Monthly Archives

April 2018

What are some red-Flags that let you know that Something’s Wrong with your Recruiting Process?

By | Blog, Recruiting | No Comments

Red flags are the absence of an early warning system. Of course, the obvious problems are consequences/effects of deeper causes and require reactive solving.

A strong recruiting process, like any business process, can only work well if it’s built with all its stakeholders’ interest in mind: Recruiter (recruitment company), the hiring manager (internal clients or external client company) and candidate – in this chronological order.

When any of the stakeholders is not given enough attention during recruitment you may see scenarios such as:

  • The recruiter is under a lot of pressure from the client to deliver, cuts corners in the candidate selection process. The client will receive a candidate whose qualifications are at best short of their need. The candidate will have her or his hopes high, expecting the “opportunity of their career”. The recruiter will live with the impression that he’s done a great job for the time he’s been given to find a candidate.
  • The client makes a recruitment order for a new role with the recruiter and picks a standard job description off the internet. The recruiter might look for a purple squirrel candidate that might not exist, or best-case scenario fits the internet’ job description instead of the real needs of the client. The candidate feels she’s a perfect fit and is surprised during the interview when the client brings up all sorts of questions that are beyond the “internet job description!”
  • Candidate interviews with the recruiter and provides basic answers to the vague questions that the recruiter asks. The recruiter is unbelievably happy that the candidate is a “perfect match”. The client interviews the candidate and is dumbfounded when they ask the candidate to elaborate on their experience.

These are just some examples, but in our experience, at SourceMatch there are a few guidelines for recruiters, which will help everyone in the process win. Here’s the early warning system for recruiters:

  1. Get to know your client, their trade, their culture, values, the hiring manager, the team where the new hire will work in, tangible and intangible factors, must haves and nice to have. Set the expectation early on with the client that you expect them to help you understand who they are and who they are trying to hire. The Job Description is at best 50% of all useful information. Once you have all info, ask the client to confirm in writing that there’s nothing left unsaid about their expectations for the new hire (in essence, that you understand well what they need).
  2. Always strive to exceed client’s expectations when it comes to due diligence for the candidate’s qualifications, experience, skills, behavior, performance etc. Ask meaningful and detailed questions of your candidates. Ask for real-life examples. Let the candidate know that it’s the only way they can present themselves in a unique way.
  3. Be transparent and honest about the job when you speak with the candidate. If it’s a parallel move for them, don’t make it sound like it’s something else. Be open and let them know of the advantages and challenges of the role at the same time. If they are at a different point in their career than what you expected, don’t oversell the position. Same can be said with candidates that miss the mark on the client’s expectations.
  4. If a client has unrealistic / hard-to-meet expectations regarding the speed of recruiting or available candidates in the talent pool, you must speak up! You need to act as a consultant to the client. Because you are the expert of your trade, you will have unique perspectives that have been tested and validated throughout tens or hundreds of recruiting engagements.
  5. When you present a candidate to the client (ideally over the phone or in person), make sure to show clearly why they were selected, and to what degree they meet/exceed the expectations that were agreed in the first place. Don’t just present a resume, but also let the client about your thought process. This is a tremendous opportunity to act as a consultant to your client.
  6. Time and information will break you regardless if you are disciplined or not. That’s why you need to have a system – an applicant tracking system – to follow through your process and to keep you on track, remind you about upcoming calls, meetings, deadlines, tasks, etc.
  7. Always follow up with candidate and clients with regular updates, even if they are negative – i.e. a different candidate has been selected following the in-person interview with the client. When you don’t communicate in the recruitment process, stakeholders will assume the worse.

You may start with these 7-steps early warning system and develop your own version, but thinking proactively about everything that can go wrong will prepare you for most of what can go wrong.

 

Photo credit: Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

What are the Worst Interview Mistakes you’ve seen as a Recruiter?

By | Blog, Interview | No Comments

There are a few mistakes that keep creeping back again and again when our team talks with candidates.

Not being prepared. Set aside a time and a place for the discussion with the recruiter, in case of a phone interview. Our recruiters had several interviews that were scheduled in advance, and the candidate was not prepared and put us on hold to step out of the office room. Other candidates were in loud spaces, with a lot of background noise that made it hard both for us and for them to hear us properly. That could usually be a deal breaker when interviewing with the client directly, so we suggest being prepared in advance. By giving your undivided attention to the interviewer, you show respect and interest in the opportunity.

Overconfidence. Employers look for candidates who are confident and who do not second guess themselves because that can be counterproductive. Of course, with some roles, employers need candidates who have that cut throat attitude and a higher degree of confidence to be successful. At the same time if a candidate takes that to the point of dismissing the employer or the recruiter it will be a deal breaker for the recruiting process. One of our most recent encounters with this type of candidates was with a specialist that started off the conversation with our recruiter in the following manner: “Hi. Let’s cut to the chase and tell me what’s the pay. Recruiters don’t know anything about this role so I don’t want you to waste my time.” Needless to say, this candidate did not get a chance to schedule a second discussion with our recruiter.

Lack of professionalism. We expect from our team to have a professional approach to candidates, to supply the relevant information and to make sure the candidate has all the resources to be successful. Anything less is not acceptable for us. That is why, when candidates ask our team members personal details, ask them on a date, ask confidential information about the client or the interviewers that is let’s say the least problematic.

Punctuality. Our internal policy is to confirm interviews via Calendar invites, email (with additional info), phone etc. From time to time we do deal with candidates that simply don’t show up and don’t have an objective reason for that, or candidates who don’t show up but always have an excuse prepared. Another problem we deal with is when candidates don’t send in documents we need or don’t confirm various aspects in a timely manner. This wouldn’t be the case where somebody just has a full week at work and just can’t set time aside for this but candidates who don’t respect the timeline they agreed on.

The last one mentioned but one of the most common mistakes is: applying for and pursuing jobs that are not in their area of expertise. Their resumes look impressive and include every possible key/buzzword and perfect composition! These are candidates full of themselves, and who think they can talk their way through any interview, topic or skill. When you get to talk to them you’ll notice that they are excellent speakers, but terrible when it comes to specific examples and details. Whenever you pursue a specific topic and try to drill down, they’ll come back to a stock/rehearsed answer. We’ve seen this happen most often with contractors, who are under pressure of finding their next gig, which might very well make the difference between continuation of work and a 3–6 months break.

Our recommendation is that you ask questions – starting with “why”, then “why” and finally “why”. As a recruiter, you are not an expert in the area for which the candidates are being interviewed for, so it’s difficult to go very deep into technicalities. However, the general rule of thumb is that candidates that are good at their trade should be able to articulate in simple terms and with examples/analogies what is it that they do, why they are good at it, and the degree of expertise that they have.

Ignoring or not being aware as a recruiter of this intentional or innocent mistake that candidates make will lead to waste of time on all ends and worst-case scenario to hiring someone who just doesn’t fill the need of the role they’ve been hired. Weak links lead to weak outcomes.

 

Photo credit: Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Is it more Important for a Company to hire Based on Skill set fit or Based on Cultural fit?

By | Blog, Recruiting | No Comments

 

Of course, no one feels comfortable having to choose between the two. And yet, we don’t live in a perfect world and candidates bring different things to the interview table.

To even start thinking this topic through, it’s important we understand what a skill set is and what makes up the cultural fit.

Are skill sets important?

A skill set is a particular category of skills or abilities necessary to perform a job. Skill sets are easy to showcase based on previous jobs, numbers, achievements or in other words quantifiable facts. A good recruiter would have no problem to assess these looking at a resume, through interviews or tests.
So why even have any debates when a candidate can fit the job from a skills point of view?
After all, they will require less hand-holding, less training, and a shorter ramp-up period in the new job. They are people that hold a certain level of expertise that can just be plugged into an organization and bring immediate results.

What about culture fit?

It’s very tempting for recruiters who spend merely seconds to pick and choose what candidates will make it forward in the selections process. Candidates have complex personalities and unique combinations of upbringing and experiences.
When searching for new hires, hiring managers and recruiters want to ensure that the person who’ll join the organization will have preferences, personal and work styles that aren’t far from the hiring organization’s culture. Organizational psychology guru Adrian Furnham offers a definition for the cultural fit in his seminal academic textbook, “The Psychology of Behaviour at Work”: “A fit is where there is congruence between the norms and values of the organization and those of the person.”
Asking candidate’s questions such as the following will help you uncover their, likes, dislikes and expectations:

 -> Why do you want to work here?
 -> How would you describe your ideal workplace?
 -> What makes the work environment frustrating to you?
 -> Do you prefer working in a team or alone/as a sole contributor?
 -> Who was your best boss and what made them so great?

It’s critical however you take these questions and customize them to help you compare with your organization’s culture. Some companies are more loose when it comes to time and make results the sole main requirement, some are very eclectic and laid back wanting to foster creativity and outside-the-box thinking, and some that are very formal such as banks and other financial institutions.
If he/she is a fit, then they will feel good working for the company’s goals. The importance of cultural fit will reflect in the employee’s productivity. They will also be interested in the results they bring.

So what now?

You do need people to bring the right skills to the table to fulfill their jobs, and you also want a great alignment between the person’s and the organization’s values. However, as mentioned we don’t live in a perfect work: What if you had to choose between the skill set and culture alignment?
Culture always comes first.

Culture is the glue that holds an organization together, and the cost of poor culture fit can cost that organization between 50% to 60% of the person’s annual salary. So before you start vetting candidates, it’s critical that you define and articulate the organization’s culture (values, goals, practices, etc.). Only then will the recruiting process highlight the best candidates according that fit the culture.
Everything considered, culture fit should never be at the expense of different personalities, backgrounds, and a diverse workforce.

