Following the news that Exponential Training has been awarded two new Erasmus+ projects (Fit4Business Growth and Project IPEC) and knowing that additional resources would be required to deliver the projects, the Exponential Team set about preparing our recruitment plan.
Top 10 Tips for Successful Recruitment
Here is our approach and some of our top tips for successful recruitment:
Top Tip 1: Take it Seriously
Getting the right person means taking the whole recruitment and selection process seriously. If we were about to invest a huge amount of time, money and energy in the purchase of for example some plant and equipment, some new software or an IT system, we would put in place a robust procurement process starting with a systems or equipment specification based on our current and future needs.
We do the same when recruiting. I know that one bad recruitment decision costs much more than you think – lost time; lost revenues; increased waste; longer training times; dissatisfied customers; disgruntled team members and so on. Therefore getting it wrong is not really an option.
Top Tip 2: Involve your Team
Introducing new people to a business is always tricky. I always involve my team after all they are the ones that will be training and working with the new recruit. They might just save you from making a costly mistake by pointing out something simple.
Top Tip 3: Back to the Basics
As a team we went back to basics and asked some fundamental questions such as:
- Do we need to even fill the position?
- What are our future business and operational plans?
- What skills and capacity do we really need?
- Is there an opportunity of making change to existing job roles and responsibilities?
Only then did we agree, we need a new team member.
Top Tip 4: Prepare a Job Description & Specification
Having decided, we do need to recruit someone, we took then took the time to really nail down what tasks and activities our new team member will undertake. We discussed and defined the skills and knowledge levels they must have; and we considered what aptitude and attitude they need to have that will match with our organisational culture. Using a simply, old fashioned job description and specification we captured it.
Top Tip 5: Attracting the Right Applicants
Attracting the right applicants is more important than attracting the quantity. An hour of research resulted in deciding to use a local recruitment specialist agency, Flex+. Using an external agency makes sense – we are experts in training and development and they are experts in recruitment. Finding the right channels to market the vacancy means finding the right recruitment partner.
The next day our advert went live on multiple job boards and the applications flooded in. Using the Flex+ online application system, we were able to conduct an initial screening and draw up an initial shortlist for telephone interviews.
Top Tip 6: Knowing What to Ask
Using a simple telephone interview checklist, the shortlist was refined to a very short list to invite to a face-to-face interview. We always use the simple WASP interview model (Welcome, Acquire, Supply and Part) to structure job interviews.
Part of the preparation involves crafting excellent questions. Questions must be fair and give every job applicant the best opportunity of explaining why they are the best person for the job. Great questions open up the discussions with applicants, provide the right level of challenge as well as testing and checking the validity of answers, but they do take time to prepare.
Top Tip 7: Score & Meet the Team
I always ask applicants to complete a short application questionnaire – this checks out their composure and ability to complete the questionnaire with a little pressure on them. I always build in time for them to meet their potential colleagues – this means I can also get my team’s feedback on their impressions.
After the interview, it is time to use the applicant scoring matrix which sits alongside the job specification. Sometimes I might build in a presentation or a competency test depending upon the job role, but for me the person is more important than the technical skills and knowledge: people can be trained and developed, but changing their personality is harder!
Top Tip 8: Sleep on it!
I never make BIG decisions that are difficult to reverse without sleeping on it first. Something happens when you sleep that helps decision-making and therefore I make my final decision the next day.
Top Tip 9: Follow the Procedure
Whatever your procedures, make sure you follow them. Follow up on references, make the appropriate checks (e.g. if a work permit is required check it) and work towards an agreed starting date. Never rush the ‘contracting’ process and make sure ‘I’s are dotted and ‘T’s are crossed.
Top Tip 10: Induction & Training
Induction and training is essential in order to accelerate your new team member from a resource ‘drain’ into a productive, happy and satisfied team member – but that is for another blog!
In case you are wondering, interviews for the Project and Events Coordinator are scheduled. The process has resulted in ten very strong short listed applicants – hopefully I can let you know next month who we appointed!