Recruiting Specialist Staff

How to hire people with more experience than you

A major area of concern, especially for SMEs and startup organisations, is how to hire staff with more experience or more qualifications than those of the recruiter. Should it happen? If so, how can you choose the right candidate if you don’t have their experience?

Using recruitment software may not be an obvious solution, but our experience in helping companies and recruitment agencies,to master this key skill, has suggested that an effective recruitment system is crucial to success in hiring high-quality candidates.

The problems are twofold - (a) understanding the candidates and their skills and (b) understanding how they will fit into an organisation, especially when their role may have disproportionate impact on the whole business.

Recruitment software to find high calibre candidates

One of the really amazing attributes of online recruitment software is that it offers a huge range of ways of manipulating data so that you can compare many different attributes between candidates. This means you can look at similar candidates in a number of ways:

  • Have they given papers or presented at events in common with each other?
  • How often have they received awards or bonuses?
  • Do they belong to similar organisations, if so at what level are they?
  • Do they describe networking at similar events or exploiting similar opportunities - if so, how successful were they?

While this doesn’t necessarily help you understand them - for example if you’re recruiting a molecular biologist you will not have a clearer understanding of molecular biology at the end if this process - you are likely to have a clear way of ranking the candidates and to have discovered some great questions you can ask, based on their group data.

Watch candidate footwork with recruitment software

Applicant tracking software is another useful tool when trying to find high-calibre recruits or specialist candidates outside your own expertise. While easy-to-use recruitment software can’t pick the winning candidate for you (if only it could!) it has the ability to show you how rapidly and how effectively the candidates are communicating. For a recruitment agency this is one of the ninja skills hidden by the term ‘recruitment software solution’ because it reveals half-hearted or uncommunicative candidates and can also show up instant responses which may suggest the apparently high-flying candidate is unemployed or underemployed. While neither of these in necessarily a negative, it allows you to compare their responses to what they’ve said about their current position and form some conclusions about their real circumstances.

Use employment software to create great interview questions

Using the matrix of evidence that we described above can generate brilliant questions even when you don’t have a mastery of the candidate’s field of expertise. Exploring their experience of a key event from Brexit to an international symposium in their field, from their view on a subject that’s key in their field through to inviting them to explain how they might bring others in the organisation up to speed on their own specialist skills. Remember that how somebody answers a question can be as important as what they answer. This can, for example, show you how they will handle less skilled or experienced colleagues, whether they undervalue or overvalue their own assets, how equipped they are to communicate their own expertise etc.

Add all this together and you have a complete system to evaluate and hire even supremely qualified candidates - recruitment software can help you hire the best of the best with no headaches.

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