For the sake of this article I’ve focused on the initial steps needed to assist your recruitment method in getting back on track. The approach you take for one position will be very different for the next. In this article we’ll focus on the benefits of being targeted but open, taking more time at the start of the recruitment process to wrap up the process a whole lot faster and tapering our judgemental behaviours.
The general recruitment process will usually comprise of;
- The review or creation of the internal Job description that lists every trait, skill, qualification/s and extra requirements for the ‘ideal’ candidate. This person can arrive first day on the job and perform the position as if they had been employed in that position for the last year.
- Posting of the advert online, highlighting every particular skill required to perform the position in the initial body of the advert, highlighting the mandatory requirements and mentioning some of the benefits in one small line down the very bottom of the page. If you haven’t lost the candidate yet they may see this, but for them to have come that far, they would have clicked on the generic job title with no salary listed. (Due to confidentiality, in some instances, salary can’t be displayed).
- Review and screen ad response based on what is reflected in the resume under skills or experience and based on the key criteria of the position description.
- Feel underwhelmed with the applicants who have applied and wonder why you’re not attracting the level required. Why aren’t they reading the advert correctly?
- Re-post the position again, making minimal changes to the advert if any (not around the specific requirement) and finding yourself, thirty days later, in a situation where you’re having to re-assess the entire position description or worse, having to settle. Putting unreasonable pressure on existing employees, which eventually leads to turnover.
If you continue to advertise positions using generic job titles, copying and pasting ALL of the key criteria from the PD, listing criteria as MANDATORY and reflecting the BENEFITS in the last paragraph of the job Ad, you will continue to attract reactive candidates who are on the market at that specific time applying to your and every other position advertised. You cannot expect to attract 'Top Talent' or tap into the ‘Passive Market’ if you are not showcasing anything that piques interest or whet’s ones appetite. If you’re not showing flexibility around the ‘recruitment process’, offering alternate avenues for candidates to engage with you (other than applying for the position online), you are missing out on top tier candidates who are in demand. These candidates are at the top of their game, they are passionate about what they do and dedicated to the organisations they choose to work for. They also know if they left their job tomorrow they could relax as they looked for their next opportunity, in their own time. These types of candidates like to be engaged and challenged and when that doesn’t happen they start to look externally, initially passively- keeping an ear to the ground. Just think what happens when they see a position that talks about key behaviours, benefits, expectations and invites them to have an initial confidential conversation with someone from that organisation. A conversation where both parties can ascertain if it’s viable to continue discussions or stay in touch for future opportunities. Not only are you now getting access to the top 10% that everyone else is missing out on, you’re also building ‘talent pipelines’.
This approach obviously will not work for every position and most businesses don’t have excess employees looking to increase their work load, waiting for the phone to ring. But for mid to executive level positions, this approach pays dividends, in the short and long term.
One thing that mid to Executive level candidates are generally quite good at is networking. If you’re speaking with an impressive candidate who isn’t quite right for that particular position, ask them if they know anyone in their network who is. Chances are, if they come from a similar industry or job group, they will. This builds credibility which professional relationships stem from and next time an opportunity comes up within their specialism, you will call them first because they helped you, and they know this.
Another area of the recruitment process that can pay dividends is to lower your expectations and control critical judgement when it comes to reviewing resumes. The amount of times I have challenged my initial judgemental reaction around the layout, lack of content and (certain) grammatical errors on a resume, to be pleasantly surprised by the calibre of candidate sitting on the other end of the phone has been ample. And well worth picking up the phone for an initial brief phone conversation.
Understanding everyone is human and we all make mistakes has enabled me to uncover gems that I wouldn’t have necessarily come across due to my unreasonable standards of what I expected to see on a resume. Obviously if a resume has a theme of continued errors you need to make a reasonable judgement call. After all this person may well end up working at your organisation.
If this approach is too far out of your comfort zone, and you feel you’d be lowering the bar, there are other ways to temperature check a resume.
Pay attention to the organisations worked for in the past. Pay attention to high performing organisations who raise the bar when hiring talent, which organisations are going through constant change or which organisations don’t necessarily have a high performing culture. If the said candidate left their position after only 3 months there may be a reason why, other than them not being able to perform the requirements of the position.
If your current employer doesn’t offer the flexibility of working outside a strict recruitment framework or you’re just too time poor you may need to engage a recruitment consultant. A recruitment consultant doesn’t need to follow the same framework and should be adaptable in their approach, working on behalf of you. Their role is to find the best person in the market and if you’re working with a true professional this should involve targeted search work increasing the candidate pool to passive as well as active candidates.
Some of these points may resonate with you more than others. At the very least this article should encourage you to review your current recruitment process and identify the areas that aren’t necessarily working for you as a starting point.
Engagement is key and the more accessible you can make yourself or team and build rapport the more access you’ll have to top talent. As Albert Einstein put it “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.