How to Recruit Hard-to-Find Candidates

Time and again companies have access to the candidates they would like to employ, only to find that by the time they have organized second interviews, the candidates have been snapped up by competitors!

In recruitment (and I’m sure it holds true in every other form of sales) we have a saying that ‘Time kills all deals’.

If more than a few days are allowed to elapse, there is a real danger that the very person you have been trying so hard to find – the winner, the accomplisher, the high achiever – has slipped through your fingers, leaving you to lick your wounds and wait for another six months and more before another good candidate comes along.  No sensible business person will be unaware of all the hidden costs that that entails!

And the reasons for these delays?  Big deals are being struck, senior managers are abroad, at exhibitions, and on holiday.  Of course, these matters are important, but in an opportunity-rich, candidate-scarce marketplace, companies must shed twentieth century thinking (that ‘there are millions of candidates to choose from , and they can jolly well wait until we’ve done our important things!’) and drag themselves into the modern age.

When a top-flight candidate is available (and you know who they are), it is possible to conclude the recruiting process within one day!

Shed the notion that two or more interviews are necessary; here’s how to recruit quickly and successfully:

  • Firstly, reach total agreement internally as to the job and candidate specification.  Draw up a written description for the benefit of internal staff, agencies and candidates.
  • Identify one person (could be the line manager, director or MD probably) who can be given the power to deviate from these guidelines, if necessary.  Sod’s law dictates that whatever you are looking for, something else will turn up!
  • When a good candidate becomes available, the line manager and/or a technical manager should conduct an initial telephone interview.  The candidate’s CV will reveal immediately if this person has the background and qualifications to do the job.  If a competent agency has been used to find the candidate, you can be fairly sure they will have got it right: their livelihood depends on getting it right!
  • The telephone interview is merely to check on fine points regarding technical expertise, market knowledge etc, not mentioned on the CV.  Also, certain ‘red flag’ areas may be covered: location, willingness to travel, salary, any other significant issues.
  • If everything goes OK at this stage, then get the candidate into the office to meet the team.  This could be tomorrow!  There should be no need to split this meeting into two or more occasions!
  • Many companies ask the candidate to stay the whole day, moving from one interview to another, until every manager that will be involved with the hire has met the potential employee.
  • The crucial matter which must be investigated is whether or not this new person will fit the company style;  whether you actually like them!   You know that technically they can do the job – that much has already been revealed.  All you have to do is decide if they will fit in with the team.
  • At the end of the day, a round-table discussion takes place, a decision is made, and an offer can be put out, subject to references.
  • Hey presto!  Recruitment in one day.
  • Finally, rejoice in Hobson’s choice!  Disabuse your MD (and anyone else who clings onto this outmoded idea) that it would be nice to have two or three identical (but different) candidates to choose from.  Get real!  If you have one candidate who fits the bill, then stop delaying and take him or her on!
Remember the old adage to help decide if someone can do a job: Can he do it?  Does he want it?  Can he get there?  (or she, of course).  If the answer to these questions is yes, then recruit!

Good hunting!