Which recruitment mindset do you use?

The recruitment process is no easy task, not only because of the demanding process but also because of the insight required when one decides to enter such a process.

As an HR Advisor, I have the opportunity to meet hiring managers with different recruitment mindsets. Below I present them, so that one can be more aware of their own mindset, and therefore be able to understand and if necessary adjust it in order to be more successful with his / her hires.

As a summary of my experience, I break down these recruitment mindsets in three categories:

The “fit to profile” mindset: These hiring managers represent the majority and look for a person who has the profile that will fit a current vacant position. These managers usually are very specific to what they are looking for and have a list of qualifications – i.e. must be an extrovert, must have a perfect accent, must be familiar with PowerPoint. The positive side of this mindset is that if this is a here-and-now need that must be satisfied quickly and accurately, this is a good mindset to have. However, it is a short-term one, as the hiring manager does not go through a long term analysis of what type of talent will fit with the long term plans of the company. This mindset is usually present in companies that are in a reactive phase, where they are either growing too fast and have not had the chance to be proactive in their strategy, companies that are in a chaotic state (after a culture change or restructuring where they are still trying to figure out how to go about dealing with the culture shock and finding stability), or simply companies that lack strategy and a long term vision.

The “decide as we go along” mindset: This category includes hiring managers who think they know what they are looking for, come with a set of qualifications they desire, but change their mind as they meet different candidates. The whole recruitment process often is very confusing and time consuming for them as they discover that they are not clear as to what they actually want in the end. The positive side to this is that they keep their mind open to the different options they have in available talent and the different added value each candidate will bring to the company. On the other hand, this mindset can cause them to be indecisive and lose valuable time and opportunities, not to mention that in the end, due to lack of analysis of the actual needs, they might end up hiring the wrong candidate.

The “fit to talent” mindset: This is the opposite to the “fit to profile” mindset where hiring managers actually keep an open mind on the available talent, see long term, and seek people who are flexible enough and have the right attitude which will enable them to fit in the company’s long term succession plan.  It is the best of both worlds where they have specific requirements in terms of basic and transferrable qualifications, but at the same time know what to look for in candidates in terms of potential so that they will be able to respond to the future needs of the company. However, it is important to look at the current needs of a company, not only the future ones because this again might cause them to hire for the future, but fail at filling a current gap in capabilities.

Of course, I appreciate that not all hiring managers are trained or knowledgeable on recruitment strategies and this is where recruitment consultants need to provide their professional advice. It is shocking to me sometimes that despite the fact that employers outsource their recruitment with credible companies, they still forget to utilize the available expertise to the fullest and be open to advice. The aim it to be partners with companies that wish to employ talent and the companies that utilise credible consultants the most, are the ones that end up with long-term hires.


Relationship based or transaction based recruitment?

The fast paced business environment forces us to proceed quickly and efficiently to achieve results. Sometimes however, although we act quickly we do not act effectively and as a result we end up losing precious time redoing or correcting things. But isn’t it better to do things efficiently and effectively the first time round? Especially when it comes to recruitment…

There is a trend from some clients who request our services, to require us to simply send CVs from our database for a given vacant position. They do not wish to “go through the trouble” of having a first meeting with us in order to discuss their requirements, understand their culture and values so that in turn we can recommend the right candidates. This mass recruitment method they are looking for is the old-fashioned “recruitment agency” method, not the “recruitment advisor” method. Otherwise known as transaction-based, not relationship-based recruitment. However, the aim of the recruitment advisor is to understand the client in depth, work hand-in-hand with him, and offer valuable advice during the process as a recruitment expert.

From the candidates’ side, the “recruitment agencies” simply acquire their CVs, call them up to ask their salary requirements, and if it fits with the salary budget then they forward their CV to the client with their consent (hopefully), without ever meeting them, understanding their personality, talents, mind-set, goals and aspirations and ultimately if they will be a good match.

Some clients insist by saying that it is for a non-permanent or seasonal position, therefore speed is more important than quality. Is this true though? There are numerous hidden costs incurred as a result of a poor hire such as opportunity costs (the cost of not having a better performing person working instead), team work issues and demotivated members (as the stronger team members will be forced to cover the mistakes or wrong handling of the poor hire, which in turn will cause frustration within the team), inefficiencies (as a poor hire might cause problems in the work flow), poor corporate image and loss of clients or client dissatisfaction (especially when it comes to front-line poor hires), and the obvious cost of having to go through the recruitment process again, as well as retrain another hire.

My question is, why not make a full use of the experts and involve them in your process instead of getting CVs from them? Involving the right advisors in your process will not end up in loss of time, but instead will help you proceed with the process methodically and accurately – starting from having the right systems in place to proceed immediately and speedily, doing a good qualification analysis of the possible candidates in their database, preparing a solid interview guide, acquiring the candidates’ salary and working conditions expectations, and finally evaluating each candidate against key selection criteria carefully and strictly based on merit.  As a result, provide you with a short-list of candidates that are a good option for you to choose between.

Of course this relationship-based recruitment can only develop if there is trust. Therefore, it is always good practice to pre-select your possible recruitment advisor though references, studying their methodologies carefully and asking a lot of questions once their proposal and terms and conditions are provided to you. Make sure they are approved recruiters by the government, are ethical and confidential, and their process is fair (they do not discriminate based on gender, age, ethnicity, etc.), and that they respect the personal data of candidates.

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