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James Caan: Why recruiters should never underestimate the job brief

The secret to placing the best candidate is finding somebody who fits the company culture. In other words, matching people with people.

My 30 years of recruitment experience makes me a bit of an expert in the field. I’m always asked the secret behind my success and my answer is always the same; I understand the importance of people. Recruitment is all about people. We spend so much time pitching to candidates and selling that sometimes, we forget to pay attention to the basics. By basics I mean step one. By step one I mean the job brief.

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I’ve probably read more briefs than you’ve had hot dinners and despite much dismay, creating an effective job brief isn’t a quick 10 minute job – it is the lengthiest process you will go through and should always be meticulously thought out.

Taking a complete job brief is step one in any recruitment process but you’ll be surprised how many people do it wrong. Your job brief sets the foundations and if you don’t spend your time getting it right I can guarantee you’ll live to regret your decision. As a recruiter, you need to get take this opportunity to learn everything and anything you may need to know about the position; who is the ideal candidate? What is their career background? What potential career progression does the role offer? Why would someone leave their job to join your client and most importantly, what kind of person are they looking for? Understanding the type of characteristics your client is looking for in a new employee is critical.

The secret to placing the best candidate is finding somebody who fits the company culture. In other words, matching people with people. To do this, you need to ask the right questions, gather as much information as possible and fully understand the needs of your client. Remember, anything you don’t ask could be the reason you don’t succeed.

To help with this, I suggest creating a list of every potential question such as candidate requirements, details of the job opportunity and business visions. Ask your client to describe the previous person in the role and find out what made them successful. That way you can match up characteristics and have a better chance of placing a candidate within your target timeline. Remember that your time is precious so you need to be looking for candidates who fit your client’s needs. How are you going to do this if you haven’t got the brief right? You could end up wasting your time looking for the wrong person with the wrong skills.

By making the effort to really nail the brief, you can begin to redefine and qualify expectations through debriefing with hiring managers.

Being thorough and concise helps to confirm a timeline and secure time for potential interviews.

There are so many people out there giving recruiters a bad name by offering a poor, insufficient service and there are some people out there who are only interested in sealing the deal. Understanding the importance of step one will help diminish the preconceptions your client and candidates may have made – make them feel like you really care! That’s the best and easiest way to ensure success. Doing this will put you in a much better position to sell the role to the candidate and in time, sell the candidate to the employer.

Despite popular misconception, people move jobs for opportunity, not just for a pay rise, so be sure to show your candidate room for career growth and any added benefits. In a nutshell, the job brief is every recruiter’s perfect opportunity to succeed. Use it to your advantage. I promise you will not be disappointed.

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About The Author

James Caan CBE is one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs. He made his fortune through the global success of his Recruitment companies, Alexander Mann and Humana International, before founding private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw based in Mayfair, London. He is best known for joining the panel of the hit BBC show Dragons’ Den and The Business Class on CNBC. A passionate supporter of small businesses, James recently stepped down as chairman of the Government’s Start Up Loans scheme, which provides funding and mentoring to budding entrepreneurs. James is a keen supporter of many charities and set up The JCF in 2006 predominantly to help underprivileged children get access to education.

My 30 years of recruitment experience makes me a bit of an expert in the field. I’m always asked the secret behind my success and my answer is always the same; I understand the importance of people. Recruitment is all about people. We spend so much time pitching to candidates and selling that sometimes, we forget to pay attention to the basics. By basics I mean step one. By step one I mean the job brief. Attention Recruiters See Live Jobs on SplitFee.org – Don’t Miss Out It's FREE if you Join Now! I’ve probably read more briefs than you’ve had hot dinners…

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