Imagine ... today is your first day at work as a Recruiter and one of your first priorities is to hire three new employees in different departments. How would you go about it? What strategy would you choose to make sure that you find the right candidate for each job? In this blog post I would like to share my personal 5 secrets which helped me to succeed as a Recruiter.
#1 Ask yourself the 4 crucial questions
Turning up on time for an interview, being well-mannered, well presented and best prepared is nothing special anymore, it will simply be expected from a good job candidate. One has therefore to offer more than that. In my hiring process I always focused on the following four questions:
I learnt that a person can be able to do the job but might lack of motivation and not perform his tasks to its full potential. A candidate might be highly motivated but might not have the skills or the required knowledge in order to do the job properly. A person might feel so senior and experienced that it might become difficult for him to follow another supervisor’s instructions and therefore be less manageable. And last but not least, a professional might be able to do the job, be motivated and manageable but might not fit in the company for various reasons. The best hires I made in the past were always those that answered my 4 questions with a YES.
#2 Meet at different places, more than once
Every time I presented a good candidate to a client I wanted to make sure that I met the person more than once and that possibly at different places. The benefit from this experience was that it allowed me to meet the person one or two more times in a different environment, which helped me to get to know the person in a different way. I must say that often it was a quite revealing, eye-opening experience which I can only recommend. I used to take out candidates for lunch, for a coffee at a cafe or for a walk in a nearby park. Sometimes I came across candidates who made a great first impression at the first interview in our corporate office but who were not consistent at the following series of interviews. They did not look, act and present themselves the same way as they did the first time. Some candidates had the tendency to act less professional, to dress down, to be rude to waiting staff, to talk about their personal problems or to take phone calls while the interview was going on. These were the reasons why sometimes I did not put certain candidates forward to any other interviews. I learnt that if I would have conducted the interview just in an office environment I would have never found out about certain personality traits of my candidates.
#3 Involve others when deciding
When I was working as a corporate recruiter and had to fill some internal vacancies it always proved to be an effective method to conduct panel interviews as a second or third interview. Listening to other colleagues’ opinions helped me to look at a candidate in different ways. They sometimes made me aware of things I was not aware of. Furthermore, allowing a candidate to meet his future team members and giving them an opportunity to interact with each other will give everyone the chance to find out whether the chemistry between them is good or bad.
Pret-a-manger, for example, the high-street sandwich and coffee business, has a very effective way in finding the right team members. The candidate will be invited to an “Experience Day” which allows both parties (the jobseeker and the company) to check each other out. At the end of this one-day event the whole team has a say in whether a candidate will be offered a job and taken aboard or not. A company can benefit from such a strategy in two ways by finding out: 1) How good does a candidate perform? How does he cope in different situations? How motivated is he? and 2) Is the person a team player? How well does he get along with other work colleagues? I find this method particularly effective because job interviews of one, two hours conducted in an office will never give you the same insight about a person’s abilities and motivation. Thus, seeing a person in action for a whole day and getting feedback from so many other people working in the same company can really help you to take the right hiring decision.
#4 Don’t forget the “PASSION” Factor
I remember an episode where I had to hire a Chef de rang for a 4-star-hotel in Italy and there were two equally good qualified candidates. It was not an easy decision because they had very similar educational backgrounds, the same qualifications and almost the same number of years of work experiences. What made me decide for Candidate 2 over candidate 1 was “The PASSION Factor”. He had a special spark in his eyes that did not need any further explanations to describe his excitement for that job. I would always choose the more passionate person if all the other requirements are equal. I am a strong believer that someone who is passionate does not need to be motivated and is a self starter and that can give a person a very powerful edge.
#5 What about the Jobseeker’s questions?
I always judged a candidate not just by how well he answered the interview questions but also by the number and quality of questions asked by him. Answering questions well during an interview is a crucial part of the hiring process but listening to the jobseeker’s questions can also tell you a lot about the person. I used to assess my candidates by asking myself: Did the person have any questions at all? If so, how many questions? How much research did a candidate make to come up with really smart questions?
Nowadays there are many resources available about recruitment from which one can learn, but I do believe that often you need to make your own personal experiences in order to find out what method works best for you.