It’s all about finding the right recruitment agency for your business
Questions to ask the prospective Recruitment Agency
- Do they specialise in your market, are they generalist with specialist departments, or is their total business focused in your market?
- How long have they been operating for? Bear in mind that they may have just diversified into your market and may not have served the length of time they are claiming.
- Have they recruited for your competitors or similar establishments
- Do they have a consultative approach i.e. will they provide you with direction and advice?
- What evidence do they have that demonstrates their experience and expertise?
- Can they commit to working to an agreed deadline and budget?
- Are they willing to come to meet with you and spend the appropriate time to get to know your business?
- Do you have the confidence in their ability to be confidential and to deliver?
Expectations of your Recruitment Agency
The role of the Recruitment Agency
The agency’s role is to understand your business needs and culture, to source, vet and interview appropriate candidates efficiently and effectively, and to ultimately provide you with a shortlist of qualified candidates.
The benefit of using a Recruitment Agency
Working with a professional Recruitment Agency will make a noticeable difference as it will save you time to get on with other aspects of your business, more importantly the agency will provide you with guidance and direction in accessing the very best candidate.
Preparing a job specification
The more detail you provide, the more accurate the agency will be able to make its search and brief the candidates about the role. Start by writing down the job specification, this will allow you to assess what the position/s requires in terms of skills, experience and personal profile.
Timelines and budgets
Set realistic timeframes for reviewing resumes and the interview process, as often it can take longer than you think. It is equally important to know your budget and provide this information to your agency, as they can advise you on the current market rates.
Developing a successful relationship with your agency
Establish clear lines of communication and managing expectation.
Keeping in touch with your consultancy
The agency will be working with you thus it is important have regular contact and give them timely information. If they don’t know what’s happening at your end it becomes difficult for them to keep abreast of developments.
Agency advice and guidance
The agency will advise you on how they think the candidates match up against each other, their salary expectations, how likely you are to find what you are looking for, and whether you are in any danger of losing the candidate you are after to another business.
Conducting Effective Interviews
- Be clear about what you are trying to achieve, and review the questions to be asked and the decision parameters.
- The setting should be comfortable and business-like in a private area away from telephones and other interruptions, and accessible to candidates with disabilities.
- Have a note pad, pen or pencil and a glass of water to drink available for the candidate.
Create a comfortable environment
- Welcome candidates and establish rapport. Introduce yourself and/or the panel members and explain the purpose and format of the interview.
- Maintain a relaxed, positive, interested, enthusiastic and encouraging manner. Use positive body language such as; making frequent eye contact and face the candidate squarely.
- If the candidate starts looking uncomfortable, use supportive non-verbal messages such as; a smile, a nod of the head, use words like “yes” and “please go on” to encourage the candidate to be relaxed and to talk.
Ask questions effectively
- If the question is complex, break it down to ensure the candidate does not become confused or overwhelmed, try to use one idea or thought per question and avoid reading your questions.
- After asking a question give the candidate time to respond and reassure him/her take the time to answer, and resist the temptation to break the silence.
- If the candidate gives a response that clearly shows they did not understand the question, you should restate or rephrase the question.
- Summarise or paraphrase any answers that may be vague, unclear, ambiguous or incomplete to ensure that you understand the intended meaning of the answer.
- Use probing questions such as: “I’m not sure I understand completely. Would you elaborate on that for me please?” Avoid prompting or leading the candidate to figure out the answer you want to hear.
Listen actively and carefully
- Listening well is a matter of paying close attention to what is being said. Listen for the central ideas not just the facts being presented.
- Focus on what the candidate is communicating and be open-minded to what the candidate is saying even though you may initially disagree with it.
Tips on taking effective notes
- Note taking is essential as it helps you be stay focused and retain important details.
- Good note taking involves writing clearly and accurately, observing and listening for what is said and for what is not said.
- Be brief in your note taking, use phrases and make use of abbreviations, short sentences, sentence fragments, and bullet points.
- Don’t try to record everything you hear, you only need enough to stimulate your recall. Make sure you get down the main ideas, facts and key terms.
- Be unobtrusive in your note-taking and reassure candidates that you are listening, even when you are taking notes. If you are taking notes, look up as frequently as possible to maintain eye contact.
How to manage the time efficiently
- Start and finish on time and keep the interview process on track.
- At the beginning of the interview advise, the candidates how amount of time is allocated and how many questions there are.
- Move through the questions at a reasonable pace and keep to the time limits set for the interview.
- At mid point in the interview, advise the candidate how many questions and time there is remaining.
- If it helps you manage the time, place a small clock or a watch within the vision of you and the candidate.
Sell the position, team and company
- Open the conversation with an enthusiastic introduction of the business, opportunities, challenges, and goals, and highlight the values and vision.
- Move onto the ins and outs of the job by describing the exciting work, challenges, and responsibilities. Show how the position fits in with the overall business goals and how they can contribute.
- Stick to the truth and do not make false promises in an attempt to reel in a prized employee. This will only lead to a dissatisfied employee who may leave your organisation.
- Remember the old adage ‘actions speak louder than words’. Give the candidate a grand tour of your establishment and introduce him/her to potential colleagues and managers and allow them to have a chat.
How to conclude positively
- Closing the interview can be as important as how you open it.
- Maintain the rapport and leave the candidate with a positive impression.
- Let the candidate know what the next steps are.
- Do not make any remarks that could be construed as a decision has already been made.
- If the candidate is not suitable for the position, do not advise him/her of this at the interview.
- Conclude with a warm, friendly close, and thank the candidate for his/her time.
After the interview
- Immediately after each interview, go over your notes while everything is still fresh in your mind.
- Clear-up illegible writing, check for errors, fill in any gaps and write a summary in accordance to your decision parameters.
- Be sure to leave sufficient time between interviews to rate candidates and to allow the interview team members to take a quick break if needed.
Tips on conducting a successful telephone interview
- Review the job requirements, candidate’s resume, cover letter and profile.
- Have a copy of the current job description and posting available.
- Develop appropriate questions with an outline what you expect for answers.
- Prepare a brief overview about your establishment and position.
- Block out an appropriate amount of time to conduct interviews, write notes and avoid interruptions.
- Your call will be the candidate’s first contact with you, so make it pleasant.
- Provide the candidate with a brief introduction of yourself, and make him/her feel comfortable.
- Present a general overview of the position and career opportunity.
- Listen to what the candidate says and how it is said and make good and concise notes.
- Ask each candidate some key questions, and if you notice inconsistencies then question these.
- Take time to answer the candidate’s questions.
- Make commitments and promises you can keep.
- Explain the next steps in the interview process.