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Blog : Recruiting the foolproof way


Recruiting the foolproof way

by Jon Reed – Operations Director, learnpurple

At learnpurple we regularly hear stories of people leaving roles having only just joined the organisation. More often than not the new starter arrives with lots of promise; however it quickly goes downhill when there’s an obvious mismatch between the individual, their role and / or company culture.

Poor recruitment decisions can be hugely damaging, not only on the individuals involved but also the team around them. Morale, productivity, engagement are all impacted which has a direct effect on customers and thus revenue. No business can justify having somebody on-board who is not contributing or doesn’t have the potential to add value.

This is why it’s vital to make the right decision first time. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a foolproof formula which ensured you recruited the perfect person each and every time? Making the process simple yet perfect for your organisation?

Luckily for us this is exactly what Jane Sunley offers in her book, Purple your People: the secrets to inspired, happy, more profitable people. Jane provides tips and advice for making the attraction, selection and joining process as smooth as possible; ensuring you pick the right person for your business.

We’re currently recruiting at learnpurple and are using this process to do so.  Adding my own personal experience to the book’s advice, I would suggest there are eight key points to consider when it comes to recruitment:

  • Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Take time to put together a thorough job description, person specification and job advert. The person specification should include what qualifications, experience, skills, abilities, knowledge and personal qualities a person needs to deliver results in line with your standards. The advert needs to ’sell’ the role to your target market; using familiar language and most importantly; reflecting your culture and values

  •  Challenge candidates

Start to challenge potential recruits as part of their application. At learnpurple we do this by always asking for a one page CV and having them explain why they’re right for us in ten bullet points. This allows us to check whether the candidate can make things simple (an important value for us) and succinct. It also saves loads of time during the sifting process – those who don’t comply with our requirements are automatically excluded – and ensure we shortlist only the very best.

  • Peer interviews

Getting the team involved in interviewing not only helps to upskill team members, it checks that the entire team is onboard with the recruitment decision. The interview panel should include a mix of people, different levels and always someone who can dis-associate themselves from the role.

  • Recruit those who are better than and different to ourselves

I often look for a bit of myself in potential candidates - similar values, work ethic, charisma . However, a team full of ‘me’s’ wouldn’t be as effective as a rich mix of skills attributes and experience. Review what you have and consider team dynamics and strengths. That way you can bring in people who complement weaker areas or can add new ideas to the conversation.

  • Use psychometrics and tests

Enhance team engagement in the recruitment process by asking them to design some role specific tests; allowing you to measure how potential recruits would deal with scenarios and situations that are pertinent – we use a nifty ‘in box’ exercise for example.

We’re also fans of psychometrics tests, especially for senior roles. This provide vital information for second stage interviews and also, should the applicant be successful, helps speed up the settling in process by having knowledge of ‘what makes them tick’ from day one.

  • Recruit for attitude, not skill

You can teach most things, but you can’t teach attitude! Having the wrong attitude for your business culture will only lead to difficulties and exits. Ensure your interview process asks questions to examine attitude and alignment to values.

  • Double check your intuition

And make sure you re-consider ‘fit’. I often use a simple pros and cons list to help me make the right call.

  • Always ask...

During the interview:  ”What will you do if you’re not successful?” This will measure how much they want to join you and give you an indication of their drive.

And interviewers should ask themselves: “If this person called to say they were accepting another job would I be devastated, relieved or ambivalent?” – very telling.

  • Pre-joining is critical

Once you and the team have made the decision, get your new recruit involved as early as possible. Invite them to social events before they officially start, send them some information to read through and perhaps even start them on a little project. Purple your People has a fantastic chapter on pre-joining; possibly the best few pages you’ll read all year! Very few organisations invest enough time on this part yet it’s critical to help new starters hit the ground running. – Needless to say it also helps clock up those engagement points before they walk through the door!

How do you recruit? Would you add any more considerations?

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