As GE’s Jack Welch said, “Hiring great people is brutally hard.” According to Harvard Business Review, a surprising number of managers get it wrong, resulting not only in lost dollars but in lost opportunities to hire the best talent. This is because some leaders don’t put the same strategic thought and time investment into recruiting the right candidates as they do into other aspects of their organization. In a fast-growing business, the talent requirements can shift from one skillset to another very quickly, leaving internal HR departments at a loss for industry intel. That’s one of the reasons why working with a recruiter is a valuable investment – it’s our business to stay on top of industry trends and expectations. We make it easier to hire great people.
In choosing a recruiter, you can increase the likelihood of a successful engagement by making inquiries to ensure the agency has demonstrable experience and expertise in your industry. Once you’ve chosen the right recruiter, there are other steps you can take to make sure you get the best candidate for the role.
Advance preparation is key to success. Setting the foundation for a successful recruitment process by enabling the recruiter to fully understand your needs will improve the overall quality of the experience and the candidates. In this article, we set out how to lay the groundwork.
Firstly, invite the recruiter to make a site visit – you’d be surprised how many insights we can gain into such aspects as dress code and culture. A face-to-face conversation provides context that complements the parameters of the search and establishes the relationship necessary for ongoing communication.
Make sure that all managers involved in the relevant department have provided input. In larger companies HR managers sometimes feel responsible for the hiring process and don’t want to burden the hiring manager, but the real details of the role are usually best known by those on the front lines. Convey clearly to the recruiter which details are background information for them and what can be shared with the candidate.
Make sure that all relevant parties, especially the recruiter, are aware of the timelines and the expected hiring process, including pre-employment assessments, the number of interviews, medical examination, and background checks that could be required. It’s important to set expectations with candidates as to how long the hiring process is expected to be and what it entails.
The title and description of the role are critical; they are the core of a successful recruitment process. Job descriptions are used to develop interview questions, interview evaluations and reference check questions. If it’s an existing role, make sure the description is up to date and that you involve the line management and employees with a similar function. A well-described and documented role should be outlined within the existing management framework.
Make sure you have thought through the priority of requirements for the position, from essential to important to “nice to have”. The recruiter should adhere to these priorities when presenting candidates and also help you adjust them depending on feedback they are receiving for the potential candidate pool. The clearer you are on the essential attributes required for the position the easier it is to make compromises on non-essential attributes.
The bare essentials are job title and purpose; departmental context; key responsibilities (making good use of verbs and outcomes); preferred qualifications and technical skills; who the role reports to and manages; and working conditions. Be ambitious but realistic with your list of qualifications. Other areas include soft skills and personality traits necessary to excel and any important demands such as substantial travel. These days corporate culture is essential to candidates so be prepared to share what your corporate culture is – diversity strategies, flexibility of work, opportunity to telecommute, and environment.
In developing the description and preparing for interviews, consider how the role impacts the company overall. Ask yourself what the expectations and objectives are, including what success looks like. You will likely be asked these questions.
In addition to helping you craft a job description, your recruitment agency can assist with optimizing search engine results by making sure keywords are appropriate as well as developing a tone that reflects the company’s brand.
Once resumes start coming in, ongoing communication between the client and the recruiter is critical; a professional recruiter will fine tune the search as the search progresses based on your feedback. Staying engaged also lets the recruiter know that you are serious about working together in a situation where they are working on a contingency fee arrangement.
When it comes to interviews, a professional recruiter will always personally preview and thoroughly qualify candidates before presentation to a client. This is where having achieved consensus ahead of time on skills, experience, fit, and work style pays off.
When interviewing candidates, make sure you have set benchmarks so that all candidates are being scored the same way. Don’t allow members of the interview team to rule out candidates just because they are different. Diversity leads to innovation; groupthink leads to a lack of diversity of ideas and fresh thinking. Allow your external recruiter to suggest candidates who may bring in new ways of doing things.
The recruiter is there to support your hiring process. Before the offer stage, clarify with the recruiter who will handle compensation negotiations. Some employers prefer to do it themselves, and others prefer the recruiter be involved so that they can deal with any challenging conversations and all parties can begin work on a positive note.
Staying in Touch
Your recruiter can be a valuable resource for information even when you’re not in hiring mode, such as providing salary information regarding existing employees or HR trends in your industry. Goldbeck is a Canadian recruitment agency with international clients and global recruiting reach. Depending on the international location and the specific industry and functions, we will either handle recruitment ourselves or partner with one or more recruiting firms in our global network. We can introduce clients to a respected international recruiter for details regarding the legalities, customs, and costs of hiring in any location worldwide. Our clients know they can rely on us for insightful, timely recruitment advice, whenever and wherever they need it.