So… you’re about to start recruiting a new person…

It’s Wednesday morning and your personal assistant has just resigned… she saw a “new opportunity” and just really needed to take it. She knows everything about how you run your day and all the ins and outs of your business. So… where to from here?

You have two weeks notice up your sleeve, do you:

(a) grab out the old trusty bottle of scotch and have a drink (why is this at work???)

(b) jump onto SEEK and write a quick job advertisement to attract a new employee

(c) get to work on capturing what she does to build a great job description and job advertisement so that you can employ another strong (or stronger) skilled employee?

If you chose (a) we will forgive you for that, we all need to calm the nerves in these situations. Seriously though, (c) is going to be your best bet! Quite often in the workplace when we look at recruiting for roles we are programmed to replace what we had. We are addicted to Job Titles and Position Descriptions (even though 95% of PD’s include the phrase “any additional duties as required”, which often means anything and everything). We are so used to them that you would probably rewrite an old advertisement and readvertise the role again, but… has your business changed? We need to look harder at the business and ask ourselves “what do we need now?”

Coming back to our person that has given notice to leave you… it would be a great idea to sit down with them and find out what they specifically do in their day / week / month. Have they coped with the workload, what did they like / didn’t like about the role, what new technologies do they deal with now? Now ask yourself the question: “Has their job description significantly changed?”. We bet it has!

A great example is social media. Just over a year ago, most administrative/personal assistant Job Descriptions would not have referred to the updating of social media sites as part of an employee’s role, however the person leaving has set up a great Facebook page that attracts a growing network of potential clients. Without asking what the person does, new and important tasks can be missed when advertising and hiring a new employee. What happens when you advertise omitting this crucial part of the “new” role, employ a person based on the old skill set and find that they have no social media skills or interest in that space? The referral rate tumbles as potential customers leave your site and we don’t want that to happen.

We have a strategy in place to capture that information and you can too:

  • Sit down and talk to the person and capture what they do in their role, break it down to daily/weekly/monthly
  • Ask what technologies they use. You know that a new program was rolled out late last year but do they actually use it?
  • What did they like / didn’t they like about the role? (is this the real reason that they are leaving? Were they overloaded with work?)
  • With this new information, pull out the old job description and cross reference the information to update where necessary. Also look at tasks that could be directed elsewhere, are all tasks necessary for this role and has it shifted from the original direction?

Whilst you will miss your trusty employee, turn this around and think of it as an opportunity to now employ exactly what you and your business needs to move forward. Time to write a brilliant advertisement that attracts a great range of skilled candidates… good luck!

Interviews from the darkside…

Toast crumbs across his cheek and around his lips said to me… this is not the guy for our role. I didn’t feel comfortable looking at him and was really just trying to conduct an interview. He should have had breakfast before meeting me, not at the actual interview!

The resume and his experience were fantastic but his presentation oozed the questions; “Did he wear that stuff to bed and come straight to meet me and why is he having breakfast now at 11:30am?”. I enjoy meeting a candidate over a coffee – it offers a more relaxed setting away from an office and at least 99.5% of the time the candidate just has a coffee, tea or cold drink however on this occasion, there was an order of raisin toast to go with the coffee. Who orders breakfast at an interview???

How often have you had an interview and wished you had a portal to see how a candidate was going to present so that you could just save everyone’s time? You have gone through the trouble of sorting the many applications, carefully pre-screening your short-list over the phone and then… one of them turns up for interview and it’s not what you expected.

 Have you ever experienced:

  • the nervous candidate that smells like they just had to have that last minute cigarette before interview
  • the candidate that decided thongs were great business shoes (and met OH&S requirements)
  • the swearer (enough said)
  • the girl in the nightclub outfit
  • the guy that forgot to put deodorant on – do you remember smelling yourself after they left the room just in case you thought it was you?

What I love about what I do as a recruiter is that I save my clients from these disasters by meeting candidates first to experience how they will represent your organisation. OK, I had one fail – the cigarette guy just couldn’t help himself and had to have one puff literally outside my client’s front door. Ultimately I want you, my client, to have a positive experience, seeing only the best for your interview, let us deal with the wayward ones. Rest assured, we can have a good laugh about those once we have selected your new employee.

For those of you who feel comfortable recruiting a new employee by yourself and don’t mind the roller-coaster of emotions that can happen during a recruit, try something new to see what works best for your business. If you generally meet candidates at your office for interview, meet them for a coffee instead on neutral ground. You have already selected the candidate based on their skills, experience and a good phone pre-screen, now you will see them in a more relaxed setting where they may reveal a lot more of their personality. It gives you a better indication of their communication skills, how they interact with those around them (do they get annoyed or distracted easily by other people in the coffee shop or are they focused on you?) and even more importantly, you will get a less rehearsed interviewee.

However, if they just happen to order breakfast whilst you are standing in line to be served… you know what to do!!!

Job applications – Do you make it easy for the employer?

Do you want to stand out from the crowd and be the one selected for interview? Of course you do, you wouldn’t apply for a role otherwise.

