Recruiting All-Star Candidates

Recruitment is one human resources process in which there is never a dull moment. People are unpredictable and organizations are so dynamic, and often there are at least a couple quick changes throughout the process that force us recruiters to scramble and reorganize. As a recruitment specialist, I am often tasked by my clients to help them turn over rocks and find a top notch, gold candidate to join their organization. Those gold candidates are all-stars and best fit candidates that have all of the required skills and qualities for the role, are great fits within their teams and organizations and outstanding performers. But how do you find that all-star candidate for your role, and where? And how do you avoid falling into the standard recruitment pitfalls that commonly allude recruiters and hiring managers alike? Here are a few suggestions to keep you on the right track to finding your next all-star employee:

  • Process, Structure and Formality – The hiring decision is one of the most important decisions your people managers are tasked with, and for that reason, some level of formality and structure is necessary. Outline a process, follow the appropriate steps and stick to your outlined timeline. Write a job description that is fully descriptive of the role and a job advertisement that details the skills and experience required to be successful in the position. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed by candidates who have other amazing skills and qualifications or may be overqualified. Know your salary range and experience level that you require and stick to candidates who are within those ranges. Ensure that all candidates follow the same steps within the process and that the timeline is scheduled so you don’t lose anyone in the process while hanging on and hoping for an even stronger candidate. The structure doesn’t have to be so rigid that it does not allow for flexibility, but candidates are going to expect some forward momentum in the recruitment process and will begin to look for other opportunities if they are left hanging.
  • Remain Unbiased – I am often shocked at how many hiring managers have their candidates ranked BEFORE they sit down with them and meet them in an interview. They are practically ready to make an offer to a candidate based only on their resume! It sounds silly and like an obvious suggestion, but bias happens more frequently than you would think. Ranking your candidates without any legitimate evaluation criteria can lead to disappointment in interviews, but even worse, a strong bias towards a particular candidate without any solid reason.
  • Internal referrals – Referrals are a great way to engage your current employee base and get them active in the recruitment process. They can even do a bit of your recruitment work for you, because they will be able to initially gauge their referral’s potential fit for the organization as they are familiar with the organizational culture. Additionally, a current employee is very unlikely to refer a candidate who they believe isn’t a strong candidate, as organizational reputation is usually very important to employees. However, with all of that being said, referrals need to be screened using the same process that all external candidates go through. The employees who are referring candidates are probably not professional recruiters, and therefore will likely not know all of the necessary skills/qualities necessary for the role. Have a serious look at referrals, but also remember you are under no obligation to bring them in for an interview just because they were referred, especially if they do not seem to possess the necessary qualifications.
  • Interview Preparation & Candidate Care – In order to ensure you end up with the absolute best, all-star for your organization, interview preparation is crucial. Prepare an interview guide that asks a mix of technical and behavioural questions and ensures that the interview is a true representation of the vacant role. Setting appropriate candidate expectations for the role is crucial at this point, as well as giving all candidates an accurate representation of what the corporate culture is like and what they can expect as far as team dynamics. Remember, the interview process is just as much an interview for you and your organization by the candidate, as it is for the candidate by you as a recruiter. They are evaluating if your organization is ultimately somewhere that they can see themselves committing to. Paying attention to the small details and following through with your commitments to the candidate goes a long way, and the candidates will appreciate your reliability and the courtesy.
  • Candidate Evaluation – Over the course of my career, I have engaged with hundreds of hiring managers to assist them in the recruitment process. After asking them about how they usually recruit and what they base their decision on, I often hear “I go with my gut.” These managers fancy themselves to be very good recruiters based on their deep rooted trust in their instincts. From there, I ask them what their retention metrics look like and how much turnover they have. Oftentimes, on a deeper look, managers who rely solely on gut feelings to make their hiring decisions experience higher than average turnover. When you are bringing someone from outside into your organization, there are so many elements to consider, a feeling from your gut is not enough to base the entire hiring decision on. It is so important to establish a standardized evaluation process to help you rank the candidates and come up with an impartial way to rank the candidates. One popular method is to weigh each question out of a possible 3 or even 5 points and rank each answer based on how fully it was answered. This ensures that all candidates are evaluated on the same criteria and keeps any bias out of the decision.

Recruitment can be a very tricky process to manage and sometimes candidates can be difficult to find. However, avoiding the above pitfalls will help you navigate the process without bias and locate that ever sought after, perfect fit all-star to join your team.

If you are looking for supporting in recruiting your next all-star employee contact Salopek & Associates to learn about our cost-effective Recruiting-by-the-Hour service, which offers hourly recruitment support with no retainer or placement fee upon hire.

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