The Year of Recruiting Sensibly


I had a lot of fun putting together my last two blogs – an allegorical fable about impulse recruitment, poor on-boarding, weak management and blinkered selection criteria – which drew from many scenarios encountered during my years as an agency recruiter, and from my current day to day interactions with job seekers.

There were some serious points to be made about mistakes and frustrations in the recruitment process, which I wanted to cover in an illustrative way. I’ve now listed some of them below…they may bring a bit of context to the story of Frank the Fish.

So as we begin a new recruiting year, let’s be sensible. This is what I want to see more of…and I know that every job seeker would like to see more of it too:

  • Properly defined recruitment brief. The why, the how, and the who of a perceived vacancy should be carefully thought out, budgeted and planned for. Knee jerk hiring decisions rarely produce long term beneficial results.
  • Robust on-boarding and assimilation. Once you’ve identified the person then how are you going to bring them in and get the best out of them?
  • Effective management. Who will manage them? Do they fully understand what the business wants from the new recruit? And can they incorporate them in a team or division that may not understand the rationale for the hire?
  • A proper plan for success. How will you measure whether it’s working out? Have you managed the new employee’s expectations…do they know how you will assess, manage and monitor them, and what is expected of them. And what will happen if they don’t measure up, or if something unforeseen happens to casts doubt on whether you need them.
  • Consider an ex-employee. So many companies close the door to re-hiring even when one of their alumni may be the most suitable candidate available. I tried to put a few clues in the story to show that Frank’s company hadn’t properly replaced him. Humility can be more potent than pride…on both sides.
  • Look at the person, not just the CV. This is not a new problem, but it seems to cause the most frustration. It may have seemed a stretch in my story to infer that companies wouldn’t consider Frank because of the previous 3 months, but unfortunately it isn’t. It’s a familiar tale. Look at what someone can bring in to a business, don’t try and second guess their current mind-set or skill-set based on recent events.

And one last thing.

Every person you hire is part of another network – friends, family, alumni and online connections. This network plays an important part in the decision and they will be affected by the decisions that you make about the employee. Each candidate will have their own motivations, commitments, concerns and goals.

I’m not absolving them of their obligations in a new role, nor suggesting that a poor hire is kept on for the sake of their kids, but suggesting a little sensitivity about someone’s situation before the decision to hire – particularly if there is some doubt over fit or the long term viability of a role. The ramifications of unsuccessful recruitment are felt by many, so maybe more care is needed to get the match right.

Let’s recruit sensibly this year…and get the best results for everyone.

2 thoughts on “The Year of Recruiting Sensibly

  1. Mervyn,
    I’d echo your thoughts.
    I think that in recruitment we’ve become obsessed by candidate attraction and neglected other important areas of the recruitment process.
    “Social media” may help to improve candidate attraction but I think you are right other areas such as properly defining a recruitment brief, induction, objective setting and performance management can add more value to a broader HR or Talent Management function.
    Effective recruitment is not all about candidate attraction.

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