Prepare a Job Specification before commencing
your recruitment. From this you can prepare both the Job Description
and the Person Specification. If this is a replacement post
don't just use the old job description. Critically review it
first - your priorities usually change over time.
Where possible, allow sufficient lead-time.
To speed up the process, pre-allocate some provisional interview
slots in your own diary, and those of others who you wish to
involve in the interview process - remember 'time kills deals'.
Candidates may go cold or accept other offers during a protracted
time lapse in the process. Wherever possible, allow an overlap
with the previous incumbent to minimise your involvement of
time and maximise their productivity.
Arm the recruiter with the most pertinent
qualifying and disqualifying criteria/questions so that you
do not waste your time interviewing inappropriate candidates.·
Outline your objectives for the interview. You will need to
'sell' the opportunity to attract across the most desirable
candidates - this is particularly important in the case of headhunted
candidates. You will also need to stimulate sufficient flow
of information to decide whether the candidate has:
a) appropriate personal characteristics: personality, intelligence,
b) appropriate 'managerial' profile: team player/leader, manager,
c) skills & experience pertinent to the role - first essential
and then desirable.
If it transpires early in the interview that any of your 'essential'
requirements are lacking or insufficient, bring the interview
to a close as soon as possible.
If, when you see the candidates, you realise
your original specification doesn't quite hit the mark (e.g.
a desirable criterion should now be considered essential), make
sure the recruitment consultant, HR department, &/or agency,
are informed of the change in specification. It is advisable
to keep a written record of the criteria you set, and refer
back to it, so that you know that everyone is pointed in the
right direction. 'The best indicator of future behaviour is
past behaviour'. Therefore use experiential questioning aligned
to your essential criteria. Employ the simple but effective
STAR technique or your preferred alternative.
||S ituation -
the candidate should give a concise outline to the scenario chosen
which they will use to demonstrate their experience.
T ask - if this was complex, a degree of strategic planning
will have been required. Look for attention to external and internal
environmental factors, possible ramifications, etc. If the task required
a team response, who pulled the team together and took the lead? In
a more simplistic situation the 'task' may be intrinsic.
A ction - watch for the use of 'we' - you need to drill down
to discover his/her specific value add. Try to uncover the behavioural
specifics - what he/she did, said, and so on.
R esult - a negative or less than hoped for result is just
as valid as a positive result providing the individual gained valuable
experience. Follow up with whether he/she would do the same again.
However, it may not be appropriate to repeat the action even if it
was successful - does he/she demonstrate awareness of the impact of
the possible changes in the external & internal climate?
Test the accuracy of the candidate's response by asking
for a reference. If the candidate hedges, he/she may be exaggerating
or misrepresenting the case.
In most cases it is beneficial to involve a task
at second interview stage. This should give you some insight
into how the candidate will perform in the role. For example:
10-15 min presentation; technical test; prioritisation exercise;
short debate on a given topic; practical skills exercise, etc.
Behavioural or psychometric testing is also valuable for certain
Involve HR or seek professional advice on the
legal tenets, internal policy, surrounding fair recruitment
and selection if in any doubt. A mistake could be very costly.
Whilst it is important to be as objective as possible
in your selection techniques, this does not mean you should
ignore your intuitive feelings. Most people pick up body language
signals, but very few are clear on the analysis of them. If
you have doubts, try to pinpoint precisely what led to these
doubts and follow up on them. As well as the individual's ability
to do the job, you also need to feel confident that he/she will
fit in with the team and the company culture.
When following up references, it is advisable
to obtain a verbal as well as a written reference. In some cases
the recruitment professional will pursue verbal references during
the recruitment process. This has the benefit of providing valuable
information before an offer is made and shields you from any
come-back. If this service is offered, take full advantage of
it by asking them to bring any specific concerns you may have
into the conversation. You will, however, still need to take
up written references yourself regardless of whether the recruitment
professional has conducted reference checks.
Before making an offer try to ascertain how likely
acceptance is. Some recruitment professionals will pre-close
the candidate on this and broker the offer for you, which can
afford you greater flexibility. If you really want this person
on board it may pay not to stint on the basic providing this
will not be out of kilter with existing staff. The cost of a
new hire is greater than most people realise. For a £40-50k
salary the real cost to the company in the first year is in
the region of £90-100k plus lost opportunity costs. So
an extra £1-2k for the right person at the right time
may be worth considering.
The perfect candidate is a mythical creature.
If you found someone who was a 95-100% fit there would be no
room for their growth and development. They would therefore
get bored and leave or stagnate and start dropping in performance.
