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Talent is out there!

By Simon on

Talent is out there and whilst finding it can sometimes feel like swimming vertically up the Niagara Falls, wonderful people can be found. It’s just about doing the right things in a consistent and considered manner and realising that it will take a little longer than normal.     

Here are a few tips that may help. 

Keep in mind that hiring is never linear – there will be bumps along the way as humans are beautiful, but complex machines that can do the most unpredictable things, such as changing their mind at the last second, and the acceptance of this fact can be quite liberating.

Your job ad and job description are two very separate parts of the process. The ad is to entice and the description is to provide a deeper insight. Do not make either bland – ones that are too long, rigid, or complex will simply put people off. Give someone an insight into your culture, and make it honest and heartfelt. Also, know exactly what you want – this is key at the start of the process. Things can evolve during a hiring process, but without knowing the true nature of what you want will end in a fruitless search.  

Turn your JD upside down and start with the benefits and why someone should work for you and how others have succeeded. Lead with your culture, ethos, career development plans, record of success, beliefs, market position etc and most of all, salary, bonus structure, plus benefits that will add value to the role and its prospects. You must show that you are tuned into the market, and current rates and have an environment where people are appreciated, not hindered.
No matter how busy you are – you must make time. To make a difference, you must make quality time. That’s your time and attention, and you must do it willingly, not as chore or rushed. Do it with wholehearted enthusiasm or don’t bother at all. Candidates will pick up on a lack of attention so be available for the people who matter. That great person may not be there tomorrow and by then, you’d wish you’d listened.    

Don’t think everyone will be interested in you. This may sound harsh but every single ‘credible’ person you meet will have other options and they will not wait for you to make up your mind. The second an apt CV lands in your inbox is the moment that person is seriously engaged. Moving quicker than your competition keeps them committed to you. Keeping someone waiting negates their enthusiasm.  

Don’t make salaries taboo – you need to recognise that avoiding the salary issue will cause you more harm than is necessary. It’s worth risking an honest debate about an individual’s expectations and what you can offer. Chances are your candidate will appreciate your candidness as well as being relieved they’ve had the chance to talk through it with you. Also, avoid wide salary guides at all costs because no one in their right mind will lock into the lower end of the scale. Also, stop asking what people earn – it smacks of getting someone on the cheap – pay what the job is worth. 

Get them on side and don’t ask ridiculous questions – you will not see the best of someone by putting them under undue pressure. Give them time and space. The more open someone is, the more you see the real person and whether they are the best fit for the role. Your role isn’t to continually edit their flow, it’s to encourage, provide guidance, support and encouragement.   

You don’t need more than two people to interview one person. Interview panels are not only putting someone at a huge psychological disadvantage, but they also belong in the 70s. This is particularly applicable to interviewing young graduates who are new to the market and often nervous. Realistically, one is enough, two at most and the interviewer(s) must understand the finer nuances of a role; its challenges, purpose and fit within the team and the wider company. 

Do not just sell, sell, sell – sit back and listen. You can miss vital areas of knowledge and expertise by over talking someone or thinking too much about what you’re going to say next. Listen more than you talk. The better you get to know someone, the more accurately you can predict how they are going to behave in your business. A deeper insight will enable you to get a better picture of how you will manage them, work with them, get the best out of them, and how you will get them to do things that are critical to the role.

Be open and honest about the true culture of the company and nature of the role – nowhere is a utopia and by being transparent about the unique aspects of a firm’s inner sanctum and scope of the role, will negate unnecessary surprises further down the line.   

Don’t make assumptions from a CV. 
Far too often people make judgements about others even before meeting them so try to put the assumptions that you’ve garnered from a CV or idle rumour to the back of your head. See people for who they are, decide on what you see rather than what you hear. In other words, make up your own mind.

Hiring is often emotional, it’s human nature to do business with people you like, and we’re not saying you shouldn’t hire people you gel with; however, you need to think about the finer details of the job and if that person can fulfil them. It’s tough but must be done. Maybe see the first interview with your head and the second, your heart, or vice-versa.

Finally, the chase for the perfect candidate is an illusory thing and spending too much time chasing it will end in tears. We feel that contentment and an appreciation of each other’s differences may be a better aim and if you do find someone where there is a small firework on display going on in your head – be happy with that.