However, you do need to prioritize. First, make sure the values, ethics, morals, principles, etc. are there. Otherwise, you may find yourself hiring someone who has outstanding skills with a poor cultural fit. They will challenge your organization’s existence at every step of the way, either silently, or vocally. Sometimes it’s useful to have a new and constructive perspective on things. But if you have a culture that has proven time and time again to be beneficial for the organization’s development, for its employees and not the least its customers, then you should stick to it. Someone new who will not integrate with the team and organization will only cause unnecessary friction.

Lastly, in order to decrease the probability that you need to be in such a tough situation to choose between skill set and culture, hire continuously. Always be on the lookout for people who are shining in their current roles, who are delivering value to their customers and enjoy being part of something greater than themselves and their jobs.

 

Photo credit: Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

What are the best Practices for job Search?

By | Blog, Career, Job | No Comments

While it’s good to take note of the best practices out there, we recommend you take your own approach, tweak and customize what you find out there.

Why is it important, you ask? Because that’s what’s going to help you filter through the hundreds of job openings. Here are our recommendations:

  1. Don’t apply for all and any jobs, better apply for a select few with fierce attention to quality than to submit your stock resume to hundreds of job applications. When searching for a job, start with the end in mind: “I’m searching for a/this job because….” Why are you looking for a job? What’s your number one motivator? Is it career advancement? Better pay? Exciting new challenges? Now, once you have that pictured, keep it on top of everything else in your mind because that’s your number one driver!
  2. Know what you want. Think about your ideal job, what’s really important to you and what’s negotiable. That will help you navigate what jobs you apply to, how you differentiate companies if you’re willing to take a pay cut to help you switch industries or career, or where you see yourself fulfilled.
  3. If you wonder what a company looks like “on the inside”, check Glassdoor, or just try to connect with people who already work there (mutual connections or via social media). Don’t just apply for a job, apply for a job at a company you would like to work for, that cares for employees and treats them like they’re a key factor in its success.
  4. Write your resume as if it would be for your dream job. Spend time to make your resume concise, and state what’s really critical to the job and company you are applying to, quantify and provide specific details – don’t use words like “some”, “a few” or “more” but rather mention x% increase in productivity/sales, managed Y number of people, and reduced costs by Z% in T months, etc.
  5. Write with the reader in mind. It’s better for your resume to be shorter rather than longer – expect recruiters and managers to have limited time. Thus, it’s really important that your resume can easily be measured by the person who reads it. How do your facts and numbers correlate with what the job description is requiring? Have you used the same keywords? Can you switch some of your vocabularies with the wording that’s been used in the job description?
  6. Use a resume template. There are plenty of templates out there, and also tools to help you out (like MS Word’s new Resume Assistant from Linkedin). Don’t shy away from using a design-oriented/more creative resume as long as it doesn’t hinder readability.
  7. Always be ready to provide references – talk to the people who can be a reference for you – ideally supervisors or clients representatives who can speak to your abilities. Ask them what’s the best way they wish to be contacted for reference check (i.e. via Phone or email first?). Let them know what kind of job(s) you’re applying to and what they can expect as questions, contexts, etc.
  8. Be humble. Strike the right balance between facts that show the level of your abilities and desire to develop or improve other skills. May it be via a letter of interest or during your interview, the natural tendency is to highlight every and all great aspects of yourself. However, making it clear you have personal development goals and aspirations, and long terms goals says a lot about you (i.e. hit-and-run, or vision driven, non-complacent, etc.).
  9. Go prepared for an interview. Read ahead about the company’s reason for existence (vision, mission, what they sell or do) as well as their principles, who their customers are, and especially what attracted your attention about them. Have questions prepared ahead of an interview, questions that relate to the job or to confirm your understanding of the company. You don’t have a second chance to make the first impression, so make it count.
  10. Be confident. When you get at an interview, by that point, you already know why you are there, why you have been called to interview, what drives you and who you are talking to. Don’t use words like “I guess”, “perhaps” or “maybe.” Rather use statements “It’s my understanding that…”, “I know based on … ”, “I recommend” or “I strongly believe”. This will let the interviewer know that you have created your own perceptions, and opinions and that you’re not doubting yourself, or that you’ll change your view based on what you hear. In other words “Own who you are!”

This isn’t a comprehensive list. However, you can see a dotted line between all 10 points about: do your homework, do the research, be disciplined. Until you find a job, you need to be the best at finding one!

And finally: although there are thousands of applicants out there, you are unique based on your upbringing, personality, experiences, values, goals or vision. So act like it when searching, applying or interviewing for a job!

 

Photo credit: Photo by Damian Zaleski on Unsplash