How to Recruit the Best Candidates: What I Look for

How to Recruit the Best Candidates: What I Look for

There are a number of ways to vet new candidates. How do we as recruiters ensure we are putting forward the best man, or woman, for the job? How does a hiring manager make sure they are bringing the best candidate into the organisation?


This is one topic that everyone has an opinion on, no one is necessarily right or wrong and everyone will make mistakes from time to time.


The problem with the way most recruit.

The truth is even after the most rigorous interview process the ultimate test is seeing the recruit in action. I know of a few candidates that on the face of their CV or qualifications would struggle to get a job however you put them in front of a challenge or pile on the pressure and they are machines. The problem is how would you know this without actually taking the plunge and giving them a chance. A few enterprising individuals might take this risk but more often than not a hiring manager will always go for the safer option on paper.


A common picture and perception from outside of recruitment is that recruiters sift through candidates based on key words. Some even rely on automated word searches and don't read the CV at all. Then once the computer has picked some candidates a mail shot is sent out to those individuals. This is another sifting process as only a percentage of those will be looking for work or interested in the role. The end result is a group of candidates that may or may not be a good fit. Generally a short qualifying call follows before the recruiter sends the CV over to the client. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying this is always the case, but it is the perception from candidates.


So what is the answer?


Adopt a human-first approach to recruiting.

For me it is simple. I don't rely on computers to automate my selection, I get to know the people on my database. I think of candidates as colleagues. There is no replacing the personal human touch and for me it works. So many people out there rely on LinkedIn or other Social Media for finding candidates. These are great tools but shouldn't be the only tool.


What is important to me in a candidate?

First and foremost I look at the person and ask myself if I could work with them. If I couldn't work with them then why should my client. I then look at their history and qualities. I need to be comfortable that they will be a good fit for the client. I don't necessarily get fixated on their qualifications. Whilst this can be a useful  guide for me their history, experience and references from their peers are far more important.


A number of candidates that I have placed have become good friends over the years. This works well for everyone. Not only do we enjoy friendship, but also we both benefit from future placement opportunities. How much better is it for me to go to a client and tell them that I have an excellent Test Manager or Test Analyst available and I can guarantee their professionalism and abilities as opposed to, here are a few CV's I have been sent today.


All the above is also true in the reverse when looking at my clients. Similarly many of my clients have become good friends. They trust me to provide what they need, when they need it and I understand their business almost as well as they do so I can be sure to only match the right candidate.

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