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Hiring Your 2013 Talent

At this time of year, (once you have caught up with the back-log of post-Christmas mania) many businesses will begin to roll up their sleeves and organise their recruitment activities for the forthcoming year.

Successful organisations have a thorough recruitment and selection process. Finding the right talent is tricky, but putting aside some time and resources to design a process to really test suitability goes a long way to ensuring that you appoint the right people. There is much more to the process than simply checking out the technical details of the application in an interview. Even if it seems on paper that the candidate has the relevant skills and knowledge, this does not necessarily guarantee a perfect employee.

Competency-based questions help you investigate a candidate’s actual experience, so can be helpful in drawing out this kind of information. For example, you might want to consider questions like:

  • “Tell me about a time when you have influenced others.”
  • “Describe a situation when you have worked as part of a team”.
  • “Tell me about a problem you had to deal with and how you coped with the situation”.

I have noticed that many candidates don’t answer the question out to them. They ramble on about something unconnected with the question, answer part of the question or are insufficiently forthcoming with information. If this is the case, try prompting your candidates with further questions or guide them back to the information you want to draw out. The purpose is not to catch them out but to simply gather the information that you need.

As well as the standard interview, you can also consider some form of testing procedure. Whether this involves asking the candidate to do a presentation, role-play or sales pitch, these activities are useful in showcasing the kinds of skills which are essential in your organisation. In our line of work, detail consciousness is extremely important, so one of the recruitment activities we ask our trainees to undertake is to proof-read a document and to spot the errors within it. These mistakes relate to spelling, formatting, grammar and technical errors. The average score is one out of a possible six…. We can’t afford to be careless about detail. Testing is all about matching the testing activity to your line of work and business, and deciding what test works best for you. It gives you objective data as to the candidate’s skills and competencies and provides objective reasons for acceptance or otherwise in a role. It’s quite lawful to carry out testing so long as the process is relevant, non-discriminatory and consistently applied.

2013 will be a hard year for many businesses, but don’t make it harder by carrying the people who are underperforming. In my New Year’s resolution blog I talked about asking yourself the question; are all of your people meeting all of your standards nearly all of the time? If the answer is no, (and it often is) it’s time to look at your organisation holistically and consider the reasons why. People are power, and having the right workers in your team can really drive productivity and make your business flourish. This is why having an effective recruitment procedure really adds value.

Getting it right will not only enhance and protect your reputation as a fair and effective employer, but give you the building blocks for a successful and productive year. So make this year a good one, and get recruiting!

This month we’re running a series of recruitment webinars, with the first one kicking off on Thursday afternoon. It’s not too late to join, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to book a place!

Russell HR Consulting provides expert knowledge in HR solutions, employment law training and HR tools and resources to businesses across the UK.

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