If you could wipe the slate clean and start your recruitment function again… where would you start…? (Part 3)


Part three of what I now see is a trilogy is a bit of a catch all.  It’s a bit like episode 3 of star wars (Revenge of the Sith) which makes a leap from the previous 5 episodes to link three and four with some giant plot links so we can pick it up where we expect to with Luke Skywalker... but like many things it does have some plot gaps (thanks for your emails, do keep them coming).

Only this is a blog post and so far less ambitious.  It is also Christmas, this is hardly the content for good will to all men (and women).

My last two posts (part one) and (part two) have looked at the components you might need to start a recruit function from scratch.  A careers site with an excellent candidate experience.  Some recruiters to receive applicants and reject them effectively and the start of a conversation about what the structure/function of your recruitment function should be.  I have yet to find the perfect model, the framework that actually delivers the ideal service.  But I am working on it.

Several of the comments received by readers related to my perceived negative start point.  I have initially talked about the need to reject candidates with professionalism and consistency.  There is good reason for this.  We are after all not really recruiters but rejecters. 

Think about it.

How many candidates did you hire.  How many did you interview but turn away.

We reject significantly more than we hire and we need to remember that.  We all need to get better at rejection.  As ever and indeed as per star wars I am going off on a tangent... But we should come back to that another day.

So what have we got a careers site, some recruiters.  Now what?#

How do you tell the world that you have that a vacancy?

I love social media.  Job posting is dead.  Yes, Monster etc. the days of buying a job post on your site really are numbered.  I still love you for CV search – especially for entry level candidates that know nothing about my organisation I know even less about them.  But for the majority of organisations getting social is the real key to it all. 

There are c161 million linkedin accounts, 500+ million twitter accounts 850+ million facebook accounts.  Now sure I know there is some duplication, fake accounts etc. but as sourcing strategies go it’s not bad.  Arm yourself with the most expensive linkedin account you can afford, make sure your profile is engaging, honest and has your picture in it, get searching.  While you are at it, join in some groups and create some of your own.... oh and tweet about what you are doing.  Not in a “I have x job, call me” although a few of those will do no harm if you support it with some realism and transparency.  Give a little bit of yourself away so that candidates can see who you are and some of what your organisation stands for.

This next bit depends on the role.  If you are looking for experienced mid level and above candidates then whilst you are on linkedin get together a list of people with likely skills and interest and call them.  This old fashioned approach to recruitment is under played but picking up the phone to many candidates a day gets you better at what you do.  Gets your eye in.  You will learn sector/industry buzzwords for roles you didn’t know about and you get closer to finding what you want.  Whilst the big search firms that call me to explain how this is done still think they are needed, they aren’t.  Direct, intelligent contact by your organisation will spread the brand message you want to spread and build a funnel of candidates interested in you and your organisation.

I am conscious that I haven’t come up with anything ‘slate cleaning’ here.  But right now with the technology we have, I’m not sure I know if there is something better or not?  Do you?

Let’s jump ahead – you’ve got some good looking candidates with skills, experience and attitude that suits your needs.  What do you do with them?  Interview?  Yes but how and by how many people.  This is a huge topic in its own right.  But really what is it you want.  For me I want to know how they found out about the job they are being interviewed for.  It gives an indication of their style, approach and where they are with their life.  I want to know what they like about this job, the skills, experience they bring but most of all their attitude to work.  Lastly I want to know why they are leaving.  Is it them, the company or their boss.  Nothing judgemental or negative here but a trend in any of those can give away what the individual is really like.  I have often asked candidates what’s wrong with them when they appear to good to be true.  Those who have answered honestly and given something about themselves away have been much easier to manage than those with the “the only thing that is wrong with me is that I am too good...” type answers.

Interviews are a big topic – we will come back to them another day. 

So having established you like a candidate then what.  Well if they recruiters have done their work at the start they will know what financial package will attract the candidate, help them get to an easy yes.  Working for a large corporate can be a challenge here, the budget you thought you had has been trimmed and you are now selling benefits in addition to a lower than expected salary.  Whilst it is not all about the money, if the finances aren’t quite right then it will be a longer, more difficult sell to the candidate. 

The thing that many companies fall down on though is the speed in which you get the offer out the door, both verbally and in writing.  If you love a candidate, show them some love.  Get it out the door as quickly as you can.  I have never forgotten my first grown up job offer, the courier was waiting at my house as I got home from the assessment day.  Whilst that might be overkill I felt instant loyalty... these people said they wanted me and here is the contract in my hand. 

Feeling special is underrated.

So you have got the candidate.  They have said yes.  Getting their first day right is really important.  It sets your stall out about what they can expect from you and what you want from them.  It is more than the tour of the coffee making and toilets, do some that vision stuff you employed them for in the first place.  Get a decent induction plan together for them, some regular review points booked up and warn them that your recruiters are going to talk them in a few weeks time to tap them up for some contacts. 

My slate cleaning blog has proved more difficult to write then I thought and if you have stuck with it until now, let me know and I will send you a prize.  I have realised that it is difficult to come up with something completely new unless you are genuinely given that free reign.  I’m not sure organisations are up for that just yet?  That tiny tweaks are they the order of the day rather than big bang end to end, business encompassing revolutions.  I suspect that this is an itch that isn’t going away for a while though...