Improving your recruitment process

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Building Recruitment managing director Kevin Everett

Building Recruitment managing director Kevin Everett outlines the main issues faced by companies in a normal recruitment process, the reasons they occur, and some top tips in overcoming them.


I recently presented at the Auckland RMBA Auckland Summit held during the buildnz trade show, and after the presentation I was asked several questions about how to recruit better.

The main issues facing the attendees I spoke to were:

Why can’t I find the right person?

Why am I not getting any response from my job adverts?

Why do the people I hire never seem to last or are not what I expected?

There are many reasons why the above issues occur, but the most common ones I come across are:

Hiring managers can be too picky about what they want.

Hiring managers can panic and hire out of desperation.

Weak recruitment processes.

Inconsistent evaluation of candidates.

Too slow deciding/long-winded processes.

Candidates having multiple offers.

Not knowing the market rate and pricing wages below those of their competitors.

Offering salaries lower than candidates’ current rate/expectations.

Lack of decision making.

This may sound like a lot and it is. But this is exactly what most employers face.

Top tips

My top tips to counter the above issues are:

Preparation is your best friend. Make sure you can act swiftly if the right person comes along, be decisive and know the market rates.

Nothing puts a candidate off more than an employer who cannot decide, or tries to get someone on the cheap.

Understand your employer brand. Why should the candidate work for you? Remember they may have multiple offers on the table.

You need to sell yourself as much as they need to impress you. The best way to find out is to ask your current staff why they enjoy working for you. You may well be surprised by the answers.

List your key must-have skills required for the position. Look at a list of three to five and set them out as a matrix from the most vital down.

Measure each candidate by scoring them out of 5 or 10. Add the scores up for each skill and you will quickly see who the stand-out is.

Set out a list of searching and open-ended questions to ask during the interview.

These questions should be focused around those must-have skills. Ensure you ask each candidate the same questions.

This will give you a consistent interview process, and you will quickly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.

Allow the candidate to do most of the talking. Too many times we have had feedback from candidates saying they hardly said anything or asked any questions because the hiring manager did all the talking.

How do you know what they can do if you don’t let them talk?

Always write notes during and after each interview. Focus on what they can bring to your business and where they may need support. Identify their transferrable skills.

Ask about their achievements, what they enjoy most and least about their job, how they like to be managed, and what culture they work best in.

Look at the weaknesses in your business. How will you deal with them, and can the candidate add value where you have weaknesses?

Ensure you never get disturbed, and allow 45 to 60 minutes for an interview. Remember, no phone calls or interruptions, and show respect to the candidate as they are taking time away from work too.

It is highly recommended that you carry out a minimum of two interviews.

If you have made your decision about hiring the candidate, before offering them the role get them to meet the team, and even have a team member involved in the second interview.

At this point, it is essential to carry out detailed verbal references.

This is vital. Have a good list of questions, and always make sure you have the candidate’s permission to talk to a referee.

If you don’t, you are breaking the Privacy Act which carries large penalties.

Successful career path

To ensure your new hire has a successful career path within your team/company, it is important to have your contracts up to date with current legislation.

It is also a good idea to have an induction planned for when they start, to ensure clear objectives and expectations are set right from the beginning.