comparing existing staff members is difficult enough, and comparing recruitment candidates is even more so! You need to be able to look at the specific qualities of these people in order to compare like for like, otherwise you risk being snared by the first trap - the many biases that we all fall foul of.
2. Understand your biases
Make no mistake, we all have our biases. Recruitment experts refer to this as the ‘horns and halo' effect, and it's one of the most common traps we tend to fall into. Essentially this involves attributing instinctive positive or negative qualities to each person, based on one salient factor that you either like or dislike.
For example: let's say you value articulate, well-spoken sales people. When you interview a smooth-talking candidate, you may be tempted to assume they're a great sales person. But of course, this may not be the case. After all, you haven't seen their ability to ask the right questions, focus on benefits and address objections yet – the critical abilities they will need in order to perform well in the job.
It is incredibly difficult to overcome this natural psychological bias, as it's a part of our mental makeup. What you can do, however, is to remain aware of it, and be on the lookout for situations where you are making judgements based on non-job-related perceptions.
Over time, you should try to gain awareness of your various recruiting biases, and iron them out. It may sound far-fatched, but even something as simple as preferring Times New Roman font over Arial on a CV could be affecting your judgement and impeding your ability to recruit the best people.
3. Avoid the "just like me" complex
Another trap that requires special attention is the so-called ‘like me' bias. With this mindset, you tend to recruit people who share the same vales as you. To put it simply, you are naturally more likely to want to recruit a person whose visions, characteristics, and personal taste are closer to you and what you believe in.
This can be useful in some situations, but not always. You are (almost) certainly not recruiting for your own job role, so avoid the temptation to recruit a mini-you. Doing this may mean you recruit someone who is totally unsuited to the actual role you're hiring for.
4. Use social media to your benefit
It can be very cost-effective to use social media as a part of your recruitment strategy. Many organizations are leveraging employees' existing social networks for recruitment. By tapping into these ready-made networks, they're able to recruit people with similar experience, goals, ambitions, and competencies.
LinkedIn is probably the most valuable professional social network for this purpose, and should almost definitely play a part in your recruitment process.
5. Get better at assessing CVs
When we have many CVs to review, we often fall into the trap of skimming over the ones that look less relevant. However, there are limitations to this approach. Recruiting someone from a similar industry who hasn't had much success may be much less productive than recruiting someone who has succeeded in a different industry, and is exactly the type of person who'd thrive in the role you're hiring for.
One option is to "practice" by viewing CVs on an online platform. You can do this before the CVs for your own vacancy start to arrive, meaning you already have a feel for what to expect. Most of them are hubs for job seekers and recruiters - take, for example, the CV Bureau recruitment consultancy who invite applicationd fro both. You can even post your vacancy online and browse potential applicants at the same time.
When we are overloaded with CVs, we tend to develop a simple heuristic to assess them - perhaps just looking at previous job titles and searching for keywords. Instead, take an extra minute to look carefully at the background and achievements of the candidates you are looking at - you may well end up with a much better candidate pool.
6. Understand regression to the mean
Today's recruiters must recognise that performance will always "regress to the mean". This means that just because someone does an outstanding job on one particular task, this does not guarantee that they'll do as well next time. It's difficult to predict future job performance from a limited amount of information – candidates may do unusually well or poorly when tested at a single (i.e. the hiring) stage.
Try not to base recruitment judgements on single events. Rather, base your recruiting decisions on the average performance over someone's recent career.
7. Recruit people with personality
Richard Branson is a big believer in recruiting people with personality. According to him, you can improve any other areas of an individual's performance, but you can't change or build their personality.
If you're recruiting for a sales, front of house, or similar customer-facing position, then recruiting people with a personality closely suited to the role is a good way to ensure your organization comes across well, not only to your customers, but also within your industry.
8. Involve existing teams
It can be a great idea to introduce potential new employees to the team they will be joining. By doing so, you'll be able to get feedback and opinions from them on the potential new hire. This can be particularly useful when you have a close-knit team that frequently collaborates on tasks. Sometimes, maintaining team culture is a critical but overlooked factor in recruitment considerations.
9. Tailor your recruitment to the organization
No two recruitment processes are the same, so don't get trapped into thinking that there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. It's essential that your recruitment process is tailored to your organization, and for the job roles you're seeking to fill.
Think strategically about the roles, and make sure you're looking at the right competencies and factors that will drive exemplary performance. If you fail to get the specific hiring criteria right, then your recruitment process itself will fail - no matter how well you execute it.
Effective recruitment is an art form. Treating it as a tick box exercise will land you with all sorts of problems, and experience will soon tell you that the problems created by recruiting a non-performer will far outweigh the benefit of any time you may have saved in the first place. So the more you can carefully craft a process that accurately selects for job performance, the greater the returns you will see. What's more, existing teams and managers will appreciate your ability to bring excellent new people on board!
Get a solid foundation in Project software to create solid, resilient project plans.
You don't need prior experience with Project: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Project Advanced
The Advanced course takes you to a level that will put you in complete control of your projects.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Become a Visio master with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Visio courses.