Ready, Aim, Hire! The Recruiter’s Silver Bullet
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing thousands of people in my Human Resources roles. That privilege afforded me a great opportunity to learn. I’d like to share a recruiting silver bullet with you now that I hope will bring you success.
The silver bullet I’ll be sharing is not the job ad. You can write as many words as you want, in the coolest font, and with adjectives out the ying-yang. But in the end, people will apply to your job because of the pay, job title, and company (with pay and title a toss-up as to first and second, but the company always comes in last- no matter what the candidates may tell you to feed your ego during the interview).
The silver bullet is not your interview room. You can have the nicest paintings on the walls that say “teamwork” or “respect” or even a 15th century desk made out of mahogany, but this is just the stuff in the room. Really solid candidates see past the glitz and glamor pretty quickly. These people are chomping at the bit to see how the room feels. They are waiting to see what the environment is like. Is it welcoming or threatening? Is it open or is it stuffy? If a candidate feels that the environment is welcoming and caring, then she will feel safe. If she feels safe, then her pre-interview nerves will begin to calm. If the nerves begin to calm, she will drop her guard. When she drop her guard, you have a shot at seeing who she really is and if she will fit into the job, the team and company. But while the environment is important, it is not the silver bullet.
The silver bullet is not all the new age gadgets like iPads or video-conferencing or every communication tool on the market these days that brings your voice to the person at the speed of light. I love my gadgets, but tech stuff is not the end all or be all of a successful recruitment. In fact, anything that makes the interviewers talk more should be avoided at all costs. Talking is the worst thing interviewers can do during an interview. If you as a recruiter find yourself talking more than the candidate, then you should find a new line of work. If you have a hiring manager talking too much on the panel, then hopefully, you can find a way to remind him why you are there in the first place: to find that person who fits the job, team and company. Period.
So what is the recruiting silver bullet? You probably guessed it. It’s the interviewer. It’s you. Your prep-work, knowledge, skills, patience, curiosity, ears, especially your ears, and your passion will either make you successful or have that awesome candidate running to your competitor. To be a successful recruiter, here are the three things I believe you need:
1. Great Prep-Work. Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe.” For a recruiter, this means that you better know every aspect of that job you are recruiting to. Then when you do, prepare your questions to target those aspects! Don’t be lazy here. It may sound cute to ask a candidate what their favorite color is, but all you are doing in reality is burning dollars bills. Time is money. Spend your money wisely by preparing well and formulating a great interview plan. You will see a great Return On Investment!
2. Listen. In my experience, the best interviewers are the best listeners. He does not think about the next question he is going to ask. Instead, he is solely focused in the present and listening attentively to the candidates answer. He watches body language. Identifies tone. Great interviewers are “in it to win it”. When you listen, when you truly listen, the spoken words become more than just language. The words “hit home” to that place inside of us all where the words take on meaning and understanding. If you can “really get” a candidate’s answer, then you will propel yourself light years closer to hitting the trifecta of a successful recruitment- job fit, team fit and company fit.
3. A Sharp Pencil. Even world-class listeners know that relying on memory alone is a one-way ticket to Doomtown. Besides all the legal trouble you could bring to you and your company, after days of being locked in a stuffy interview and expending all that energy… it’s not a matter of if your memory will fail, it’s when. Write down those answers. Sharp pencils uncover great candidates. Broken pencils bring bad apples and lawsuits.
Prepare, question, listen and document. Repeat. Repeat until the candidate’s words resonate to a level of meaning and understanding.
Finding great people to join an organization is the most rewarding work there is. Best wishes in your upcoming recruitments.
Founder of writemyresume.ca