Recruitment Catch 22

  • Post published:05/04/2010
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Have you ever hired people that you should not have hired? Welcome to the club. You are not the first and you will not be the last. Believe me. But here is the catch, the Recruitment Catch 22. Ever thought about the times where you did not hire the people that you should have hired. Read that sentence again. Same same but different.

      We always talk about the impact a wrong hire has on the organisation, and what went wrong in the assessment when you end up with a dead beat that you shouldn’t have employed in the first place. But is it not equally a miss in the assessment when you let go of great candidates that would have made the difference in your business?

      The mistake comes down to one thing, i.e. when you score presentation over performance. We are only human beings and when we meet a 4-A candidate we are all in trouble. Unless you are aware of the 4-A phenomenon and trained not to be influenced by it. The 4-A candidate is Articulate, Assertive, Attractive, Affable… and when s/he comes with a decent resume you can’t believe your luck. Perhaps you are months into a search for that key position. The talent you have been waiting for is finally in front of you. Now this is what happens to all of us. Instead of being even tougher in your questioning, instead of probing into every corner of the candidates achievements, you use the rest of the interview to ask the right questions that will build your case of recommending the individual for the job. This is wrong.

      To avoid being framed by the well thought-out dance of the articulate, assertive, attractive, and affable candidate here is what you need to do. Asking the right questions requires knowing first what you are looking for. That starts with asking the line manager about key competencies required. Competencies are defined as the total of skills, knowledge, experience, attributes, and behaviours that an individual needs to perform a job effectively. Ask the hiring manager what the top three challenges are in the position? What does the person need to deliver to be successful? Why will a person in a good job, working somewhere else right now, want this job?

       There are many different types of interviewing techniques. If you want to do like the pro’s in recruitment, try to Google behaviour-based interviewing technique. In short, this technique is based on the theory that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. You heard about leopards that don’t change their spots? OK, you got it.

       When you meet candidates make sure your receptionist is informed and greets the person like an old friend. Make sure your maid smiles when she brings water to the meeting room. Make sure those old cardboard boxes with brochures are removed from your office lobby area. It’s all about making a good impression. Without sounding too dramatic, great candidates will notice all of the above (plus a lot more) and without telling you make a decision if they will join your organisation. Or not.

       Please tell the candidate what structure you plan for the interview. A good structure to follow is to start by a 5-10 minute introduction to your company. Then move on to the main part of the meeting, interviewing the candidate. Third part: introduce the job, the challenges, your expectations etc. If you already have a good feeling that this could be the person you want to hire, remember interviewing is also selling. Make sure you the person leaves excited and ready to join. Your last point of the meeting (now likely at the end of 2 hours), explain what happens next. What is the timeline for your recruitment process, when will you call the candidate about the next step. Good luck with your next interview.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.