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The three watchwords of the successful recruiter

Three factors which go a long way towards guaranteeing an effective recruitment practice

Quantity, quality and longevity are the three key metrics in talent acquisition for successful recruiters. Here’s why.

The recruitment professional depends (for career and financial advancement) on successfully and consistently matching excellent candidates who are looking for rewarding new roles with employers who are looking for excellent candidates to fill new positions.

As any recruiter will testify, there is no real fail-safe magic formula or equation for accomplishing this task: where humans are involved, there will always be a margin of error. There are, however, three factors which go a long way towards guaranteeing an effective recruitment practice which delivers the desired outcome time and time again.

  1. Quantity

If your client has five positions to fill, you clearly need to identify more than five candidates to present to them, essentially as an insurance policy. High calibre individuals are a relatively rare commodity and they will be in demand. They may receive offers from other employers or inducements to remain with their current organisation. In other words, you can’t assume that you are the only iron in their fire.

Similarly, even the best candidates may have characteristics which render them less than ideal for an employer or they may decide that the new company is not their preferred working environment. It’s also something of an axiom in recruitment that the most diligent, professional search for employees will occasionally throw up the odd dud.

An individual may have superb paper credentials and have an excellent track record in their current role, but there may be background factors which make their skills less transferable. Time and effort spent identifying more candidates than are apparently needed will be amply rewarded.

  1. Quality

Identifying the best candidates for any given job is critically important. The key to success in this area is information. Clearly, you need to arm yourself with as much detail as possible about potential candidates and their career to date. This involves talking to them and understanding their motivations as well as creating a narrative of their formal qualifications and work history.

Many recruiters find examining an individual’s contribution on social media to be a productive exercise and it is true that people reveal aspects of themselves when they engage with the world through Twitter and Facebook.

That said, candidates are aware as to the potential of the Internet to make or break careers and they will often keep their social media accounts as bland and factual as possible or they may sanitise their accounts and purge them of any even vaguely controversial content. In this case, you are unlikely to learn much of value. Increasingly, recruitment professionals are using psychometric testing to distinguish the best candidates and there is compelling evidence to suggest that these tests are accurate.

The search for excellence, however, isn’t just about being familiar with the candidate. Understanding the employer, their workplace and the position on offer is essential, not only to find people who are equipped for the work but also so that you can give accurate information to candidates. This helps not only with eliminating individuals who are less suitable but it also helps to ensure that candidates know what to expect, making them significantly more likely to remain with their employer over the long term.

  1. Longevity

Longevity of hires is, of course, a benchmark by which recruiters are judged: quick staff turnaround is expensive and time-consuming for businesses and puts a drag on growth. Making sure that you have given candidates a scrupulously honest impression of the potential employer is central to ensuring that they will remain in the job for more than a few weeks or months.

It is also worth examining their work history to establish whether they have a record of spending short periods with employers since this pattern is likely to be firmly entrenched. It may indicate a restlessness or difficulties in working with others. In any event, it is bad news for an employer.

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