I am in the final stages of an administration recruit and have received over 300 applications. I don’t use computer applications to look for keywords, I do it the old fashioned way to give everyone a fighting chance, which means… 300 applications later… I am ready for the next stage of the process! The latest systems match you on keywords and can miss a really good candidate that hasn’t got a stand-out resume geared towards them. I know some great candidates that have had really poor resumes and as such, have helped them by creating a new one that sells them so much better, leading towards selection for interview.

As recruiters we are the eyes and ears of our client (the employer). When I see your resume come through my email and it has a well set out cover letter meeting what we are looking for, as well as a clean and clear resume, you are going straight into my “Next” folder to talk further. The one after you with no cover letter and a resume that I can’t understand or isn’t clear on their previous roles and training is going straight to the “No” folder.

Which one do you want to be? “Next” or “No“. What helps you get there?

Firstly, a clean resume that states your work history, any training, licences and qualifications, your contact details (yes I have had some with no contact details!!!) and a summary of your skills. It is always nice to have referees listed, community involvement or other things that will support your application.

Second to that, a good cover letter. I would say that every job we advertise I ask for a cover letter outlining your skills and experience. I usually get one around 60% of the time and only 50% of those are actually good. I see a cover letter equally as important as the resume. A letter can state your intent and let the employer know why you want the role, what skills, training and qualifications you have to bring to them and what you would like from the role and company.

For your resume and letter focus on these things; be truthful, use the same font and size for all of the normal text, use your spell checker (if the word is underlined in red, please check it just in case it’s wrong), if you use a ‘Career Objective’ in your resume make sure it is for the right type of job that you are applying for (I have seen on quite a few admin applications, the career objective being a Childcare Assistant), and last but not least, get a friend or family member to read your application – would they hire you based on what you’ve presented? Make it easy for the employer or recruiter reading your application to say YES to moving you to the next stage.

I look forward to a great discussion about this. Shoot me an email or a comment either here, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn on your experiences as an employer or as a job seeker.

Best regards,

David Ford.

The Perfect Candidate

Happy Wednesday!

Think about this for a moment… you sit down, work out the type of person that you want for your new administrative assistant role, advertise it and the applications start streaming through. About a day and a half later (and over 200 applications) an application stands out from the pack that is just fantastic and a true breath of fresh air from the ordinary applications that had come through. What do you do? Of course you call them! You have now closed off advertising,  selected three applicants to meet with you for interview and you know your favourite is among them. Your favourite blitzes the interview and impresses your colleague, you make an offer on the Friday and… never hear from them… what happened? Where did they go?

If this or a similar situation has happened to you, please take comfort that it has happened to quite a few of us. I had a really wise client say to me once “I get excited but I don’t fall in love anymore”. I understand what she meant by that… it can really break your heart when you picture that person in the role, knowing that you have a great new employee on board and.. all of a sudden… that picture no longer exists. I recall having a great candidate that was two weeks out (of a four week notice period) from starting in a new role. A great salary package was on offer and it was a fantastic client – a perfect match… until… I received that call… “Look, I’m really sorry to tell you this but I must withdraw my acceptance”. You know that sinking feeling that you get? I certainly had it! It turns out that his former company offered an extra $50,000 and a new local office to stay with them – understandably very hard to pass up! 

You enjoy and even love your business, making the recruitment process very personal. In sitting down and speaking to an experienced and balanced recruiter that listens to what you need, you can alleviate a lot of the unnecessary concerns, creating a much more positive process for you to undertake. Let us deal with the heart breaking stuff! Even when it comes to the crunch and you think everything has gone pear-shaped (like our real examples), a good recruiter can turn that around and deliver what turns out to be the perfect candidate. 

Best regards,

David Ford.

Recruitment… not just taking a job order!

We hope you are having a great day.

Last week I was asked what we did as a recruitment agency and what the difference is between service levels of recruitment companies. You can scour a myriad of recruitment websites to see what we all do as recruiters but the difference is in how and why we do it. Look at the job you are in now, you weren’t a master of what you currently do overnight. It took good training, mentoring from those that knew how to do it and a desire to actually do it.

This brings me back to my point – Recruitment Services and going beyond someone that is just taking a job order. You will experience a difference in service level and candidate quality when engaging the expertise of a recruiter that understands the importance of their role in securing the right staff for you. Is your recruiter trained in HR, experienced in recruitment and focused on how a new employee fits in your business or are they primarily taking a job order and matching skills to obtain a sale? What accountability does your recruiter have – is it their own business where everything rests on their service or are they part of a larger organisation that can absorb a wayward deal? It’s a tough but realistic question for you to consider and the answer will be in what you experience. There are some really great recruiters out there working for large and small recruitment companies that give excellent service (this is where I mention New Point Recruitment), love what they do and are trained in recruiting effectively.

Best regards,

David Ford.

Hello everyone!

Welcome to Recruitment Matters, a new weekly blog by David Ford from New Point Recruitment located on the Gold Coast, Queensland Australia. We will be bringing to you the latest news, stories and tips regarding recruitment for both employers and job seekers.

Check in at the ‘About the Author’ page to learn about who I am and why I enjoy working in the recruitment sector. 

We look forward to a great relationship with our readers and look forward to all of your comments and suggestions.

Best regards,

David Ford.