How do you narrow down a long list of potential matches to find the ideal person? As Valentine’s Day approaches, we can’t help but see the similarities between finding a romantic relationship and finding the right person for a successful company-employee relationship. In working with companies of all sizes across the UK in recruiting and putting in place proper policy and legal provisions for new hires, we’ve found there are tested ways to narrow the pool and rectify the situation if Cupid’s arrow misfires.
Writing your profile
When you’re online dating, you want to create a profile that both sells yourself and defines the criteria that you’re looking for in a potential match. Similarly, companies should make sure their job listing clearly communicates why they are a great company to work for and why the job is important and interesting. In addition to a description of the role and required skills in the job listing, the HR team should work with internal stakeholders (e.g., line manager) to create a matrix of requirements and the weighting each will receive (tied to company and business unit objectives). This not only helps the HR team narrow the list of candidates, but helps diminish the chance of unconscious racial, gender or other biases from the decision process.
Using your person specification matrix and highlighting the deal breakers, you can quickly weed out non-contenders from the pile of CVs. Most job openings receive hundreds if not thousands of applicants. Turning your job description and requirements into a short questionnaire to be conducted by phone allows this job to be delegated to a less experienced HR staff member.
The first date
If you’ve done your job at the pre-screening stage, you should only be left with five potential suitors by the in-person interview stage. Ensure your questions (and any associated skills tests) are a fit for the role you’re interviewing for rather than a generic list of queries. Also, for fairness to all candidates, it is useful to meet with your interview panel in advance to discuss how you will ensure a consistent, objective approach.
When selecting your ideal match, don't let your heart rule your head. Don't stray too far from your checklist and allow emotion, such as sympathy or 'gut feeling', skew your judgement. If you’re looking for a person who ‘can get along with’ the manager, make sure the manager explains what that would look like exactly rather than just relying on who they ‘click’ with. For example, if the manager says a flexible, open-minded attitude is important to them, then figure out in advance what that might look like in the interview.
The standard for a second date is always higher. You’ve gotten your backgrounds, introductions and 20 questions out of the way; now you’re ready to see if this is a person for the longer term.
In recruiting, we recommend a second interview with a task, such as a presentation or short recommendation report, to show strategic thinking and demonstrate specific abilities. This would also be a good stage to do some cyber stalking to find any reputational red flags (and a thorough background and reference check).
The 'honeymoon' period
Once you’ve chosen ‘the one’, it’s important to have an ‘out’ if it turns out the relationship isn’t a good fit. We recommend a three to six month probationary period with conversations and performance reviews with the line manager and HR scheduled along the way to ensure expectations are clear and both poor and positive performance are recognised.
Need more help with recruitment?
Our team of HR consultants are on-hand to offer advice guidance and support along every step of the recruitment journey, from managing the entire process, to interviewing, inducting or training. We also offer resources and tools, such as forms, contracts and policies for the interviewing, on-boarding and performance review process. For an informal discussion on how we can help you achieve the outcome you need, get in touch with our team of experts at 0808 168 5874.