Recruitment is a process that can easily become somewhat automated until you whittle down the final candidates. It’s not hard to see why this is, after all, you cannot possibly be expected to read every single application from every single direction you receive them.
However, we would hesitantly suggest that not enough thought and personality is implemented in the recruitment process. Your candidates are more than just practiced answers in an interview, or the qualifications (which are still important), that they list on their resume.
When you think about it, an employee is potentially one of the most long-term investments you make. Pending any form of downsizing or their inability to work in the future, the contractual ties bound with any employee often assumes that they will stay forever, despite of course giving them a legal clause to leave employment under the right conditions, for any reason.
Taking a more personal approach to recruitment, then, is essential. Not only because in the highly competitive marketplace skills are becoming more important to hold than ever, but because if invested in correctly, a worthwhile employee can be one of the most profitable assets you could ever invest in.
Let us consider some advice to that end:
Often, professionals will keep a LinkedIn page and personal social media pages that are public, and often dedicated to their task at hand. This can help you see both an insight into their character, and how they view themselves professionally. Recruiting on LinkedIn needn’t be a difficult process, but you need to know what to look for, and also spend time absorbing the information provided. If you fail to do that, you may unfortunately miss out on getting the full picture of their professional life. This is because most professionals will customize their resume when sending it to you, but will often list all of their experience on their LinkedIn page. This can give you the most comprehensive view of an applicant, or even someone you hope to headhunt.
Personal social media pages function in a very similar way. It could be that said individual has a rich professional portfolio, but also very outspoken political beliefs. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with them having an opinion, but you might find that if part of your staff, this causes you trouble as ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ can often be considered as endorsements, and sometimes, this controversial blowback might end up affecting your PR. They are permitted these freedoms of course, but it might be an extra thing you need to think about when hiring them.
When it comes to the second interview, you likely have an understanding of a specific applicant’s professional candor. As such, you may find that you know all about them on paper and the polished answers they have given you, but nothing about the person behind this career mask.
This is why it can be extremely important to hold an interview that assesses their character. Of course, you needn’t ask leading questions, such as the good old train conundrum, but you can simply ask them respectful questions about their personal life, head for a working lunch with said applicant, or even head for a drink if appropriate. If in a relative industry, a trial shift can sometimes work wonders to see how they cope under pressure.
Sometimes, it can be that we haven’t the fullest picture of ourselves. You may think you do, but you have all kinds of biases working in your favor. Perhaps you felt you were clear and direct in your past management role, while another colleague thought your style was aggressive and somewhat indifferent. Which one should you trust? Well, as an applicant trying to assess the character of an applicant, neither one should be taken without a grain of salt.
However, if contacting multiple referrals and references, it could be that you gain a clearer picture of how said person operates, and how they have behaved in the past. If they receive glowing reviews and most have nothing but good things to say about the person, you are in for a treat. The reality is that most impressions from past workers will be middling, because most of us have nuanced opinions of the people around us, even our friends. If you can sort fact from fiction and simply contextualize your perception of said person through this inquiry, you have a clearer, more personal picture.
With this advice, we hope you can take a much more personal approach to your recruitment efforts. It’ll certainly be worth it.