The extra 10%!

The following is not a definitive guide to hiring successfully. A number of the points are ‘gut feel’ perhaps more than anything else but used in combination they can be valuable in ‘reasons to hire’ or ‘reasons not to hire’. Perhaps most importantly the following is an outline of what should not be ignored in or around an interview!

At Keegan Adams we are always trying to prevent our natural bias getting in the way. Similarly we try not to ‘anchor’ our views on previous experiences or the latest piece of news be it loud or more discrete. At the end of the day the key to making good hires largely revolves around fully appreciating the machinations and intricacies around the position, asking enough high quality questions to applicants and then listening…..and then listening some more!

After your receptionist (or similar) has put the interviewee in the interview room make sure you ask the receptionist about their opinion of the person who they just met. This may sound trivial but it is not. If the interviewee treats your receptionist averagely / badly it is a fair indicator of how they will interact in an office situation. Similarly the opposite experience should give the applicant a big tick!

If a candidate is late for an interview, do they make a valid excuse, or because you end up liking them do you ignore it? Both of these are VERY common mistakes made by the majority of hirers! The answer is simple and CANNOT be ignored; If a candidate turns up late to an interview the candidate should not be hired. In 99% of cases the excuse is exactly that and excuses should not be hired. Sounds drastic but it is essential you don’t ignore this. The ONLY situation where lateness can be tolerated, if not actually encouraged, is where the applicant calls you 10 – 15 minutes before the interview apologising for perhaps running 5 minutes late. This should actually give the applicant a big tick especially if they end up arriving on time despite being a bit sweaty!

Telephone interview a candidate before the face to face interview. Clearly different roles have more or less client contact over the phone or face to face. Where a role is heavily phone based carry out a telephone interview first. Similarly if a role is very technical set the candidates a project to do to demonstrate their knowledge / ability. Do this early in the process not at the end. You want to count people in not weed them out…..yet!

Although it is hard try not to hire a ‘clone’ of what worked last time, diversity brings strength to a team. Dis functional teams often have too many people looking and sounding the same within them! A cohesive culture is essential and diversity can be the glue.

Make sure you or somebody else carries out proper references. These should be ROLE specific even if the applicant has not been in a similar role before. Similarly the questions asked should be normative rather than positive or leading.

If you find yourself getting on rather well / liking a candidate REALISE this and STOP. The huge issue around ‘enjoying’ an interview is that whilst the conversation flows better one actually stops asking the hard and insightful questions. You start sharing sporting stories, you start talking about kids etc……but whilst it feels good and you start liking the applicant you are not doing what you are there to do which is to find out if this person is right for the role at hand. Perhaps more importantly you start to IGNORE negatives when you start liking a candidate! You won’t be liking them in their second week if they can’t do the job!
Genuinely try to find out firstly why are they out of work / looking for a change of employer, and secondly why are they applying for this role and company. 95% of the time we don’t spend enough time on PROBING these 2 VERY simple questions. Probe and then probe some more and DON’T accept SOFT wishy washy answers here! Also, do ask potential employees what other roles they are currently applying for in order to test how focussed their job search really is and hence their levels of commitment.
If you want someone to rise up and grow, develop, get promoted and more THEN hire someone who has demonstrated this in their past. If they haven’t previously achieved they are unlikely to start now! Similarly if you want stability don’t hire a rock star!

Treat internal / external referrals / all applications as EQUALS. Easier said than done! Using an external recruiter should bring greater impartiality to the process and makes it significantly easier for the ‘Director’ to explain to his sister why little Nephew Tommy did not get the role.

Don’t rush the recruitment process. This said don’t let the process drag on either. Momentum and structure are important in a recruitment process but at the end of the day you want the right person. Using an external specialist recruiter can certainly help in this regard. Using a ‘high street’ recruiter may leave you requiring Panadol, Scotch or possibly both together!