Recruitment is one of those tasks that is daunting, time consuming and at the same time exciting and energising. It is a task in which you are critically assessing people, and your decision will have a major impact on everyone involved. What are we assessing them against? How qualified are we to say that this person is better or worse than that person? How can you really know if you are making the right decision and choosing the “perfect person”?
The answer is we don’t know. Every new person you bring into your team is a balance of your greatest risk, but also your greatest opportunity. Moving from traditional assessments against a set of criteria and towards a more inclusive and open-minded recruitment process is essential to tip the balance towards success.
Here are a few tips that may help to open up and potentially create a more inclusive recruitment process.
Understand your role
Take the time to look at the role you are recruiting. What is essential? What are the goals / outcomes required? Who do they interact with, and what is the opportunity? Starting with a holistic view of the role rather than a set of criteria sets the tone.
Leave your opinions and perspective at the door, when you read an application or enter the interview, remember that it is about that person and understanding their perspective, story and approach. When you assume, apply a stereotype or apply your own perspective to them you are not considering them in an open / inclusive way.
Look for potential and opportunity, by asking questions and probing answers that will highlight how they do things rather than what they do. We all approach things differently and it is important to find out the way they go about things rather than just the outputs or results they achieve. By understanding how they approach their work, what support they need and what is important to them you can see how they might work within your workplace.
Genuinely ask them what they are looking for and where they want to go – the role may have a defined set of tasks and a development path built in but give them the opportunity to see how that might work. If you have some flexibility, allow yourself and the company to look to meeting their ambitions and incorporating them into the position.
Be open to possibilities.
Connect naturally and let the conversation flow, there is nothing that kills a recruitment process faster than an interrogation or a stilted question and answer session. When you let the conversation take its course you will be surprised where it goes and what connection and potential you might find.
Take the time to really get to know them over a number of conversations with different people from your team or peer group. Share about yourself, the team and the company, both the positives and negatives, that will endear the right candidate and discourage the wrong one.
Cultural “Fit” is a word that has been overused as a vague cover-all excuse for rejecting candidates. It can be full of bias, discrimination, and personal preferences that are emotionally and intellectually difficult to articulate with facts. A rejection of a candidate should never just be based on their “fit”. It should be based on your honest appraisal for the candidate delivered in a respectful way. If you are worried that the candidate may be offended by the reason you are rejecting them, then it is a good time to reflect on the reason you are rejecting them.
Take time and a chance
Take your time, in a busy, candidate short market there is pressure to seal the deal, rush the process or make snap decisions. This is one of the biggest decisions you will make for the person, your team, the business and you, so take the time and if you lose someone as you’re not moving fast enough or you weren’t ready to go, then they may not be the person you needed.
On the flip side there really is only one way to find out if they are right and that is to take the plunge, and give them a chance!
There is a role for every person – it is just making sure you find the right one and that takes openness, vulnerability and understanding from all involved.