Archive for May, 2009

Recruitment 101: Hiring the right candidate for the job

May 19th, 2009 No comments

by Kate Klease at Vantage Human Capital

The market has definitely changed in favour of employers recently, which is great news for the many businesses who have struggled to find quality staff. In the past, you might have been lucky to receive a handful of resumes for any job advertised, whereas many of our clients are now reporting that they are being inundated with resumes, great news again, right? Anybody who has had the experience of arriving to work on a Monday morning to find their inbox flooded with job applicants knows that it’s not always such a great feeling… when everyone has gone home for the day and you are still tackling the mountain of resumes (on top of the usual workload!) you may feel strangely ungrateful.
The real question is how do you take advantage of all this choice and find the most suitable person for the job?

In a perfect world, every candidate would have a cover letter tailored to your job criteria, with the job market getting tighter hopefully more candidates will engage in this practice as it makes screening resumes quite easy. Don’t spend too long reading resumes, you should be able to get a ‘gut feel’ for how suitable a candidate is in 30 seconds. Create a yes, no and maybe pile for resumes and (depending on volume) consider a quick phone screen with the yes and maybes. A phone screen is not a telephone interview, keep it brief – if you like what you hear from the candidate you can always expand on the conversation later.

If you have done the screening process well, you should be left with a handful of people who, on the surface match your needs very well. Face to face interviews give you an opportunity to really put the candidate ‘through their paces’, and equally for the candidate to gain an understanding of the environment and role they have applied for. Many people comment that they can tell almost as soon as meeting a candidate whether they will suit the job, be careful of making judgments so quickly as many interviewers who form a positive impression of a candidate focus too much on selling the job and have a tendency to hear the ‘good’ answers a candidate gives and filter out the ‘bad’ as this subconsciously reinforces their own first impression.
Behavioural or competency based interview questions are essential in an interview. Candidates are putting their best foot forward during an interview, they want the job and know what you want to hear. Don’t just take people on their word if they say they can or have done something in the past, ask them for specific examples to support their claims.

References, Background Checks & Testing
These are subjects that I am quite passionate about, it is NEVER a waste of time to conduct thorough checks on a candidate. But your candidate is great right, they would never lie to you? Unfortunately 80% of candidates exaggerate claims in their resume, with approximately 20% taking more creative liberty with qualifications that they do not hold, jobs they didn’t do and lengths of time with their employers. Telephone references are always preferable to written references, I have never seen a bad written reference and don’t know anybody who would feel comfortable putting negative feedback on paper. It is not always possible to get two references from direct managers in the last couple of jobs a candidate has held for a variety of reasons (boss moved on, company folded etc), but be wary of the candidate who has an excuse for why they can’t provide referees for too many roles. One point that I cannot stress enough is to verify that you are talking to a genuine referee (and not a mate, yes you would be surprised how many people try this); the easiest way to do this is by calling the business, rather than a mobile and confirming the person’s name and job title with a receptionist before being put through.
You have a right as a prospective employer to enquire about any gaps in employment history, and also to confirm the employment periods and job titles a candidate has held in the past as these are material representations a candidate makes in order to get the job. I have often called employers not listed as referees to confirm employment only to be informed that the person never worked there, held a completely different title or the dates of employment were wrong. For many people going through this process might seem like overkill, you need to decide what is reasonable for your role. I once discovered a candidate applying for an accounting job had been in jail for fraud, and covered it up by lengthening his employment history at a previous role. While these situations are thankfully the minority, you take a huge risk missing by simply assuming that people are telling the truth.

If it is practice that you conduct criminal history checks, drug tests or medicals as a condition of employment always be upfront with candidates at the beginning of the process. I have seen people suddenly decide the job they seemed so excited about was not for them after they were informed they would need to be drug tested prior to an offer being made.
Psychometric testing is also often used by employers to analyse a candidate’s suitability and potential in a role. I believe it has a valuable place in recruitment and selection, however it’s important to ensure that the testing is appropriate for the job. If your role doesn’t require a candidate to have advanced mathematical skills it is a waste of time and money to put them through a test that measures this ability, there is no need to put a candidate through the stress of a battery of unnecessary psychometric testing.

It is important to use more than one method (i.e. interview, testing, and references) during the recruitment process to increase the probability that your new staff member will be successful in the role. The below table briefly outlines the predictive success of independent methods, however success is greatly increased when you combine methods.

On a final note, the most common reason we hear from candidates who have left their roles within 12 months is that their expectations in the role were not met. If there is not much room for growth or the candidate will be expected to work long hours it is best to be upfront, you want to find a candidate who will be happy in the job. Going through the recruitment process may seem tedious, but hiring the wrong person is costly, both financially and from a time perspective. On average the cost of getting it wrong is equal to the employee’s annual wage, but this can be far greater in sales or senior management positions. Consider the time it takes you to go through the recruitment process, the time and money spent training and developing the employee, lost productivity while a job is vacant etc etc! Sometimes the recruitment process might seem tedious, but having a happy and productive employee as a result of your hard work is a great feeling that is well worth all the effort!

Categories: Human Resources

Cebit Exhibition a great success

May 18th, 2009 No comments

Favour was pleased to have a presence at the Cebit Exhibition in the gorgeous Darling Harbour region of central Sydney between the 12th and 14th of May.

There were plenty of people through the doors and a lot of interest shown for Favour’s product range which includes human resource, occupational health & safety, and payroll and rostering software.

We would like to thank our clients who trekked over to meet us for a coffee and a chat and also to the number of prospective future customers who gave us some of their time to show our offerings.  A great success and we hope to be there again next year.

Categories: General