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How to make the right recruitment decisions and save a lot of heartache later

by Jul 15, 2020Leading yourself and your staff, Performance and development conversations

In this post, we discuss some key ideas to help you ensure you make the right recruitment decisions and save a lot of heartache later. It is a fragment of a full webinar Performance Management 101: Learn how to get team members to perform at the right level, even if they are working from home. Click here to gain access to the whole recording and transcript (email required).

Let’s dive into how you make the right recruitment decisions and save a lot of heartaches later because let’s be honest; you have a lot less low performers if you don’t make bad recruitment decisions.

I remember a former client. He had a member of staff who turned around and said ‘Well, I’ve got my ACCA now, I need a pay rise’. And we all turned around and said ‘You can’t give her a pay rise. She’s not performing at that level; she’s not doing this, she’s not doing that.’

Actually, one of the things we’ve got to do is to let people know what levels need to be here before something like a pay rise happen.

You could put fancy words like a “result-speaks based” work environment, but set the expectation that this is what will trigger a pay rise.

Look for ‘fit’ and attitude.

When we go into hiring, we only look for skills and experience ‘we need them to be qualified at AAT’, ‘we need them to have their ACCA or part-qualified.

Those are the first things you think about when you’re hiring a new member of staff, right?

Too often the first few things we think about is the skills and experience. We don’t think about what is the fit we need, what is the attitude we need. As an example, subconsciously, our Senior Account Manager, Ashley Leeds, came on board he knew I was looking for somebody very different to me.

And it was true. Now that wasn’t: ‘Oh, they’ve got to be this, this, and this’. But at a subconscious level, we want staff members that are aligned in terms of values, of how those come out in their work-life’; because it’s essential to us that there’s a good alignment of values.

For example, the values of our business are loyalty and integrity. You’ll often hear me say: ‘look, this is a difficult situation, what’s the right thing to do here?’ We use them a lot in our business. So we need to make sure we ask potential members about these to ensure a good fit because when you’re thinking about who you’re hiring, you’ve got to make sure that they’ve got that same values.

I see that often we hire apprentices because they’re cheap, but we’re not prepared for the amount of supervision they need, the huge learning curve that they’re going to need before they become valuable. We’re just not prepared for that.

Avoid being swayed by these factors.

Interestingly, when we come to recruitment decisions, we often go through this process: ‘Oh, someone’s left, we have to replace them exactly’. Have you seen that before? ‘I’ve lost a client manager, so I need another client manager.’ Sounds familiar?

The first thing you’ve got to do is go ‘well, what do I really need?’

I now remember a former client. She brought in this client-champion-admin-type face of the business, and they deliberately didn’t go for an accountant, they went for somebody that was a real people person.

Now, it didn’t work out because he had some medical issues that meant that he was incapable of coming into work. And the first thing they did in that practice was they went: ‘Well, it didn’t work out because they weren’t an accountant and so we’ve got to have an AAT level 4 in that role.’

But there was nothing to do with whether you had an AAT level 4, and it was the fact that he had a medical condition that he lied about. Often we go all ‘it didn’t work out, so we have to have the exact opposite.’

Also, one of the things we have to realise is that often an individual’s strengths become their weaknesses.

I remember Ashley said to me ‘I’m overwhelmed’ and I said ‘What are you doing?’, and he said ‘talking to all my members’. That’s because Ashley’s biggest strength is he’s such a great account manager and he loves talking to our members, and he’d say ‘right everyone, here’s 15 minutes in the diary.’

I can’t criticise because that’s what he brings into what he does. But too often we tend to bounce around with our recruitment and going ‘well, I need somebody that’s not this person because that’s why they were crap.’

We’ve got to remember that sometimes our strengths are all our greatest weaknesses and we as the leader of the business have to give some direction of how those greatest strengths are used.

My greatest strength is my strategic thinking, but that means my weakest strength is the attention to the detail in the here and now. So many times, I need to say “look, I can move quickly, to cross the situation, to move ahead, and that’s why we’ve got such a strong business. But I understand that I can miss some details in certain circumstances’.

So we have to remember when it comes to getting that recruitment decision right to create that too detailed job description.

In the club, we have about 25 of those. You could pay hundreds for those, and they are available for anybody on the lowest membership 195 pounds a month.

Too often than not, we have a very vague job description. We need to make sure that we’re giving them the details.