Look for someone who is around an 80% fit, but ensure that the
remaining 20% is not in a crucial area or an area of knowledge
that it would be difficult for them to master quickly.
As you are not likely to find the perfect candidate,
aim to identify any possible management issues during, or immediately
following, the interview process. You can then keep a watchful
eye on these areas and, hopefully, nip any problems in the bud.
Once you have an offer and acceptance, your objective
is no longer to find the right person; it is now to ensure that
the individual you have selected becomes the right person. You
need to make sure that they have all the information and tools
required to do the job. Develop a good induction programme,
which not only gives a good insight into the company, the marketplace,
the role and your expectations, but also allows you sufficient
freedom to get on with your job.
Ensure that you get the level of training right
- you need enough to ensure continued development and motivation,
without allowing a time cost factor that will have a detrimental
effect on productivity. In addition to normal induction requirements
we recommend around 4 days a year (in addition to any product
training required) for all senior staff. Ideally this should
be fairly evenly spread.
The costs of a new hire suggested above are, if
anything, on the modest side. So failing to give attention to
retention factors can be a very costly oversight. Research shows
that salary is rarely the main reason for people leaving. The
most common reasons include: lack of feedback & recognition;
the line manager; security; and opportunity for advancement.
Feedback & recognition: It is important to
maintain frequent and regular contact with the new member of
staff. Sandwich any negative feedback between positive feedback
and give clear guidance and instructions with agreed targets.
Seek out, and actively listen to, the individual's ideas and
suggestions. If these cannot be implemented because of the Company
policy or strategy, or because they fail to take account of
all the market forces or ramifications, make this clear and
discuss alternatives. If they are good ideas they need to be
seen to be followed through.
The line manager: If you appoint someone else
to be line manager, make sure that this relationship is going
well. As people are normally only forthcoming with criticism
of their boss to trusted peers you will need to question carefully,
'read between the lines', and watch for body language signals.
If you fear there is a personality clash, consider the actions
you can take to remedy the situation. Performance is nearly
always enhanced when the person respects and gets on well with
his/her boss. Sadly the reverse is also true.
Security: If the industry, the market &/or
the Company is suffering a downturn, your team members may feel
under threat - especially the newest ones. It's important to
take action as early as possible, as once they have started
looking for other opportunities, the focus will be diverted
from the job and it will be difficult to recapture their drive
and motivation. Rumour and gossip can be even more damaging
than bad news. From the outset, be as forthcoming as is politic
and inform staff members of strategic initiatives to counter
any difficulties faced. If you involve your staff they are more
likely to feel part of the team and be prepared to work with
you to counter any threat.
Opportunity for advancement: Aim to groom your
stars (that show potential for management or higher management)
for promotion. Give people clear milestones for advancement
so that they can track their progress - but don't move the goal
posts further away. It is better to require more in the first
place and reward effort early (i.e. prior to final result) than
to add extra requirements later. If circumstances diminish opportunity
for advancement, you may wish to consider offering opportunities
for broadening experience instead, e.g. training opportunities;
career or executive coaching; or additional responsibilities
in an area the individual has expressed interest in.
Don't limit your scheduled meetings with the new
employee to the first few weeks, or even months. Once the honeymoon
period is over, minor irritations can become significant drawbacks
for the new team member. These need to be dealt with as soon
Some recruitment professionals at the higher end
of the market will maintain contact with the new incumbent and
the manager for some months after the hire. Check whether this
service is normally available and if it is, take advantage of
it. As the recruiter is independent and has normally established
a good relationship with the candidate, he/she is well placed
to discover any pertinent issues and bring these to your attention.
The responsibility to ensure that your new hire
is successful rests not only with you, but also with the incumbent.
To encourage a proactive approach to this responsibility, after
the first few weeks, ask them to determine and write down their
goals and their strategy for achieving those goals. If appropriate,
you can also invite them to conduct their own personal (or personal
business) SWOT analysis. Follow up on the progress towards the
achievement of the stated goals.
- Its not only important to consider what makes
people move, but also what makes them stay. The people, the management,
team membership, enjoyment of the role, variety, the work environment,
training, flexibility, status, loyalty, success, recognition &
reward all feature here. But most significant is the 'significant
others'. If your team has fun in their work, can feel proud of
their contribution, and have a good relationship with their managers
and peers; the most accomplished headhunter is likely to go away
empty handed. However, if you don't manage to get this right for
all the people all the time - you join the rest of the human race!
We also provide Executive Coaching and
training courses on: competency based interviewing; retaining
high performance personnel; competitive edge selling; managing
and rechannelling stress; team building; appraisal and objective
setting; effective meetings; presentation skills; and many other
topics. Each course is tailored and refined to meet individual