I am often asked by my clients when approached about my coaching and training programs WHY they have so many concerns about individuals on their team.
They mention that they are always recruiting, that they spend hours – when in fact they don’t, they often recruit family members of current staff and when I ask them how long they spend interviewing – I am told 15 minutes – what I know is that 15 minutes is not long enough to really find out what the person is like.
FIRE fast, HIRE slow!
What is identified here is that they do NOT have a process to follow. If someone is recommended to them, they will hire them. They have a quick interview and are NOT treating recruitment with the respect it needs to be treated with.
When we delve deeper into the conversation and I also ask the following questions,
What are you currently doing with recruitment?
What sort of person are you looking for?
How do you know you have found the right person for your team?
Not surprisingly their response is always something like,
They have past experience in this industry.
They have the right skill set.
They have provided examples of their past work.
They come highly recommended.
Most of these conversations also uncover that their recruitment criteria is always background and skills based.
The criteria is NOT people based and they have not really considered the type of person they need them to be?
Did you know there are 10 major steps to successful recruitment?
Let’s unpack Step 1,
Defining Your Needs
The key to effective staff selection is identifying and planning your requirements and three major questions need to be asked.
- What are the weaknesses and strengths of my current team?
- What gaps do I need to fill?
- What do I need to do to find this person or people?
You can teach people great skills but you can’t teach people to have a great personality, to have the right attitude and how to fit into your team. You have got to recruit that!
Once you have considered your current team’s strengths and weaknesses, the next part of this step is to develop a Person Specification for the best possible person to join your team.
For example, one of my hospitality clients reframed their recruitment process and really focussed on their person specification first and background and skill set second.
The result is that that they found the right people and after working with them in my training program I can clearly see they are going to be lovely to work with and they were a pleasure to train.
How do I know I have found the right person?
Attitude – What does this person enjoy doing? What should they have a positive attitude about?
They are NOT people you are going to have to keep pushing, knowing that if you don’t push them they will fall back into being passive employees. Not smiling as much, energy levels drop off, and the reality of that is that it is exhausting.
For example, some years ago now, a highly valued team member taught me a really big lesson in an exit interview after he had resigned.
He shared with me that he was exhausted. I sat there thinking, what how can you be exhausted? He was delivering half the amount of training programs I was at the time and I certainly wasn’t exhausted.
We talked about it and he said something really interesting to me, he said,
You love this work, you don’t have to motivate yourself it is exactly where you are supposed to be. You love being in front of the room working with people and the difference is, I have to make myself do it.
I replied and said, “but you do a really good job” and he said “yes, I know I do, thank you I appreciate that but the level to which I have to generate myself is exhausting, it is NOT my natural expression”.
My point here is, when people find things exhausting, it is NOT their true expression and they are NOT in their right environment.
Even though I teach this I realised I didn’t actually follow my advice I tried to make someone into someone they are NOT. And he was never going to be able to fulfill his role long term.
Not to say that they can’t do it, but for how long can they keep it up?
When you have team members who can do it but it is not really them and they don’t really have the right attitude and personality – it’s exhausting for them and for you!
Constantly having to be on them all the time is exhausting. For example, if ever a staff member greets a customer without a smile, especially when they are in a front line service position – you have just set yourself up for a whole lot of work.
Which leads me to,
Personality – What type of person should they be like? What personality traits should they have, specifically behavioural, that is describing – what the person says, or does.
And of course,
Experience – What knowledge and skills do they require? You need to decide the desirable and critical experience you are looking for.
Be careful though, you do NOT want to shift your focus from your person specification back to background and skill set! Skills can be taught, personality, and attitude cannot.
If you’re a venue who has a gaming area for example, where the staff need to be licenced or in an industry that requires a qualification, ask yourself can this be easy set up for your new recruit to complete as part of their onboarding process or whilst working in their role.
The biggest mistake people make when recruiting, is that it is all about previous experience they think the right person must have previous experience.
Unfortunately, in most cases, when you prioritise past experience, you set yourself up to recruit people with bad habits and you will spend most of your time and energy focussed on retraining them. Sometimes it is best to start with a clean slate!
When I am recruiting for my hospitality clients for example, I don’t care what experience they have had, as long as they love serving people and being of service, I know I can train and upskill them.
I did a service based group interview for a client recently and it went really well. My client was able to see that the value of this group interview was in actually watching the candidates.
Observing how they serve.
Observing their eye-contact and how much they hold eye contact.
Observing whether they have that natural smile.
Observing how they participate.
And we had prepared ourselves with a checklist, Did they arrive on time? How did they dress? Plus, lots more other important elements.
It’s important to note, we deliberately didn’t tell them how to dress – my client wrote to me and asked should we tell them how to dress? I said NO, I want to see what they decide to wear to an interview. I want to know, what are they thinking about when they prepare themselves for an interview.
For example, one guy was in shorts, we all thought that was a bit too casual, he had the right personality but overall, we were all left with this underlying question – is that really what you should wear to an interview?
I was supporting a colleague around his recruitment for trainers to deliver one of his programs.
His opening line was, Craig I need to recruit trainers. Knowing this wonderful program as well as I do, I replied and said,
The biggest mistake you are going to make is calling them trainers! You don’t need trainers; you need people who can deliver your program.
I then went on to explain to him, that his program is so well designed that the people you recruit are simply, delivering your program process, so what you need is people with the right personality and the right attitude, people who, love being in front of people and love learning.
And I shared with him my story of working with Shell and training trainers all around the world in 25 countries and in 16 languages and most had NO previous training experience.
We noticed them in other courses they had participated in, WHY? because they stood out, so we chose them and taught them how to run our program. The course was so well designed it was simply a matter of training them in the program process.
I watched another companies program held in Sydney and to be honest, I thought the trainers were pretty average but when I read the course evaluation provided by the participants, overall people loved the course and they gave it a really high score.
The gold was in what they had said – they loved that the course was designed to include lots of participation. They spent a lot of the time completing one on one exercises or playing group games and receiving feedback.
What I realised was that it was the design of the course and the course process that won the participants – it was the course they loved NOT necessarily the trainers. The actual course was so damn good the course was always going to win in its own right.
Of course it is better to have people with great personality in front of the room but they don’t need to have previous training experience.
My point being,
You get your course design and course process right, the right people are going to do a great job delivering the process.
One thing I would also note, the trainers I observed – did stick to the process. They didn’t change it and that clearly worked really well. You could see these guys knew the process really well, they had obviously been coachable and open to feedback during their training.
I trust this ‘sneak-peak’ article has got you thinking about your recruitment process. In next week’s Blog I will discuss Step 2 – Attracting the Best Possible Person.
If you would like to have a chat with me about how the 10 Major Steps to Successful Recruitment can support you in finding the Best Possible Person contact me I look forward to hearing from you.