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July 27, 2010 / Mervyn Dinnen

Clarity, Communication, Closure – 3 Keys to getting Recruitment Right

(This post was originally written for HR Zone and published as part of their series on recruitment)

Recruiting, hiring, talent attraction, talent acquisition…whatever words you use you can’t escape the fact that sourcing and hiring new people for your business is far harder to get right than it is wrong, with new research showing that a negative experience can damage your bottom line.

Its long been said that you can tell a lot about a company by the way it goes about recruiting its people, and never was this truer than now, with technology and social media helping to create immediate and transparent contact between jobseekers and a hiring company, whether sourced directly or through a third party recruiter.

The process of hiring now brings your business into contact with a range of people…successful applicants, unsuccessful candidates, third parties, RPOs to name a few. And the rules of candidate attraction mean that your business will be visible through website, digital advertising, Facebook page, Linked In profile and very possibly a Twitter feed.

Getting the right person is now not the only key outcome… using the right approach is vital as those who are involved in that process now have channels through which they can vent their frustrations.

The best recruitment processes should contain the 3 Cs – Clarity, Communication and Closure – and should always manage expectations. Key questions to ask yourself are:

Why do you need to hire?

Every recruitment process starts with a need to hire, and whether you are looking for one person or a number of people it pays to know exactly why you are hiring, what role(s) you are trying to fill. Hiring managers need to put time into into scoping out exactly why they need someone, what they need that someone to do, and what deliverables will be expected…and the key question:

Do we already have someone here who can do this role, or do our people know someone who can do this role?

Many jobseekers talk of their frustrations at finding roles for which they have been interviewing eventually filled by internal transfer or promotion, or recommendation. There is nothing wrong with this, but it pays to be transparent from the start. Very often the approach is to see who is available and then compare with what you have internally, whereas the most successful pieces of hiring will often start with looking at the people in whom you have already invested time and training.

Assuming you don’t have an internal resource then a clearly defined role profile is essential before you go to market. It’s not enough to assume that the position is the same as it was three years ago, or send out the message ‘we just need a good person who can do x and y’; you need to know exactly what the new person has to achieve, what their key internal relationships are, and what scope there is for personal and professional development within the role.

In other words…clarity.

How will you find them?

As a 3rd party recruiter it won’t surprise you to find out that I still think that we are the best route! There are plenty of values based, knowledgeable recruiters out there who have a sound grasp of their markets and have built a community of some of the best talent within them. The way to approach this is not to brief a number of suppliers, with a low fee attached, and assume that this competition will deliver quality candidates. It won’t! The best recruiters rarely enter into these kinds of CV chases and you are more than likely to end up with a number of poorly matched, inadequately briefed candidates.

You should work with one or two recruiters who you have not only met, but also have taken a reference on from previous clients as to how successful they have been and how they work. It’s always useful to also go to their offices, find out a little about how they project themselves, how they are targeted, and how they deal with people who apply for roles.

Remember that the experience that your chosen recruiter gives to candidates who apply for a role with your company will reflect on you and not always the recruiter.

Should you go to market directly then a clear message will always be the key. From a well written ad, to the way that you contact all candidates, and the information that you pass on at every stage of the interview process…all of this says something about your business. Transparency is vital – everyone needs to know where they stand in the process, what is the next stage, are they moving forward (if not, why not) and when will they know more?

Clear and transparent Communication

How will you bring them in?

You’ve found the person that you want and they want to join you…what next? Well, from my experience of 20 years as a recruiter I would say that the majority of problems that lead to unsuccessful hires can be traced back to either before the candidate joins, or to their initial three months. It is important that once you have an offer and acceptance that everything runs smoothly. No waiting for contracts or other detail, regular communication between hiring manager and new hire and some clear information regarding onboarding and induction.

Many companies will leave this to HR, but I believe that those in HR need to involve not just the hiring manager but also the rest of the team in making the new person feel both welcome and valued. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve interviewed a candidate who is leaving a role after only a few months and hear ‘I knew straight away’ or worse ‘they gave me loads of information about themselves in the interviews that, as soon as I started, I realised wasn’t accurate’.

The most successful hires that you make will always be the ones who find no surprises at any stage of the process, never have to check where their paperwork is, never have to phone a week before they join to find out starting details and, crucially, walk in on day one and find not only is everything as they have been led to expect but that they have also already met everyone in their immediate team.

That is only part of the closure though…what about the candidates who didn’t make it through to this stage? A lot of damage can be done to an employer’s brand by poor communication to rejected candidates. They have invested time (research and preparation) and hope in working for your business, they have an emotional bond with you and may well want to work for the business at some stage in the future. They need to have expectations managed as rejected candidates are consumers and ambassadors for your business too.

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