5 cardinal sins of recruitment…and how to avoid them

As the economy starts to improve and more organisations are hiring, the quest to hire and retain the most talented employees begins afresh. But the world is changing, and employees’ expectations are changing, faster than ever before.

So here are some top tips to ensure that your recruitment process is in the best possible shape to attract and keep top talent.

1. Hire for motivation, not just for skill – many recruitment approaches still focus almost exclusively on candidates’ skills and experience, when the evidence is now pointing towards the importance of candidates being energised and motivated by a role, as much as by their credentials, qualifications and past experience. Try and get to the ‘real person’ in interview: ask what energises them about work, and what excites them about the role and the culture of your organisation; ask what kind of culture they will thrive in, to get a sense of ‘cultural fit’ with your organisation

2. Give candidates the why, not just the what – most job candidates today are keen to find roles that provide work that is meaningful to them, and aligned to their interests, values and strengths. So be prepared to explain why your organisation does what it does – what is your core purpose, the raison d’etre of your organisation, what gets employees out of bed in the morning? Being open about this during recruitment will help you find those candidates who are more likely to connect with the organisation and stay in the long term, because they believe in what the organisation stands for.

3. Don’t spin it, tell the truth – some recruiters still ‘oversell’ roles and organisations, when experience shows us that being honest about what a role involves, and what the organisation can offer, is more likely to lead to a smooth onboarding process for candidates, and the development of loyalty and commitment over the longer term as candidates feel they can trust what the organisation tells them, right from the outset.

4. Dig deeper than competencies – many recruiters today rely on competency-based interviews to identify best fit candidates. However, we are now seeing an increasing proportion of candidates who are highly skilled in the competency-based interview, arriving with a wealth of handy competency-linked work examples to improve their performance at interview. Our view is that it is crucial to identify genuine energy and strengths candidates have for a role, that way you can ensure that they will turn up to work enthusiastic every day, rather than seeing the job as a grind. Using a strengths-based assessment approach will help with this.

5. Don’t throw it away! – most organisations still operate relatively separate recruitment and onboarding processes. In reality, this means that really useful candidate information, which could be very helpful to managers and new employees in their early conversations during onboarding, is not retained following the decision to appoint, or is not made available to managers of new hires. In organisations where these processes are joined up, the candidate experience is reported as much improved, and managers are given a real advantage in motivating their new starters from day one.

Paul Brewerton, Joint Founder and Managing Director, Strengths Partnership

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