Hiring Mistakes still at large – Heads of Comms, Agency Heads, it’s time to listen!

03 Sep 2015 by Sarah Leembruggen.

While we certainly have the means to access a wide pool of talent, we cannot do this without meaningful input and commitment from the Head of Comms or Agency Head.  In short, investing time to make sure your hiring process is the very best it can be is your key to the golden goose – or the golden boy or girl for your team.

Time and again, we come across clients who want a top-notch candidate for their high-profile company.  Now, if I asked all the clients who are not getting their hiring process right to pop a pound into a piggy bank for me, I could have taken early retirement. (Now there’s food for thought…)

So if you want to keep hold of your pound coins, you need to make sure you’re not falling victim to these hiring gaffes.

1. Having no job spec

Every role in every company is different, so what makes someone a high performer in your team will differ to the skills and qualities required of a person in another team. Spending time thinking about your expectations of the person you want on your team is vital – it helps you to generate questions for your interview process. Far too many agencies don’t even bother to put a job spec together let alone spend time upfront defining the behaviours and values they are looking for. A good job spec will go beyond outlining skills and experience; it will also go into qualities such as intelligence, values and behaviours.  Being prepared for an interview process that digs both deep and wide will bring in the best candidates – the high performers, the keepers. The bottom line – it’s worth investing the time on the job spec.

2. Not willing to spend the time meeting us

Imagine one of your stakeholders asks you to deliver on a campaign without bothering to meet with you – it’s all guess work, you’re working blind. It’s the same for headhunters.  You need to spend time upfront with us so that we understand what is important to you with the hire and help us sell the role effectively. We can find the best performer in the industry for you – with your input. If we haven’t met a client, it becomes too hard to pinpoint what’s right and it becomes even harder to fill the role effectively. You should be inviting us in quickly – spending time on the briefing is fundamental to getting the outcome you want, and fast.

3. Thinking you have all the time in the world to compare and contrast

High performers don’t grow on trees. We are not going to bombard you with CVs so that you can pick and choose. The people we do send to you, however, will be high quality high performers and once they start the job search, they will be in high demand. So it’s vital to remember that you do not have time to compare and contrast. By sitting on CVs and not moving through the hiring process quickly, you will miss out on great people. We do a great amount of work to find the best people – long gone are the days when you can find them via ads. We can spend days and weeks sourcing the star players so it’s disheartening for us if they are not snapped up – and a huge loss to the company looking for that great hire.

4. Not selling the job and/or company, and just grilling

Interviewing is a two-way process.  You want to ensure you are getting the right person for the job.  Obviously you want to ascertain that they have the required skills and experience and you will need to ask a lot of questions, but you also need to spend a quarter of your time selling the role, the culture and the career prospects that come with the role.  Yes, this seems obvious, but the high-profile brands often think their great reputation will speak for itself.  But remember – you are competing for sought-after talent.  You still need to work hard to secure the best people. They are like gold dust, so sell the role!  Having a company presentation is a must – however well-known your brand may be.

5. Giving the process to the wrong person

As the saying goes, if you want something doing, give it to busiest person.  Yes – and no. When it comes to recruitment, make sure that person has time to manage the process, as often the very senior people will take ownership but not have time to review CVs.  A Head of Comms or MD should not be spending valuable time checking CVs at the first stage. You need to have someone looking at them who not only knows what they are looking for, but can also come back to us quickly. If you don’t have a dedicated person for recruitment, get one! They don’t have to be on your team full-time and they can work in-house or externally. Having a smooth, agile process in place will give you the edge when it comes to securing the best candidates. And your company will benefit from gaining a great reputation for its well thought-out hiring process.  What’s not to like?

Is your hiring process the best it can be – or is it time for some fine-tuning?

The Works specialise in placing high flyers in PR and corporate communications. We have a strong track record of placing with professional services and offer career-making advice. Do get in touch if you would like our support building your team.

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