For a long time we used the mantra “can do, will do, will fit' when recruiting and to a certain extent this mantra is still useful. However for the recruitment of permanent staff there are many more factors to consider. Recruitment is not difficult if you know what you want. I have sat on recruitment panels and asked the main hirer: “do you want someone to maintain the status quo or do you want someone to develop the role” and met blank looks. Without knowing specifically what a company wants, recruitment becomes a “stab in the dark” process. Once you have defined the ideal person, think about what the critical factors are e.g. what's essential and what's negotiable?
Many focus on the tasks to be performed to the detriment of the person needed to perform the task. For example if hiring a sales person, is it more important to hire someone who has some sales experience with mediocre results or someone who is willing to knock on 50 doors a day with the right attitude? Depends whether you believe that past performance is the best indicator of future performance or you believe that with the right attitude and coaching, you can develop potential super performers. Some managers think that candidates once placed need to be able to do the job without taking into account that with the right amount of training, coaching & encouragement a leader may just produce an employee with spectacular results.
Here are the things you need to be clear on before you recruit:
- What do you want the person to do; e.g. status quo or develop?
- What experience must they have?
- What attitude do you want the person to have?
- What can you and are you willing to teach?
- Do you have enough coaching skills to elicit their very best?
- Do you have a benchmark in another employee that the new person must meet?
Here is how you find the person:
- Good thorough job description listing essentials and beneficial negotiable factors
- Person specificationg. if legal clerk they may need supreme attention to detail and the ability to work unsupervised and long hours.
- Be very specific about their world viewg. if sales person, then an attitude of always being glass half full is imperative or if a new company with few processes, then a big picture person can put up with lack of processes whilst a linear thinking person would find it much more difficult to fit in.
- Values testing; ensure that the candidate's values are aligned with your company's. If you are BHP you probably don't want a committed greenie on your team. If you are Coca Cola, you probably don't want a Pepsi lover on your team.
- If offering training and coaching, ensure that you provide it in a structured, consistent manner and you have sufficient skills to do so.
- If you have an existing benchmark, then define it through some psychological testing so you can test your candidates against the benchmark.
Here are your various recruitment tools to determine best candidate fit in the current market that you are recruiting in:
- Behavioral Interviews
- Skills testing (may include role playing assimilating real work situations)
- Reference Checking (min 2 referees or 5 years employment)
- Values Testing
- Psychological Testing
Which component you place the most emphasis on will depend on who you want to hire with what skills. Interview is a good way to gauge how someone performs and communicates in an unnatural situation and their ability to improvise to a certain extent. Whatever you uncover in the interview, you then use the skills testing and reference checking to confirm or contradict what was said.
If using psychological testing be very clear on what you are measuring. Also determine whether the psychological testing is the show stopper. If it is then do it first. Otherwise make a clear decision that it will only count for say 15-20% of the final hiring decision so if a candidate does well in the other areas but less so in the psychological testing, put the result in the right perspective.
Also think about whether you want someone to “fit in” or someone to do the job. Sometimes the best person for the job may be someone who is unlike the rest of the team, which will work as long as the values are aligned.