Are You Making The Right Decision?

It’s been another busy week - busy but interesting. In addition to festooning our office with Halloween deccies (including some rather drunk looking home-made woolly pompom spiders with pipe cleaner legs and wicked little eyes), we are also in the process of recruiting new blood into the business in the form of an HR Administrator/ Trainee HR Consultant.

Recruitment is not my favourite thing and this week has confirmed my view that it’s a laborious and time consuming process, especially when you start adding in spreadsheets, online recruitment software and paper. Once in a while you get a CV that sparks pure joy, but it’s rare. The internet makes people lazy and they seem to fire off CVs right, left and centre, irrespective of either they can do the job (or are even interested in the job).

Poor Lauren has been doing the initial screening against competencies and has the task of doing the first stage discussion with shortlisted candidates.

Our intern Anh has been included in the selection process so she can start getting some relevant experience and she’s been quite shocked by some of the candidates. Some don’t bother to attend the interview, some don’t know which job it is they’re being interviewed for and some have been just plain dozy.

Lauren and Anh went to do some employer/student networking at a local university recently. While they were there they were party to a conversation between a recruiting advisor and a few students. The recruiting advisor suggested to the students that they should be “mad”, “enthusiastic” and “think outside of the box” when it comes to recruitment. It could well have been the wrong thing to say to a bunch of impressionable 18-20 year olds........

I agree that recruits should be different and stand out of the box but different in the right way. There is a time and a place for “mad” and unless you’re advertising for a children’s party entertainer, it’s probably not what most employers want to see. For me standing out would entail the following elements.

  • A short (one page) targeted CV which has been produced to match the advertised job requirements, as opposed to a one size fits all.
  • Losing the ridiculous aspirational statement that graces the top of most CVs (who perishing cares?)
  • Spelling and grammar all checked and perfect.
  • Relevant, tailored covering letter.

Such an application would be almost unique and stand out like a beacon!

A recent KPMG survey suggests that one in five appointments turns out to be a mistake and it did make me think. Do employers interview everyone and anyone? It makes you wonder. If employers follow a good, well-structured recruitment processes mistakes like this would not be happening as frequently.

If you formulate a robust process which collects relevant data and tries to remove bias it makes life a lot easier when you are interviewing candidates. Start with the job description and person specification which will help you write competency based questions that are linked to the role.

Do stick to the (job) point. Some managers ask very odd things. I was once interviewed by a charming but eccentric chap and we spent a good deal of the interview talking green mulches. I swear that’s why I got the job. Then there was the recruiting manager who asked the candidate how much his rent was during a first stage interview. I don’t know what relevance that had to do with the role.

Use competency based questions i.e. those that encourage a candidates to talk you through examples of his actual competence related to the job requirements. This type of question allows you to pinpoint key areas of the job role and drill down to gain more data. Without having clear questions, you will be unable to find out if the candidate has the necessary skills to do the job.

Combine structured interviewing with relevant job role based testing and your ability to predict likely success in the job rises considerably.

We deal with the good, the bad and the ugly of HR. If you need help resolving problems with recruitment or any other HR issues, give us a call on 01908 262628.

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