The Importance of Effective Recruitment & Selection

By Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Your employees are your most valuable asset, they’re also your greatest cost, so it’s important to hire the right people. So why then do employers have so many difficulties recruiting staff. Employing the wrong person for a role is not only time consuming but will affect morale and productivity and is a costly mistake to make.

Before determining who to attract and select for the role, it is essential that you have a clear idea about what the job requires and the attributes of the person needed. Some people look for the ‘best fit’, the individual who will aspire to the culture of that organisation and one who will understand the needs of the business. Traditionally, job descriptions have been devised to enable the organisation to effectively decide what skills are needed to fill the position. By doing this, the candidate has some knowledge of the type of role they will undertake and from this will enhance job performance as clear ground rules have been set from the beginning. Conversely, the lack of a competent job description will in effect, attract the wrong candidates.

Some tips to adhere to when recruiting include:

  • Develop and design a proper job description, listing the actual skills needed.
  • Design an advertisement that outlines what you are looking for and what the job will entail. You get much better results, if you advertise specific criteria that are relevant to the job. Include all necessary skills, and a list of desired skills that are not necessary but that would enhance the candidate’s chances of success. If you fail to do this, you might end up with a low-quality pool of candidates and limited choices to fill the position.
  • Select the interview panel carefully – make sure they understand the role, their responsibilities and are provided with the skills to participate fully. In my opinion further training should be provided to panel members to ensure this.
  • Fully prepare for the interview, as it provides a vital opportunity to focus on what candidates can offer your organisation. The interview process is an opportunity to express your vision, goals and needs and it is vital that the interview elicits responses from applicants that can be measured against your expectations for the position. If you don’t use the interview to effectively eliminate applicants who don’t fit into your culture, you might find yourself dealing with turnover, confusion and disgruntled employees.
  • When you choose, a candidate based upon the qualifications demonstrated in the resume, the interview, employment history and background check, you will land the best fit for the position. Base your decisions upon specific evidence rather than any gut instincts. If you hire people who can do the job instead of people you merely like, you will have higher productivity and quality in your products or services.

When you effectively recruit, and select the right employee, there is a domino effect. Your new hire will do their job well, employees will see that you make wise decisions. You will gain respect from your workforce, which in turn results in higher productivity.

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My Pet Hate – The Unedited CV!

By Helen Chard

When asked to write this blog – I started to wonder what was worthy of writing – the answer, what takes up most of my time when searching for the ideal candidate.

Over the past 7 years I have spent thousands of hours poring over CV’s. From CEO’s and professionals with Masters and Doctorates – many being from the most prestigious universities (I spent time in Cambridge!) to the unemployed.

It amazes me that someone can produce a tidy Facebook page but when it comes to a CV, it can be a jumbled mess – a complete enigma that we recruitment consultants continually decipher.

There are no two ways about it – condensing all your skills and experience into one slick document can be challenging. You’re not born knowing how to write a great CV, so it’s up to you to find out for yourself how to get the basics right. From font size and format to photos and filling in the gaps, there is a certain etiquette that should rarely be broken. Recruiters and employers receive constant streams of applications don’t let a basic mistake send yours straight to the bottom of the pack.

How long should a CV be?
When it comes to length, try to think of your CV as a tasty appetiser that will get people coming back for more. It should be around 2 pages long to ensure that you get your message across quickly, without dragging on like an old encyclopedia, boring employers and recruiters.

If you feel your experience is as good as gold (and listing it all will make you a shoe-in for the job), don’t worry too much about going over. Just be sure to keep it at 3 pages or less.

What do employers look for in a CV?
They want someone who has the right skills and knowledge to do the job at hand, so this need to come across in your CV. If you have the exact experience they are looking for, make sure it is clear – don’t make them read between the lines or join the dots. Spell everything out for them. If you don’t have the perfect profile for the role but know you can do it, highlight your transferrable skills. It’s always important to research your target roles beforehand to find out exactly what they are looking for in an applicant.

What font should I use in my CV?
The saying ‘keep it simple stupid’ exists for a reason and is a principle that applies here. Forget cursive text that makes your CV look like a Disney picture, and best you steer clear of colour altogether. Nice symbols, though. Use a simple font that looks professional and is easy for recruiters and employers to read. Size matters too – you can’t go wrong if you stick around the 10/12pt mark.

Should I include a photo on my CV?
Your best selfie needn’t grace its presence on your CV. There is no need to include one on your CV. It will take up space that could be better used with text that demonstrates the value of hiring you. Show them how you’re so much more than just a pretty face.

Do I include all my experience on my CV?
You should include all your experience on your CV for transparency, but older or irrelevant roles can be shortened down to brief summaries. All your previous roles were NOT created equal. It is important to bring out the most relevant points and let other bits take the backseat.

