Recruit right

Often it seems to me that recruiting staff tends to be a bit hit and miss.

So often we tend to fall back on tired old ways because ‘we’ve always done it like that’ but it doesn’t have to be so.

If you’ve read my blog on starting before you start then you’ll already have an idea of who you want, so now you need to think about how to go about recruiting the right person.

As I write this we are at a rare time in the UK economy where there is pretty much full employment and so it’s what recruiters call a ‘candidates market’.

This means that companies have to work a bit harder to get people through the door but it’s my view that they should be working hard all the time to make sure they get the right people.

Attracting the right people

Take a look at the job ads on your favourite board.

Have you noticed that they are all the same?

I call it the old white male politician effect.

You see to get the most votes politicians have to appeal to the widest possible cross-section they can, so they dress, act and talk in as bland a way as possible.

But you don’t want that, because if you behave in this way you will get the same people applying as anyone else and you will get bland grey people sending their CVs.

Think about your job description

Think about your job ad

Does it enthuse the right people?

Does it put off people who wouldn’t thrive in your business?

Concentrate on attitude and behaviours rather than skills, explain how exciting the job is, why it’s a great company to work for and more importantly why you need people.

Because your really great candidates want to know how they will fit in and what contribution they can make.

A job ad full of character is also really efficient because if you are a whacky startup then it will put people off who really don’t want to work in a whacky startup.

Your great job description works as a filter to make sure that the people who apply are your kind of people.

BTW don’t let your recruiter write it. One of the measures of success for many recruiters is how many CVs they get in for a job, not how great a fit they are.

You want someone who has a great personality, not someone that can stuff a CV full of keywords.

Think about sources too.

A job board is an obvious place but you may well find you get a better quality of person by leveraging your staff network and getting them to recommend people.

And if you are in your local coffee shop one day and the barista shows stunning customer service, enthusiasm and talent then why wouldn’t you headhunt them and train them for the job?


Remember that the interview process is actually a sales opportunity. You have to sell you, your business and the role to the person.

The worst thing in the world is if you have a recruiting manager who says ‘I’m not sure that they are going to take the job’.

By the time the candidate leaves the office, they need to be in the state of wanting to bite your hand off for the opportunity.

I’m not saying that you don’t want to understand their capabilities, but you need to know about their personality and attitude much more than their skills.

And if you use psychometric tests then you need your legs slapping.

Have the courage of your convictions, act like the professional manager you are and hire the person you want, not the one a paper test tells you to hire.

Oh and you need to be physically punished if you use one of those interview question generator apps.


An interview is for you to find out if you get on with the person applying, not to see how well they regurgitate pre practised answers to pre practised questions (unless of course they are applying for a job as a politician).

And always, always take the opportunity to go off at a tangent and talk about random stuff. You’ll find this puts you both at your ease and will give you a far better insight than asking them where they see themselves in five years time!

See this as fun

I’m always amazed that most managers seem to see recruitment as a chore.

I love recruiting people.

I love finding out about new people, enthusing them about my company and getting an insight into their lives and talents.

For me, that new person is like a rough diamond that I and my fellow team members are going to polish up until they are epic.

Some people see it as spending hours and hours in interviews but what could be more important than making sure you have awesome people desperate to join your awesome team?

As someone smarter than me once said – recruit attitude and not skills.

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