Most organisations have a process for recruiting new employees. Smaller organisations will sometimes do this in a spontaneous, even chaotic manner. There may be a person in charge of recruitment, or even an external recruitment consultant but, most often, it is the manager or a future colleague that will do the recruiting. That person may actually be you.
Since there is so much at stake when a recruitment is not successful, it surprises me that the recruitment process is often treated lightly. I know it can take a lot of time, and you have other (important) work to do. But quick and scattered recruitment will waste even more of your time, slow down your work, affect team atmosphere and damage motivation.
As a Communication Skills trainer, I also help my clients with the communication aspect of the recruitment process.So, here are some tips to improve your hiring process immediately:
Before deciding that you need to hire someone please make sure that you REALLY need to hire someone. Candidates love it when you need them, when there is a job to be done and when the job is clearly defined. Too many job announcements today look like an amalgam of two or three jobs, not making it clear which is the one job aspect or result that will make the most impact.
In the short run, you need someone to fill in a position. In the long run however, you need a series of specific results that an actual human can achieve with the resources you will provide. That should be clear from the job ad. Write it well!
2. FORGET THE HYPE. WHAT'S YOUR TYPE?
Decide whether this is a completely new position or if someone (anyone!) has already been successful in this exact job. If it's a new position, keep it realistic. If someone has already held the job, make sure you are not looking for exactly the same kind of person. This is not fair to the new candidate, since no two people are alike.
Consult with your people, especially direct colleagues about the type of person you need. Ask yourself: do I really need an a creative, self-starter as we stated in the job ad? Or will I resent them as soon as they come up with ideas? Think about what you need in terms of skills, experience, but most of all the personality style. Too many similar personalities in a small team may clash. Some people just don't work well together even if they work well apart.
Candidates can embellish their resume, can deliver a great interview, but most cannot pretend for long that they are someone else. You don't need fancy personality tests, just your own experience of what worked in the past and what did not.
3. TURN THE COMMS UP BEFORE HIRING
As soon as you have made a shortlist from the people who have applied, start communicating. Choose to have either a longer e-mail exchange ( 2 to 3 emails) or a couple of short phone calls with them. Make sure that in these exchanges candidates can also ask questions about the job and the organisation. You need to know who they are and how they think. They need to know if they are interested in what you offer. If you hide your actual offering, they might hide their true personality. This is what we want to avoid, and more communication will help us to avoid this common pitfall in hiring processes.
Before you actually sit the candidate in front of you for an interview, you want to already be in a relation of some kind. some candidates may charm you too quickly in a face to face settings. Others may not impress you, if you meet them too soon, but they might be a good fit overall.
Now, candidates will always try to impress and reassure you. This is their job. Yours, as the hiring manager, is to probe, ask, doubt and take your time to decide.
4. KEEP IT ORDERED, STRUCTURED AND PROFESSIONAL
Make sure to keep the in-person interview structured, formal and as similar as possible with each candidate. We all love to have nice conversations that lead to a friendly feeling of connection. But in-person interviews are not the place for this.
Only invite candidates that have gone through the communication exchange described before. It will be like meeting a set of acquaintances, for a formal occasion, and the interview will be better for everyone. This method will also create a level playing field, since all candidates will receive the same questions.
Let's just state the obvious: interviews are moments where you ask the questions and the candidates answers. Interviews are opportunities to ask about their knowledge, results they obtained and past behaviour with people. Interviews are not great for talking about the future, personal issues, wishful thinking and any organisational or personal issues. The candidate is the one in the hot seat, and that is fine.
The whole communication approach I just described can also set a good stage for any further relation you may have with this person. In the end, they may be hired by someone else. They may become a client. The world is full of surprises, but if you treat everyone with respect and as persons you might meet again, everyone wins.
5. GHOSTING CANDIDATES IS OUT OF THE QUESTION
If after having those short intense communication exchanges or an official interview, you decide not to continue in the process, let the candidate know as soon as possible. The sooner you tell them that you will not be continuing, the better. There is nothing worse for a person to be in a relationship of any kind and then to receive only silence. Most hiring managers will claim they don't have the time or energy to deal with those they 'dropped' along the way. You should strive to be different.
If a candidate asks for feedback, your job is to provide personalised feedback for those candidates that invested their time in getting to know you (not every person that sent the application, obviously).
If you do offer a candidate a position, make sure you enter the negotiation phase gracefully as well, since you will now be a close step towards working together. Communication will be slightly different from now on, there may be twists and turns, and people may even change their mind. But that is the topic for another blogpost!
Would you like training on communication and recruitment? Get in touch of discuss the options with me here.
I get emails from people every day, telling me about their communication woes. Now that you are ready to do something about it, drop me a line and I will tell you what we can do next.