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Hiring and Recruitment Tips

“Like a kid in a candy store” was how my client responded to the shortlist we presented him a fortnight ago. He was gobsmacked. He was so excited it was almost as if he had already achieved all of the business goals we helped him define weeks before… And he deserves to be.

Why?

In a telling recent article from Claudio Fernández-Aráoz (HBR), he cites a study conducted during the 2008 GFC, where 3,400 execs were surveyed on their response to the crisis.

The most frequent company response was to “scale back recruiting”. However “the selective hiring of high-performing employees from competitors” was one of the top three most effective responses to the previous crisis (from a list of 22) and ranked #1 as the best impact on employee commitment.

Perhaps this sentiment rubbed off on the 53% of founders in Airtrees May poll who said that they expect to hire in the coming quarter too?

Though this doesn’t mean that you should hire just because there’s great talent available right now…

If you can take advantage of this opportunity, consider some of the mistakes we’ve made + witnessed which may help when you’re looking to get back to growth.

Recruitment and Hiring Mistakes to Avoid

1. Hiring before you have your Roadmap set.

Just because this superstar is available it doesn’t mean that they’re going to fit into your Business Vision, Strategy, Principles and Culture.

And given their superstar status, without clearly predefined KPIs/OKRs they will often be more disruptive than productive.

If you don’t know what a Job Design is you are not ready to hire. It is the single most common reason that a hire fails.

If this person does fit into your Roadmap, you also need to challenge yourself on exactly where they are going to be most effective in the project, team or organisation structure.

Be. Very. Certain.

2. Do not waste time on Talent Pipelining

It is a myth. It doesn’t work.

A candidate is not going to wait around for your opportunity to open. They are going to make the decision that makes the most amount of sense to them at their decision time.

Your talent teams ‘engaging’ with active candidates without open positions actually p*sses most of them off (we’re speaking to them too)!

If the candidate is in demand, they are going to be snatched up. Stop wasting time on it — especially during a time like this.

Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is the attraction, and your Purpose has replaced the ping pong table. Your purpose is what candidates are attracted to — invest in that.

P.S. For the dozens of companies advertising “expressions of interest” all over LinkedIn at the moment, you’re hurting your reputation — just think about it.

3. Hiring permanent staff to reach temporary goals

“Try before you buy” and / or “Be Milestone Specific.”

If you’ve (hopefully) been focused on innovating during Covid, you should have a strategy ahead of you. Is the Python Developer you’re permanently considering able to achieve Phases 1–5 or just 1–2, and exactly how is the “gun” Salesperson you are interviewing able to expand into future channels verses the ones they have been successful in (pre-Covid)?

It often comes down to a question of:

a) cost versus value — contractors usually cost ~20% more than comparative permanent employees (per hour), however they are often more ‘valuable’ considering they are represented on your Cap-ex, not Op-ex, can be on & offboarded much more efficiently & don’t attract usual costs associated with management, promotions & everything else ‘in between’.

b) IP — if you need to keep it in house, you need to keep it in house. However, almost one-in-three IT employees leave in two years or fewer.

Flexi-Hiring is here to stay. More candidates want it, more businesses are understanding it.

4. Hiring Permanent Staff? Hire on values.

Since there are a plethora of good candidates on the market, you need to be even more picky.

If your Core Values aren’t rock solid, lived and breathed by you & your team then they are just wordy distractions. Once they are embedded, you can hire much more effectively.

Your interviews need to be structured to test for + represent your core values.

5. Listen to the market.

We’ve been lucky enough to remain very busy during Covid, and have witnessed an unprecedented amount of highly-skilled candidates turn down opportunities in Q1/Q2!

The most common reason is:

bullet point on requirements

Your culture has been digitised — it has changed forever. Candidate experience was typically poor pre-Covid, now it’s abysmal!

Candidates & Hirers need to listen to each other so that you can settle on the best scenario for you both. If you aren’t listening, the candidates you want will move on. If they aren’t listening, you need to move on to a better suited candidate.

It would be great to know how you are listening to the dynamic changes in your potential candidate markets — as ‘popular talent reports’ have now peaked in inaccuracy.

Thanks for reading — reach out for any reason!

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