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.