Top 10 tips for recruiting the right people


Ok, this is harsh, but realistically your career depends on whether you can put the right recruits into the right job. If you keep getting it wrong, you’ll lose the confidence of your clients and the knock-on effect will be that your pool of candidates will trickle away.

Happily, there are numerous ways that you can ensure you are recruiting the right people. Here are our top 10 suggestions …


1. Get the job spec right

To deflect the wrong type of candidate, it goes without saying that any job ad should be clearly worded, spelled correctly and contain a concise description of the job and salary range. To make sure your job description is accurate it’s worth doing a job analysis. This means collating information about the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills, outcomes, and work environment of a particular vacancy. But don’t be too stiff and starchy – it’s worth adding a few sweeteners, such as any perks the employer might be offering.


2. Don’t overlook that winning CV

One big headache is having to sift through the inevitable deluge of CVs.  Fortunately, nowadays you can take a more scientific approach by using computer programs to pick out key words and phrases in online applications. If that’s not possible, then do a quick visual scan to see whether the candidate has included a track-record of achievement and that they have checked spellings and presented their experience and education logically and concisely. If not, it doesn’t augur well for their organisational skills or attention to detail.


3. Draw on contacts you already know

Of course, the foolproof way to ensure you have a solid candidate is to choose one whose capabilities you already know and trust. That’s why it’s so important to network and develop relationships with potential candidates long before that killer vacancy arises.


4. Make that call

Screening is invaluable. Once you’ve got your shortlist, you could shorten it a bit more by holding pre-screening telephone interviews. A good telephone manner in a salesperson or receptionist, for instance, could be a clincher. But whatever the role, you can assess whether the candidate is personable and polite and you’ll be able to ask questions to gauge their salary expectations and whether their experience and qualifications really is fit for purpose. If they have no questions, sound disengaged, offhand or disrespectful then you’ve saved yourself the next stage.


5. Psychometric testing

Another excellent method of screening, depending on the role, is to send potential candidates an online psychometric test. This will sort out those who don’t have the personal qualities the role demands, or who are misrepresenting their achievements and abilities. You can also use group interviews or trial days to decide whether they are a good cultural fit for the company.


6. Follow up on references

It’s vital to double-check that your prime candidate really does have all the qualifications and experience they say they have. If they have lied about just one thing, give them a wide berth.

You need to follow up work references and make sure they really have worked for the employers they list. Be wary if none of the references include former managers.  Similarly, check educational credentials and note that background checks, such as criminal history or credit history are relevant to specific jobs.


7. Look out for warning signs

There are lots of these. Being late for interview, constant excuses to defer interview, an unkempt appearance, lack of eye contact and general casualness are all warning signs. Similarly, anyone who arrives at the interview unprepared, without having researched the job or company or who has no interest in finding out more is unlikely to be taking the job seriously. And a klaxon should sound if they don’t give clear, straight answers to regular questions.


8. Positive signs

It’s not rocket science. You’ll be looking for confident, friendly eye contact, a firm handshake and clean and tidy appearance. The candidate will have researched the job or at least be curious to know more. The interview will flow and at the end they will indicate their interest in the job and reinforce this with an email afterwards.


9. Ask killer questions

Be strategic at interview. Questions to assess whether the candidate is a good fit with the company include asking them to describe the work environment in which they would be the most productive and happy. Or to list the characteristics exhibited by the best boss they have worked for – or would like to work for.

Similarly, you can assess their management capabilities by asking for examples on how they have managed situations where employees have underperformed. Find out whether they got results and what they did subsequently. Ask them for examples to back up claims they have improved financial performance – drill for details of how much, how and when.


10. Go with your instincts

If you are an experienced recruiter, listen to what your instincts are telling you. You will be able to read body language and behavioural patterns by now and if you have made a point of getting to know everything there is about the role and the employer, you will know deep down whether you have a well-matched candidate, or someone who will only be passable. Whatever you do, don’t accept someone who is only “passable”.

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