Should I include my date of birth on my CV?
Age is only a number, right? Employers should not make recruitment decisions based on a candidate’s age, so there’s no need to include your date of birth.

Should I hide employment gaps on my CV?
Take the guesswork out of your CV. You don’t want recruiters or employers scratching their heads trying to fill the gaps themselves, so if you have long periods of unemployment you should be up front and explain them. Keep this short and sweet, after all, it’s just to let them know what was keeping you occupied during that time. Ideally use constructive reasons such as personal projects, study or travelling.

Do I need a cover letter?
Typing a personalised cover letter shows you are serious about your career and the opportunity.  It should paint a clear picture of who you are and what you are looking for, and why you want to engage in further conversation.

Should I include references in my CV?
Employers shouldn’t contact references until they have intentions of potentially offering you the job – it has however been known to happen. You don’t need to list them on your CV, instead a one-liner like ‘references available upon request’ will do the trick.

And if in doubt – GOOGLE – there are templates, job specifications and information at the touch of a button. So, if you can use Facebook you can certainly compose a CV which is legible and flowing.

Is the Cover Letter dead??

AngelaNg

By Angela Ng

Some think that in the new transactional world, where shortlists are formed by keyword searches, that the cover letter is dead, but I have news for them. The cover letter remains a key tool for the candidate to differentiate themselves from the crowd, to personalise their application for the role, and to get the recruiter’s/hiring manager’s attention sufficiently to make them want to turn over and review the CV.

A good cover letter has the following:

1. PROOF THAT YOU’VE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK

Recruiters and hiring managers want to see that you know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s important in the early sections of your cover letter that you refer to the job, its title and the company in some form.

Bonus points if you can impress your potential future boss with an acknowledgement of a major company success. Triple points if that success relates to the team you’d be joining.

2. AN EXPLANATION OF HOW YOUR SKILLS RELATE

Your cover letter is also the written explanation of your resume as it relates to the job at hand. So it’s important you explain in the letter what exactly it is you can do for this company and this role based on your previous experience.

You could use, what’s called a “T-Letter” to effectively present this section. This is a letter with a two-sentence intro followed by two columns—one on the left headed, “Your Requirements” and one on the right headed, “My Experience.” Bye-bye big, boring blocks of text.

Using the job description, pull out sentences that express what they are looking for and place those in the “Your Requirements” column. Then add a sentence for each to the “My Experience” column that explains how your skills match those.

It’s an aggressive, bold approach—but one that could set you apart from the rest.

3. YOUR EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE POSITION

Here’s an exercise: Think about yourself in the job you’re applying for. What do you feel? You’re probably pretty pumped, huh? Now harness some of that excitement and put it down on paper.

For example, if you were applying to a web design or UX job, you could write, “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in how the digital world works and how users interact with websites. Website design is not only my career, it’s my passion, which is why I hope you’ll consider me for this great role on your team.”

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

To tailor or not to tailor!

To tailor or not to tailor?? This is the big question … my answer is ALWAYS!! 1D6A0634

Whether it’s a good suit, an expensive pair of pants, a fitted jacket… if it doesn’t fit perfectly… tailor it and then it will!  A CV is no exception … ALWAYS tailor it to each and EVERY role! It could be the absolute difference between getting the interview or not, from standing out in a pile of applications or being cast aside.

I have been meeting with a number of candidates recently who are not in the job market by choice, but because of a downturn in their sector of expertise. Some are going through outplacement services and some are paying for expert advice and guidance.

With 18 years in the recruitment industry, what can I advise these people to do to make them stand out from the crowd? How can I lessen the burden they are feeling? How can I give them advice on the ‘professional’ advice they have already been given?

It can be so frustrating to read a ‘vanilla’ CV. I recently assisted a candidate who I know has acted in a CFO capacity for almost a year, their CV was two pages long and said their most recent position was ‘Management Accountant’… great role but not Acting CFO or Financial Controller or Finance Manager as I knew this candidate to be.

I told this person not to undersell themselves, to which they replied “I was told that my CV should not be longer than two pages and I should not be looking for a CFO role if I hope to get a job in this terrible market” WRONG!! This is not a terrible market, it is a competitive market and you need to do what you can to stand out.

My advice is simple, look at the role you are applying for, read the job spec or the advert, call the contact person to find out more about the skills and cultural fit required, and tailor your CV to it. Look at the prerequisites and if you satisfy most of them, highlight them in your CV. Put your best CV forward … each and every time.

Don’t even get me started on the ‘two page CV’ advice – how can a senior candidate who has the right experience, the right attributes and expertise ever get their CV down to two pages? Don’t get me wrong, recruiters or hiring managers don’t want to read a 20 page CV either … it is about keeping it clear, concise and to the point, but more importantly than anything, it’s about making it relevant to the position you are applying for.