By Alice Marigold, Marketing & Development Executive at Montgomery Charles
5 Simple steps for recruiting the right person for the job
We all know it’s important to hire the right person for the job – you’ve heard this before. So how exactly does one do this? Where do you start? How do you know what qualities to look for in a candidate? More challenging still – how do you navigate your way past all the broken promises that candidates make whilst telling you what you want to hear? How do you filter out the ones who wow you in the interview only to start work with you and (for one reason or another) don’t make it past the probation period? Does this sound familiar? This article aims to help better prepare you for next time you are on the hunt for a new member to join your team.
I’ll start by giving you a quick snapshot of my recruiting background – don’t worry I’ll keep it brief! I have been looking after the recruitment at Montgomery Charles since 2012- back when I was young and inexperienced. Although I touched on the study of recruitment at university which gave me a decent foundation for what to expect in the recruitment process, it’s fair to say it didn’t exactly prepare me for the real thing. Like anything, it takes practice and over time I’ve come to the realisation that the key to successful recruitment is:
- Asking the right questions
- Representing your firm/practice well
- Being wise to what you hear
- Searching for the right personality, and
- Persevering until you find that perfect fit.
Here are my 5 Simple steps to recruiting the right people for the job who will stay with you long-term:
1. Re-write your job descriptions
Not getting the right sort of quality candidates coming through? Start at the beginning. Re-evaluate your job description. What is it saying about your company and what it’s like to work for you? Does it reflect your company’s culture and purpose? It’s very easy to write a list of key skills required and (lets be honest) a boring spiel about the history of your company that’s dry and meaningless to most people. Don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your job descriptions. After all, this is likely to be the very first impression a candidate has of your company. Essentially, you are trying to paint a picture of what it is like to work for your company which aim to appeal to the type or person who would thrive in your environment. Convey the professionalism and prestige of your firm appropriately, baring in mind who you are writing this job description for. A tricky balance, I know.
Something else to bear in mind – If your job description is featured on your website this means that your future and existing clients may read it as well. Make sure you are portraying yourselves in the way you intend to and ask yourself – I am happy for my clients to read this? Does it reflect our firm well?
2. Look for the right personality
Remember, you’re not hiring another ‘you’, you’re hiring someone to compliment the team, to bring something new and to be an asset in their own right. Too many of the same personality type may not be a positive. Equally, you need to find someone who works well with others and that your team will work well with. Be sure to look beyond shyness and not mistake it for something else, such as unwillingness or being difficult. Interviews can be really nerve-racking even for the most confident of us. My advice is to warm the candidates up first, before asking them the hard hitting, meaty questions. Your aim is to get the most truthful answers from them which will be better achieved by making them feel comfortable. Start by asking them some easy questions, such as; How did you get here today? Tell me about a typical weekend of yours. Ease them in, build up to your most important questions and leave on a sweet note. I usually try and make them laugh by asking them a non-serious question at the end. Remember, the candidate is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. Look interested, listen properly, smile and be nice.
Ultimately you should hire staff who believe the same things that you believe about your product or service. Those people who share your passion and want to work for your company for a deeper meaning than ‘for the money’. Like minded individuals will work well together and reduce friction. In turn, you will naturally deliver better customer service.
3. The interviews
Most people do their research before an interview. This is precisely what I look for, however; if they don’t know the history of the company or the name of the CEO, I’ll be wondering why they even want to work here? Looking out for good preparation is important, but it’s also essential to look out for candidates who are ‘over prepared’. What do I mean by this? I’m referring to those candidates who google ‘good answers to interview questions’ and ‘what to say and what not to say in an interview’. I advise you to also google this in preparation, so that you can tell when you’re witnessing an authentic interview or a scripted one. Many candidate tell me their weakness is that they are a perfectionist (*rolls eyes*). When this happens often I ask them to choose something else! (Of course, this is sometimes true, so be mindful).
Ask candidates why they are looking for a new role. Really try and get to the bottom of what has made them seek a new role. Beware of candidates who never settle or get bored after a few years. Ask them what motivates them in life? Listen carefully to the answer to assess whether your firm will be able to satisfy this person long-term.
4. Be prepared to wait
Be very selective and do not compromise because you’re finding it difficult to fill the position. Do not take someone on who is an acceptable fit. Be prepared to wait for someone who is a great fit. The right staff don’t (often) leave.
Be imaginative, if the recruitment agencies aren’t producing the goods and your sparky job specs just aren’t enough to find the right people, seek other channels. Ask around – you’re friends and family, your existing colleagues, but be specific and always arm them with the job description and brief them first before letting them lose. Use online methods – linked in is the largest network of professional people in the world. Read more about using linked in for recruiting here: http://bit.ly/LinkedInForRecruitment.
Bottom line: Do not hire because you ‘just need someone right now’. Hiring for the sake of hiring doesn’t create strong and loyal teams and is less likely to yield the best customer service.
5. How do I make them stay?
Sometimes, people will just leave. This can be really frustrating, especially as you have put a lot of time and energy into recruiting them. You might have paid an agency fee to help you find the new member – making the loss of a new colleague feel even more painful. Perhaps your new colleague realises this is not the industry for them after all. Perhaps they don’t gel with your culture? Whatever it is, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just make sure you have meetings with those of you who manage recruitment and talk about why it happened. Note down which traits to watch out for next time, make a new plan and learn from your mistakes.
The truth is you can’t make anyone stay, but you can listen to the wise words of Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, who urges us to Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to. Amen.
A final note to end on
Don’t be set in your ways. Be flexible. Tune the interviews when you see something isn’t working or you’re getting the same generic and unhelpful answers each time. Leave any accidental bias at the door before you begin your recruitment journey. Trust your instincts – you can usually tell if someone is going to be a good fit within the first few minutes of meeting them. Remember you’re recruiting a colleague and not a friend (at outset). Most people are nice, but not all of them can excel in your role. My grandad always used to say Remember, its easy to take someone on, but its hard to get rid of them.
Lastly, do not be disheartened, do not give up and above all do not compromise!