There is an old adage ‘it is not what you say to people it is how you make them feel’ that really resonates with me. Having recently been at an international conference in the US for our NPA network there was a lot of discussion around giving people an experience that leaves them with a new skill, a lightbulb moment or a new learning, regardless of the purpose of the meeting or the outcome. It got me thinking, every interaction we have with our clients and candidates is an opportunity for learning and growth, for them and for us. I’ve explored how this applies in the culture-fit recruitment space in this month’s blog.

Sharing knowledge and experience helps build trust and relationships for the long-term.

As consultants focused on finding the right culture-fit, it’s important we don’t leave clients in the dark or keep our methods cased in secrecy. We need to include our clients as we progress through the process so they understand, trust in what we set out to achieve and take ownership of the steps we take to find their new recruit, so they too can develop the skills they need to recognise a culture-fit candidate. It also gives clients greater confidence when they discuss future roles with me. People who are informed and aware make smart choices and I see my role as helping my clients understand how we select the right candidate for the right role for the benefit of their business over the long term.

There is one client we have worked with for almost 10 years. When we first started working with them, although they were a particularly successful company, recruitment revolved around making an offer to a candidate if they were able to tell a good story. During our initial engagements we stressed the importance of defining what it is you want done and ensuring the candidate has a repeating pattern of the behaviours defined as necessary for success. I was delighted when in a recent interview, the client asked a range of questions centred exactly on what was required. That would not have happened some years ago.

Helping our clients develop their own recruitment skills gets us on the same page faster.

I think when we’re talking about giving someone an experience, the greatest gift you can give is insight and understanding. This could be helping a client understand how to better define a role and person requirement. It could be assisting them to undertake an interview to expose a repeating pattern of behaviour. It could also be coaching them to understand the importance of the whole verification process including reference checking and testing. For me, ensuring my client understands the steps and process we go through to find the right applicants for their roles will ensure we make decisions together, cover all bases and eliminate delays in filling that role.

Initially when working with clients they want a fast process that delivers results. Speed is important but one client who has recently used us for the first time couldn’t understand why we spent so much time understanding what was required and thoroughly working through each step. Once we completed the assignment and they saw first-hand the reasons why two of the candidates did not make it onto the shortlist they became advocates of the steps necessary to ensure a correct fit.

Helping candidates accurately promote the relevant skills and experience they offer ensures the hiring party doesn’t miss out on the best person for the job.

It’s also important to ensure candidates who go through the interview process gain something. In the case of an unsuccessful interview, this could be helping them identify how they could do better next time. There have been instances where a highly skilled candidate has struggled during an interview by failing to talk through some of their best experiences, aligned to the role. I’ve found it can help to provide feedback to these individuals about how they rank across a range of attributes in comparison to others considered. This can help them understand how to frame their responses to questions to ensure they don’t sell themselves short.

One candidate I worked with did not get appreciated for the skills and experiences that particularly suited the role they were interviewing for. I sought feedback from the client and was surprised to learn they didn’t see in the candidate what I had seen and previously described. Upon talking to the candidate, he advised that during the three-panel interview, each panellist wanted to tell their own story so he let them steer the discussion. On reflection, the candidate realised the error in not bringing forward his relevant experience. This was something we were able to get him to do at a subsequent interview and the client then realised the relevance of the skills the candidate had for the role.

My advice to candidates, clients and the job placement community is to look at recruitment challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. By working with a specialist in this field, you will inevitably develop a deeper understanding of the steps to take to select a culture-fit candidate and build your own set of skills to help you make informed decisions when selecting your future team members. On the flip side, if you are the interviewee, taking the time to self-reflect and seek feedback will ensure you fine tune the skill of accurately promoting your experience to secure the right role for you.

Happy recruiting!

Ian Hamilton

Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash