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  • Writer's pictureLoen Miles

11 Tips for Successful Recruiting During Lockdown

I've met a few people recently who have had some really awful recruitment experiences over the past few months, in part facing the virtual interview, but mostly due to ill manners of those on the business side failing to meet even the lowest of expectations – like turning up!

My experience of recruitment over the past 20 years has taken a dive from the early 2000’s, where recruiters got back to you quickly, spoke to you like a human being and explored options through mindful and eager conversation. Downwards through the 00’s and even more so in the 20-teens, to a point we seem to have reached down-right ignorance.

Now, let me be clear, this is in no way ALL recruiters I'm talking about here, there are still good recruiters out there and even you may still find this blog post useful. The experiences of many though, seem to, at present, be down right awful and I for one find this incredibly disappointing. How on earth do employers expect to get decent people on their payroll if they insist on treating them like something they trod on, or worse – not even noticing they’ve trodden on something?!

It’s simple people, how can anyone not get it? PEOPLE MATTER, they are the future of your business, YOUR FUTURE SUCCESS. They are the ones that, when you recruit them, will make you look great, will help you achieve awesome things, they ARE your future, and yet some recruiters treat them like dirt.

Now, let me be clear, it's not every person in recruitment - some have it down and are highly efficient and skilled at it, but in my lengthy experience as an interim worker and employee, it's more often than not that recruiters fall foul of the appropriate standards and, from what I've been hearing/reading recently, lockdown is doing nothing to improve it.

People make business, even in this day and age where tech is taking over, it still needs people to drive it, to sell it, to purchase it, to build it and to look after the people doing all these things. Without great people you will fail. So please, please, PLEASE start treating them right – and this means from before they even think of applying for the role in your team.

Now, before I get to the ‘what you need to do’ section of this blog, I want to share with you why your reputation matters. Just in case you don't yet get it.

You treat one person badly, they will spread the word, it’s so easy to do these days with media at our fingertips. Even back in 2004 when I was offered a great job I was about to accept but, after hearing too many bad things about the employer, I chose to decline. It wasn’t how they’d, treated me; it was how I learnt they’d treated other people. I found this out by word of mouth and did I really want to work for an employer like that? NO. It was an £8K salary increase (a lot for a recent grad) but I rejected it because of the company reputation. It happened back then and it will happen more and more as the generations progress, media is quick to spread the word and judge and people are becoming less concerned with salary and more concerned with ethics and respect. So, for those of you out there who fail to treat others with dignity, you are soon going to find life a heck of a lot harder, and in my opinion, so. you. should!

It’s not difficult to treat people well in recruitment, as I said, we have technology to help us with automated response options galore – we don’t even have to respond to everyone in person to treat them with respect, we simply have to set the system up to respond! Don't get me wrong, if you can respond in person, then great, but I appreciate some roles have literally 100's if not 1000's of applications which simply cannot be responded to personally.

So, here are my 11 tips in ensuring respectful and future proofed recruiting success:

1. Thank people for applying and give them an indication of next steps/when they should hear back from you.

Note: Most recruiting tools will enable tailored auto-responses, simple job!

2. Be realistic about time-scales, and if you take longer than anticipated, even by a day, make sure you update applicants – otherwise they will assume it's a 'no' and look elsewhere meaning you could lose them.

3. Respond to unsuccessful candidates with a kindly considered thanks but no thanks message – make sure they all hear from you or your reputation will suffer.

4. Respond to successful interview candidates personally – NEVER automate this stage, or any stage after this point.

5. Once interviews are arranged, TURN UP TO THEM AND TURN UP ON TIME! I’ve heard a number of people recently have been left waiting for ten minutes for interviewers to turn up on virtual interviews. For pity sake folks, you don’t even have to travel anywhere, you simply need to log in! Some have even had interviewers not turn up at all - would you EVER do this if it was in person? This I am dumbfounded with, I’m not currently job hunting, but if I were and if this happened to me, I would literally explode – how anybody can treat someone this way is beyond me and, judging by reactions I’ve seen on media and in person, I’m far from alone in this! Be sure to log in 10 mins or more before the interview is scheduled, that way you have time to sort any tech issues, read through their application one more time and finalise your prep - so you come across as someone the candidate want to work with.

6. During the interview, be interested in the interviewee. Simply put, shut up and listen! How can you learn anything about someone else while you’re talking? Ask your questions and then keep shtum. Remember the old adage of two ears one mouth? Well, keep reminding yourself of this when interviewing – speak only to share useful information about the company/job and ask questions (max 1/3rds interview), then listen to them the rest of the time (at least 2/3rds interview).

7. Ask relevant and open questions, not about their family, kids, background etc. Why do you need to know this? What you do need to know is their work experience, when they’ve been happy at work, when they’ve been challenged, what kind of management style they respond to best and how they've overcome barriers in work situations in the past. All this and of course their technical expertise for the role.

8. At the end of the interview explain next steps and expected timescales. Invite them to ask any questions they still have and thank them for taking the time to prep and attend.

9. Follow up within the timescales you shared with candidates – if this isn’t possible, let them know that it’s not possible and that you haven’t forgotten about them… and if you keep over promising on timescales, carry out a lessons learnt and extend your timescales to fit!

10. Respond to candidates personally for both yes and no responses. Make sure you’re clear on why the results are as is and be prepared to share feedback with the no’s to help them achieve greater things for the future. If you want to learn more about giving great feedback, watch this space – it’s next on my blog list!

11. Keep in touch with the successful candidate – DO NOT forget about them until they start, you're at risk of losing them if they think they've been forgotten before even starting in the role!

I could go on, but I won’t! I hope you’ve found these tips (and my rant!) helpful! If you’ve enjoyed the read - or perhaps you think it could be useful to someone you know, please like and share this blog to help us get the word out!

Happy days people – stay safe, well and respectful through these challenging times.

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