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 are 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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.