Recruitment is a challenging HR function. It is very subjective, making it even more challenging to execute when compared to objective jobs like software engineering. A developer writes code that executes exactly as it is written no matter how many times one runs the software. One plus one will always be equal to two. Recruitment, on the other hand, is complex and requires a higher degree of lateral thinking and decision-making to factor in different parameters and events that may or may not keep changing in the process of finalizing candidates. With such complexities that an HR recruitment professional might have to face on a day-to-day basis, it may be a good idea to look back on the wisdom of the experts that dealt with recruitment before us – the giants on whose shoulders we stand.
In this blog, we try to re-establish the solid recruitment hacks that have stood the test of time, ones that have churned out successful results consistently in the past.
Candidate alignment: Unwritten company values and culture exist and are probably more powerful than the written ones. The best time to align candidate experience and expectations with these values and culture is right at the beginning – in the interview process. This gives the candidates a clear view of the type of environment they would be stepping into if selected for the role, clearing any misunderstanding or confusion that they might have had before showing up for the interview. More often than not, candidates will have multiple offers in hand that offer similar compensation plans. In such cases, the primary deciding factor then becomes how they felt about a company and its culture.
Sell your strengths: Every company has its own set of strengths – a rare edge that might set them apart from their competitors. Do you have a culturally diverse team? Sell it. Do you have equity options? Sell it. Do you offer massive sign-on bonuses? Sell it. You have to let candidates know all your strengths during the interviewing process itself. This removes doubt and thoughts of considerations to join your competitors from their minds. Also, on the contrary, just letting the candidates know what you offer is not enough. You have to back your talk with concrete data to win their hearts. For example, if you offer guarded transport to female employees who leave office after 8 pm, you could show data on how it improved individual performance and reduced stress in X% of female employees over a period of X months.
Transparency, transparency, transparency: Every organization has its own list of pros and cons. Being transparent with the candidates about both the pros and the cons is important because it paints an accurate picture of the organization. Not only that but, you will be perceived as an honest recruiter. One of the biggest doubts candidates will have about any organization is about the employer hiding something – caveats that might put them at a severe disadvantage. Being upfront about it will make them instantly loyal to you and your missions in the organization. For example, “Our star player is leaving the team because he/she got a better opportunity elsewhere, and you will be replacing him/her”.
Small talk works: Interviews tend to make people nervous, no matter how extroverted they might be. Recruiters might not always know what situations candidates are in or how desperately they may need a job. Sometimes, perfectly capable and experienced candidates might score poorly in an interview because they felt threatened or dominated which further made them nervous and prevented them from speaking their minds. This is why small talk is important. It breaks the ice and works like a charm, preventing top talent from mentally slipping away from your organization.
Identify long-term benefits: Recruiters often make this common mistake of having a short sight. Recruiters are usually in a hurry, trying to fill positions that need immediate attention. Recruiting in a hurry is not always bad, but there is one major drawback with this strategy. Hiring managers don’t get to spend enough time with potential candidates or their team to plan for growth. This can lead to several problems. For example, X, Y, and Z are three closely related tasks where your company is urgently looking for people who can do X. Candidate A has 2 years of experience doing X and zero years of experience doing Y and Z, while candidate B has one year of experience in each task. On the surface, you look at candidate A with more experience and hire him/her. However, after six months you realize you need people to do tasks Y and Z. Now, not only is there a deeper learning curve for the hired candidates to learn all 3 tasks, but your organization wastes more time and money on hiring more resources or training existing ones.
Preparations: Candidates prepare for their interviews. Similarly, it is always good for a recruiter to prepare for an interview. Hiring managers will often have no idea of what is going on and will look at the resume of a candidate for the very first time when that candidate is sitting three feet away from them in the interview room. This increases the probability of recruiters missing out on subtle accomplishments of candidates that can be very important for the role you’re trying to fill. For example, you’re trying to fill in a supply chain position that requires strong negotiation skills and the candidate you are interviewing has mentioned in their resume, somewhere at the end, that they won a state-level debate competition in the 11th and 12th grade, but you didn’t quite catch it. You will have had missed an excellent negotiator just because you didn’t prepare for 5 minutes before the interview.
Feed your candidates with feedback: People love to hear back, no matter the situation. Although it is an unwritten rule in the job market that if you didn’t hear back, they picked someone else, it is always satisfying to hear a concrete yes or no shortly after an interview. Closure has a positive effect on our mind, while on the contrary, if there is no communication from the other side, it leads to confusion, dissent, and overall negative experience.
Say my name: Call people by their name and make a genuine effort of pronouncing it correctly, especially if the name sounds ethnic. You would be surprised how delighted people feel when someone calls/spells out their name correctly, especially if it is difficult to pronounce/write. If the first name is not shortened, ask them politely if you can call them by the short form. For example, Ben is short for Benjamin. If their friends and family call them by that name, you will, subconsciously, appear to be friendly and likable.
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Sources: google.com | en.wikipedia.org | reddit.com | forbes.com
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