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Posted by Niall O'Kelly

Honing your Hiring Skills

15 Dec 2021

The recruitment market is in a precarious position now as it has gone from an employer’s market to an employee’s market in the space of six months. What do I mean by this? Essentially, candidates who are interviewing for jobs are more than likely interviewing for multiple jobs at the same time and if all else fails, they will probably receive a counteroffer from their current employer if they receive a new job offer. This causes several knock-on negative effects such as:


  • Increased numbers of job offer rejections as candidates have more options than normal.


  • Increased time wasted by companies on the recruitment process without a positive outcome. This then tends to lead to pressure from your own direct line manager or even further up the food chain.


  • Offering higher salaries needed to attract talent and the knock-on effect this has on current salary structures.


  • Compromises on the quality of candidate hired if the preferred candidate rejects. The second or third option may get the role and companies may feel aggrieved by this.


  • Reduction in companies’ satisfaction with their current outsourced recruitment supplier. Companies expect to get their preferred candidate when they are paying an outsourced provider to manage the process.


What can companies do to help themselves in a candidate driven market? As you can appreciate, there is nothing guaranteed but here are some suggestions to hone your hiring skills:


  • Improve the speed of turnaround from receipt of CV to first interview. This momentum needs to be maintained right through to offer stage. Other companies will move quickly so if you don’t, you will miss out on candidates, particularly those who are available immediately or with shorter notice periods.


  • Don’t use one recruitment agency exclusively regardless of what you are being told. No one recruiter owns the market, and you are guaranteed a better flow of quality candidate by using two or possibly three companies. Advise them to give you a max of two candidates and then ask them for their preferred candidate. This way you should have strong shortlist of six with three exceptionally strong CVs, from two or three different sources.


  • When you have chosen your external recruitment providers, try not bringing an external recruiter late to the process as it can more trouble than you think. What happens if a candidate you met at the start and like gets a call from another recruiter saying they have a new role in two weeks after their first interview? It can make the candidate feel that the company doesn’t like them or that the interviewers weren’t fully convinced which is usually not the case. The chances of getting an offer rejected from this candidate have been increased dramatically.


  • Waiting for a full shortlist or a comparison candidate to tick a box could be detrimental based on the points above. This is in no way trying to force you to hire the first person you meet but if you know they are the right fit then don’t delay.


  • Ensuring consistency of message throughout the interview process regarding the role, company culture and team is so important. This means that there are no late spanners thrown into the works unnecessarily which can be a game changer for a candidate when they have multiple options.


  • The days of good cop, bad cop in interviews should be stopped regardless of it being a candidate driven market. Being a hard ass for the sake of it is unnecessary and is done to massage a person’s ego than for the good of the company or to assist in the identification of the correct candidate. It never goes well and rarely has a positive outcome for the company or the candidate.


  • If you are going to make an offer, please make a proper offer and don’t try to save a few quid to see if the person really wants the role or not. I am in a big believer in not paying over the odds for someone or not hiring a candidate that is money motivated but put yourself in the candidate’s position. Would you leave your job for less money, for the same salary or for a miniscule increase? If the answer is no, then the person you want to hire is probably the same and you will simply turn them off.


  • Use an external recruiter that you trust who knows their market. They are generally working on “no foal no fee basis” so if their candidate doesn’t get the role, they have essentially offered their services free of charge. If you trust the recruiter then work together and listen to what they are telling you about the market and what the salary needs to be. If you don’t then you should cease working with them. I am more than happy to stand over my teams’ advice they give to our clients as we discuss things openly in our daily meetings.


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