Managing Expectations When Recruiting

There are two major problems that any recruiter faces when beginning the process of recruitment in-house or as a recruitment consultancy:

1. Getting departments/clients to create a realistic candidate profile

It’s so easy for a client to create a wish-list rather than a real candidate profile. A good recruiter uses the tools inbuilt into their recruitment system to help the client turn their dream into a recruitable reality. Many candidate specs look more like ‘hire us James Bond with Dr Sheldon Cooper’s brain’ than a realistic approach to recruitment and the skill of a recruitment consultant is to hone impossible desires into hireable characteristics.

Example - ‘You’ve asked us to find a “particle physicist with a great phone manner” and our recruitment database suggests that while we can shortlist several physicists with the right academic qualifications, none of them have evidence of phone skills. However, using our applicant tracking system we’ve found several potential candidates who regularly give presentations and symposia - that would suggest they have the right transferable skills to meet your needs. How about we shortlist them and highlight the appropriate communications experience in their candidate summaries?’

Focusing on PAE (Personality, Aptitude, Experience) is another great way to get the client to recognise the actual skills of the candidate.

Example - ‘Our employment software has consolidated the details of your current team and reveals that the following candidates have personalities likely to mesh well with your existing personnel. In addition, the applicant tracking system process has shown that these candidates have the aptitude to rapidly adapt to your way of doing things so you will have a shorter lag time before productivity. Finally these shortlisted individuals have experience that checks out as meaning they will arrive fully equipped to learn and fit in.’

2. Convincing the client that the available candidates are right for the job - even if they don't quite match the profile

Clients can get very engaged with their imaginary profiles rather than with the reality of finding candidates. It’s a bit like online dating - when you get to express what you want, your imagination can soar! And just like online dating, the reality can be disappointing if expectations haven’t been managed. Recruitment software can be an amazing aid to the expectation management process.

Example - ‘Thinking about what would happen if you could only have three of your six key responsibilities filled in a single person - let’s say you get locked into the building in an emergency with just one other person - which of those responsibilities is the most vital? We have candidates who could fulfil 1,2 and 6 and others who meet 2,3,4 and 5, but not 1. Which constellation of qualities is the most important? Where else could the lower-ranked responsibilities be fulfilled within your existing organisation?’

Sometimes clients need to be encouraged to think a little longer term than just ‘finding’ the right candidate.

Example - ‘Can we look at the candidate profile in terms of retention? You want to get the best performer into your organisation and keep them there, so let’s explore what might make somebody a good performer for the long term. For example, we have candidates who’ve positively impacted their current company’s bottom line. Our recruitment software also highlights some candidates with highly rated transferable skills who are likely to be productive for you from day one. How would you factor those aspects into your decision making?’

Recruitment software, expectation management and successful recruitment

Sometimes the best candidate is obvious, sometimes it takes some expectation management to identify them, but in all cases, recruitment software’s powerful ability to handle data in imaginative ways can benefit the recruitment consultant, their client and the recruitment candidates.

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