Never make a recruitment error

I used to believe that recruiting people was a bit of a lottery. “You can only expect to get it right 50% of the time” was my belief. So you can imagine how much rigour I put into the recruitment process…and what my outcomes were as a result! I proved myself right.

There is a more helpful way to think which has dramatically improved the success rate for my clients. I’m now confident that it is is more than 90% probable to recruit the right person through careful planning of the process.

First of all, stop prioritising skills in your selection – go for testing attitude. It’s not really about whether the candidate can do the job, but whether they will. Those with the right attitude can be taught skills. In fact, they’ll probably learn most of what they need themselves!

It is harder to test attitude, that’s why most recruiters give up trying. Just this week, for example, I was discussing with a client how they could test their candidates for “positive thinking”. We thought that setting the candidates an almost impossible task was likely to give insight into their positivity, simply from their response.

I recently helped a client recruit a CFO – a high level job that was critical to get right. We carefully designed a carousel of interviews and tests over a two day period, in order to test all the desired attitudes and skills we needed. This included asking the candidates to write a finance report for the board meeting using the data supplied and then present it to us the following day in written and verbal form. You just can’t fake that and it was quickly obvious who was up to it and who wasn’t.

So, the key is to decide what attributes and attitudes your candidate should have and work out a way to test whether they can deliver. Interview questions may be one way, but a series of tests is more likely to give you the certainty you need.

I now put an appropriate amount of rigour into each recruitee, even quite junior personnel. The cost of investing time and effort into getting it right far outweighs the cost of getting it wrong.

Can they write a marketing plan? Ask them to do so as part of the interview and you’ll find out.

About paulhopwood

Teaching, guiding and mentoring professional service firms and successful business owners, providing them with time to think. Love family, reading and walking. Brighton UK
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Never make a recruitment error

  1. “Can they write a marketing plan? Ask them to do so as part of the interview and you’ll find out.”
    Wise words. I also often think that seeing how people drive a car is a good indicator of the way they work.

    • paulhopwood says:

      That’s the first time I’ve heard that idea from someone else! I’ve been suggesting for years that clients let candidates take them out for a drive. I think it would tell them heaps about their attitude and personality

  2. Martin says:

    I have recently revamped an interview process for a public service department in order to test for mindset. Not only was the interview 30% shorter on average than the competency based model in use, they got the right people and their retainment rate increased significantly.

    • paulhopwood says:

      Sounds good Martin. I find that there is a degree of learned helplessness with recruitment – people give up trying to get it right before they start. I’m definitely an advocate of changing a system until it delivers great results. Thanks for your comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s