Three top tips for successful recruitment – or how to avoid doing the school run in disguise!

The summer holidays may be drawing to a close (sorry!!), but that often means people return from their break having used the breathing space to draw up a list of home or office improvements that they’re keen to address in the last quarter of the year.  Which can be great news for you!

But when the phone is ringing off the hook and the increased work means that estimates start to back up and invoicing gets behind, many business owners decide they need extra help.  Usually with admin.  So they look to recruit. In a hurry.

But that’s where things can start to go wrong.  Speed recruiting is never ideal.  But when you need someone ASAP who can hit the ground running it can be tempting to be drawn into what we like to call ‘school gate recruitment’, where you opt for a parent at the school, or a friend or family member.  They need some extra money, are looking for work and can start immediately.  And you are up to your eyes in admin and need an extra pair of hands.  Sounds ideal doesn’t it?

But recruiting in this way, rather than following a more traditional path, can come with complications.  Just because a person is available, it doesn’t mean they have the right skills for the job, and there is potential for them to do more harm than good for your business.  And if they don’t have the right skills, or the ability to acquire them quickly then you are effectively setting that person up to fail.  Which is unpleasant for all concerned.  And can make for a very awkward school run in the future.

Alison Warner, Managing Director at Evolve and Grow Coaching recalls: “We had one client who decided to employ his wife to handle the admin; which is not uncommon.  But in this case it just didn’t work.  She didn’t actually have the right skill set for the job so was not able to add the value to the business that he’d anticipated.  Plus they really struggled to manage the transition between being husband and wife versus employer and employee.  To the point where a row at home could lead to a downing of tools at work!”

So, to help make sure you hire the right person from the start, we’ve put together our three top tips for recruitment.

  1. A clear idea of what you need – make a list of the skills and attitudes that you’re looking for and use that to create a job advert and description. Fitting the person to a well thought out job spec is far preferable to starting with the person and trying to fit the job around them.
  2. A fair and analytical hiring process – start with telephone interviews and ensure that you ask everyone the same questions. Take notes of each candidate’s answers, so you can fairly compare them afterwards. Then conduct face to face interviews with your preferred three or four applicants. This is your chance to dig a little deeper.  Again, ask the same questions to all and record the answers.  There are some helpful templates for conducting both telephone and face to face interviews on our website.
  3. Consider psychometric testing – it’s easy to think that if you know someone, and get on with them, then that relationship will work as employer and employee, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

Psychometric testing allows you to look at both a candidate’s ability and personality, in an unbiased way, and can be a real aid in making recruitment decisions. A personality test will highlight how likely someone is to enjoy the role while general reasoning indicates how quickly they might hit the ground running.  These are extremely useful indicators which can be used in conjunction with your other selection processes.

So, if you’re looking to hire, it might be worth avoiding the school gate as a recruitment ground.  Try these top tips instead to make sure that you get the right person for your business and don’t have to resort to making the kids ninja roll from a moving car every morning or doing the school run in disguise just so you can avoid that parent you had to ‘let go’.