Getting the Recruitment Process Right

As an External Recruitment Consultant I see companies implement a wide range of different recruitment processes to try and find the right people for their company, from companies with a single, face-to-face interview to those with multiple interviews with various senior members of staff and endless tests.

Any recruiter will always instil the virtues of urgency, we left recession a long time ago and are entering a skills shortage, with engineers in high demand. In order to make sure you do get the most capable candidates then it makes sense to move quickly, faced with this realisation a quick single stage interview makes sense.

The truth is not everyone can tell after an hour sitting opposite a potential new employee that they are the right fit. Technical and psychometric tests, no matter how despised by some people, do have their place and can reveal critical information about a candidate that could be missed in an interview.  But it is all too easy to take this too far, I know some companies who require all applicants to fill in application forms alongside their CV’s and complete online tests before having any direct contact with the company and when looking for skilled professionals this hurts the process massively.

I see great engineers walk away from the process before it’s even begun, initial testing and application forms may mean that when you do interview the candidate you know a great deal about their ability and that you only see people who meet your essential requirements, but you will never see those who exceed them.

The best engineers are not speaking to one company at a time; it’s not unusual for them to have interviews with 5-6 potential employers lined up at one time. If you approach such an engineer and ask them to fill out an application form before speaking to anyone at the company without creating any emotional connection to the opportunity, most of them will walk away and focus on the companies who have shown clear interest in them.

It’s not hard to see why recruitment can be such a minefield for employers, take on the wrong person and the effect on the business can be costly, but missing out on great people can hold the business back too. The real key is in finding the right balance between speed and precision.

Follow these tips to find a process that really works:

  • Applications:   
  • Testing:  
    • Ask yourself if you really need them, excessive testing is a waste of everybody’s time. Ask only what you really need to know, NEVER send out tests prior to a 1st stage interview, even if it’s just a 15 minute chat with someone in HR, It lets the best candidates learn more about the role and the company and start to make an emotional investment. You need to make them really want to work for you.
  • Interviews:  
    • The fewer the better, if they need to meet 3-4 different people before an offer can be made then get them all to attend 1 interview, bringing candidates back time and time again slows everything down and risks missing out on great people. Hiring managers are busy people but recruitment should always be a priority, people are the lifeblood of any company.
  • Urgency:  
    • It’s becoming something of a cliché but it is essential to finding the right person. From application to final interview should take less than 2 weeks, that’s how quickly the best candidates get snapped up. Make sure to review CV’s within 24 hours of receipt and get a first interview set up as soon as possible.