Don’t forget the importance of your job description
A good job description fulfils two key functions: It sets the right expectations for the role and it allows you to measure Candidates against these requirements. As this is the first thing most Candidates will see when considering whether to apply, there is a real need to get this right. At a basic level, all job adverts should include a list of expected responsibilities, the qualifications needed, as well as salary and hours. If an applicant has to contact you to ask questions before filling in the form, you’re already putting a barrier in their way which could discourage them from proceeding any further and consider the language you use. Research shows that overly masculine and feminine descriptors can be off-putting, so make sure you appear welcoming to a diverse range of people.
Having a fixed idea of the ideal Candidate
To find the best qualified person for the role, always base your decision making on demonstrable experience. Having a fixed idea of the ideal Candidate, whether it’s an energetic salesperson or a dynamic leader might mean that you miss good applicants who don’t fit the mould. The same goes for choosing the most likeable person, based on appearance and general character. While these two things might go hand-in-hand, try to be aware of unconscious bias and how this could affect perceptions. Making a tick list of requirements based on your job description, involving more than one person on the interview panel or holding competency-based interviews can all help with this.
Rushing your hire without a planned timeframe
Hiring takes time. Don’t leave this until the last minute so that you feel pressured to find a replacement for someone without being sure that they’re the right fit. And on the flip side of the coin, try not to wait too long in expectation of the perfect Candidate. It may be that you’re not able to find someone who ticks all the requirements, but you do have a person who is talented enough to learn on the job.
In many respects, businesses should always be thinking about hiring. Be aware of skills gaps within your company, making plans in order to fill these to boost growth. One of the worst things you can do is to rush an interview. Having a planned timeframe will allow you to prepare properly, scrutinising CVs, asking the right mix of questions and really thinking about how you can test Candidates. It will also allow you to communicate the timescale for new hires with your team and applicants.
Relying too much on what happens in the interview
It’s an unfortunate fact that some Candidates are good at interviews and other are not. This means that an applicant who excels in this situation might impress but could not be the best person for the role. How do you counter-act this? By planning a rigorous process which gives people a number of opportunities to shine. A face-to-face conversation will tell you a great deal, but have you considered a skills test or seeing how applicants react when they get to meet the existing team? To make an informed decision, you should consider everything at your disposal, CVs and initial applications to portfolios, social media profiles and references. If you’re in doubt, why not try a short work trial?
Failing to sell opportunities within your company
An interview is never one-sided, although you’re the one deciding on the best Candidate, it’s also an opportunity for applicants to assess whether they want to work for you. As such, it’s risky to assume that people will automatically want to take an offer. You know you’re a great place for Employees, but do they? Take time to sell the benefits available to people, including career advancement, staff perks and who they’ll be sitting next to in the office. We know that different applicants will find different incentives attractive, so think about who you’re hiring and what they’ll find exciting to hear. Research shows that flexible working hours, work from home options, company cars and free lunches are amongst the benefits most valued by UK workers, so be sure to communicate this.
Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 we opened our first London office, to service Clients and Candidates in the capital.
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