Have you ever been in the position of watching your new recruit flounder away and then drop out or worse, have to be pushed? When a new employee doesn’t make it past the end of the probation period, the blame game usually kicks in and it is often the recruiter who is put front and centre. Comments like “they sent me a bad candidate”, “they obviously didn’t know what we were looking for”, and “I could have advertised myself and got a better candidate than the one they sent me”, are all too familiar when a placement goes sour. The truth is, the responsibility for a bad placement is a shared one.
Placements usually fail for one simple reason, a lack of clarity around the role and the client organisation and a less than warm welcome on the newbie’s first day. Recruiters will say they were not told certain things about the company or the role. Clients will say the candidate wasn’t suitable and the recruiter just didn’t get it right. Candidates will say the job wasn’t what they were led to believe it would be.
Here are some tips to making sure you get a new employee who will not only make it through probation but will become one of your treasured team members.
1. Have a current and clear Position Description and Key Performance Indicators for the role.
In the same way a road map gives a driver a sense of direction in unfamiliar territory, a clear Position Description ensures both the employer and the employee have a clear sense of direction in what the role is designed to achieve, the tasks that need to be completed to achieve it and how the person’s performance will be evaluated. A good Position Description will make a statement about the scope of the role, confirm the reporting line, clarify the levels of authority, communicate the key areas of responsibility, and outline the specific tasks required.
2. Avoid trying to force square pegs into round holes
Organisations are simply small communities working together toward a common goal. Every community is made up of a variety of personalities (that’s what makes them interesting) but there are particular personality types that fit better than others. Understanding the personality traits and behaviours that work best in your company and across your team will ensure harmonious and productive working relationships. Like any relationship, “if it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right!”
3. Engage a professional recruiter
Recruitment is a skilled profession like any other and just like Doctors, Lawyers and Accountants, Recruiters have developed specialisations throughout their careers. A skilled Recruiter clearly understands the skills and experience required in particular roles and this knowledge, combined with a clear position description and a clear understanding of your organisation’s personality and culture, means a good “fit” is a much more likely outcome. The screening process is efficient and accurate and your shortlist will be candidates with a high level of suitability for the role. No dropouts!
4. Don’t be fooled by appearances – conduct thorough interviews
A nice suit, tidy hair and dashing smile tells us a candidate cares about their appearance and has good dress sense and where they went to school might tell us something about their social group but quite frankly, that’s about it! Is he/she resilient and resourceful? Is he/she an effective problem solver? And what of their work ethic? There is no substitute for spending the time thoroughly interviewing every shortlisted candidate. Utilising well researched and effective methodologies will help you truly understand what you are “buying”. Open-ended questions to elicit information that points to behaviour and competency are the best.
5. Do Reference checks
So, the candidate presents well and your interview process has identified they have the skills to do the job and are likely to be a great fit but how can you be really sure? In this brave new world of the internet, candidates can research and rehearse their responses to a plethora of interview questions. Reference checks with past employers are a vital part of any recruitment process. A professional and targeted approach to reference checking gives insights into how the candidate has performed in the past, how they have responded to certain situations, and why they were a valued team member….or not. Reference checks also give you the opportunity to verify certain information the candidate may have provided, another step in the quest for clarity.
6. Make the new recruit feel welcome
The letter of offer has been signed and a start date agreed. The candidate turns up, agog with an equal dose of excitement and apprehension – after all, it’s their first day in the new school. Make sure they are expected – nothing beats a warm welcome. Make sure their workspace has been well prepared for them and take them on an introductory tour of the team before heading into a structured and informative Induction session. But that’s another blog!
Photo courtesy of reynermedia.