“The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you have made a hiring mistake. The best people don’t need to be managed. Guided, taught, led–yes. But not tightly managed.” —Jim Collins
Establishing a core group of the best and brightest for your company’s candidate pool is, of course, the goal of every staffing firm. In these talent-challenged times, your clients are counting on you, their staffing partner, more than ever before.
You already know that claiming the top talent as your own, especially considering the shortages facing many industries, is indeed a tall order. But are you also aware that a well-oiled vetting process makes it easier to reach that deep-candidate-pool goal and provide your clients with applicants who will meet or exceed their expectations?
While some may argue that “vetting” takes too much time up front, in the long run, extensive vetting of candidates saves time.
“Whether they have a misfit personality for your company or their experience is not as relevant as they’d like you to believe, misfit hires will leave your company before long and leave you back in square one: with a job that must be done and no one to do it,” advises the Glassdoor Team.
So, what does an effective vetting strategy look like?
Begin with job descriptions
Research from Hewlett Packard notes that most women shy away from applying for jobs unless they feel they meet all the posted criteria. Yet, most men see a sixty percent fulfillment of the noted requirements as a green light to complete an application. Another observation indicated that people of color are reluctant to respond to ads that contain corporate jargon.
Taking these findings into consideration, Atlassian changed things up. “We now write job descriptions with requirements as the lowest barrier to entry (instead of a wish list for a magical unicorn) and talk about our collaborative, curious, dedicated teammates. This appeals to a broader set of candidates, improving diversity and overall candidate quality at the same time.”
The application/resume phase
When reviewing resumes and applications, Glassdoor suggests it’s essential to balance the desire for an “ideal hire.” Consider the community(ies) your agency services and the compensation packages offered. These and other factors will impact the experience level of your applicants. For example, university cities will have a plethora of recent or soon-to-be graduates who obviously have little or no experience, lining up at their door.
Be mindful of the catch-22 when it comes to competency versus company fit. As the Glassdoor Team notes, “Fit is secondary to competency, but remember that a hire who doesn’t feel like your company is a good fit will leave prematurely.”
Consider utilizing software such as ADP Recruiting Management’s Visual Search to scan resumes and evaluate potential candidates. While this type of “blind” search ensures against unfair biases, it can also eliminate candidates with potential. It would be wise, then to consider it as one tool in the vetting-process arsenal, rather than the definitive factor.
Utilize telephone interviews
“A preliminary phone interview is a great tool that will help you streamline your hiring process,” suggests the folks at Betterteam. “This is because they require a lot less time on everyone’s part.”
A fifteen-to-twenty-minute timeframe allows the interviewer to determine if the applicant understands the position and meets the basic requirements, provides an opportunity to probe questions raised by the resume, and can touch briefly on salary expectations.
Listen for red flags such as a lack of enthusiasm for the position, a general low-energy demeanor, or too much of a focus on money. Take copious notes and strive to speak less and listen more. Don’t schedule interviews back to back to allow time to jot down reflections, thoughts, additional questions, etc.
The team at Tire Talent pose a crucial question: “How do you separate ‘interview Rockstars’ from high-performers?” And they also make a valid point: “In all of my years doing this, I have never seen a resume that tells me a candidate’s weaknesses, and I have never heard of a bad reference. Moreover, almost any candidate can be coached to shine for a one-hour interview. I would barely even classify these efforts as “vetting”; they are practically formalities.”
They suggest that “proper vetting” focus more on candidates’ soft skills such as learning agility, communication, and collaboration as well as traits such as critical thinking skills and problem-solving.
When it comes to hard skills, skip the questions— “Are you good at XYZ? Can you do ABC?” Instead, test for the needed skills.
And when it comes to cultural fit? “This is impossible to understand by reading a resume and conducting one or two hours of interviews,” concludes the Tire Talent team. “You have to put the time in.”
Vetting takes time, no question about it. But it’s time well spent for the impact it will have on establishing a deep, top-talent candidate pool—a key ingredient to strengthening your brand and solidifying your reputation as a leading staffing agency.
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