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Personalise Your Recruitment Process

Many organisations are developing a very personal recruitment process. For example Google have a rigorous process in aim to find those candidates with the right amount of ‘Googleyness’, which they describe as ‘a sense that the hire is good for Google’. Google believes ‘Googleyness’ is what makes people work well together. We haven’t quite got to that in our office, though our clients have been known to describe what we do as “being Russelled” so who knows? Maybe one day we’ll have Russelleyness ....... No, I don’t think so.

There have been a number of articles doing the rounds recently describing the unusual breakfast test technique of Walt Bettinger, the CEO of Charles Schwab, who has developed a rather unusual way of recruiting. He takes the candidates out for breakfast and arranges for the server to get the candidate’s breakfast order wrong on purpose so he can see their response. Hmmm. Interesting. What he is looking for is ‘’whether their view of the world really revolves around others or whether it revolves around them’. I’m not absolutely convinced that this will provide the necessary information (I’m not convinced at all!),but it’s not illegal and at least the candidate gets breakfast (of sorts).

Here are some tips to help you personalise your recruitment process without being as extreme as Mr Bettinger.

Request a cover letter matching the applicant’s abilities to the job requirements, setting out why you should spend time seeing the applicant. As part of this letter ask applicants to explain why they feel they are good fit for the role and how they meet the minimum requirements listed on the job specification.

You’ll be amazed at how many candidates will ignore this instruction. If they can’t be bothered to sell themselves properly why on earth do they think anyone else will be interested in them? The existence of online recruitment means employers receive large numbers of applications from unsuitable candidates. Requesting a cover letter provides the recruiting manager with relevant information and slims down the number of potential timewasters.

The truth is we exist in a world where the majority of processes are now mobile and instant. In most cases the modern day application process has slowly evolved to reflect that and many job openings simply require applicants to send a copy of their CV. It is likely that this takes no longer than five minutes. If you want to find quality candidates you’re unlikely to get them that way with any degree of efficiency.

On average between 5-8% of applicants will have the wits and courtesy to do what they’re asked to do and send a covering letter. The good news is that almost by definition they are usually higher calibre than the majority of submissions so more applicants who comply are worth taking to the next stage.

After sifting through their offerings establish who you want to progress. Arrange fifteen minute initial telephone screenings for these applicants. This will help you avoid the potential pitfall of spending hours conducting face to face interviews with candidates who you knew just wouldn’t cut it after five minutes of interviewing. Design questions which will show whether the candidate has the competencies required for the role and that also reflect your values and culture. Limit screenings to two or three questions with follow up probing sub-questions. This will be enough to make a good initial assessment. You can incorporate a testing exercise at this stage, obviously something they’ll be able to do remotely, for example, drafting a client email to confirm a discussion.

You now have a short list of people you want to meet face-to-face. Ask for a little preliminary preparation, for example, some research for a short presentation. We practice what we preach here at Russell HR and rigorously test our applicants by carrying out a range of testing exercises to demonstrate their abilities and values that are important to both the role and our business. For example, we ask our applicants to research a specific employment law and be able to give a short explanation of the key points.

Design questions to check and test the skills and knowledge associated with the role. This is useful even if the candidate has never done the actual role before. The skills can often be found in other work or personal activities, for example, even if the role is a marketing research role and the candidate has never done marketing, you can test the applicant’s skill in research when he was a student.

At the face to face interview we ask them to complete a personality profile (to see if they are likely to clash with or complement the current personalities),and ask some competency based questions based on the specific skills needed for the role which have not been asked about thus far or need checking.

We deal with the good, the bad and the ugly of HR. If you need help designing personalised recruitment processes, or resolving any other HR issues, give us a call on 01908 26 26 28.

If you need help getting HR problems resolved in your business, get in touch.

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