Wed, Jul

Find and replace

With recruitment high on many a print company agenda, Jonathan Malyon, MD of executive search firm M Associates, provides his take on the key considerations/issues/actions needed to find the right people for the right price.

All of M Associates consultants have dedicated industry experience and the company has worked within the print and communications sector for some time. Managing director Jonathan Malyon says that every business it speaks to is seeking to become more involved in higher margin vertical markets and is progressing down the line of becoming a total solution provider. So the recruitment process needs to start with a clearly defined strategy of what you are trying to achieve as the operation changes shape.

Have an accurate job description

Do not only outline your short-term requirements but show that careful thought has been given as to the roles that the individual will fill, the skill sets they will need, the personality attributes that are important to completing their tasks. The key to an exceptional job description is to highlight relevant experience that would differentiate one individual from another. Get input from the hirer’s team into some of the key attributes of this job description. When you are happy with it pass on to an interviewee prior to any interview.

Network, network, network

It has always been said that successful businesses are led by those that consider networking within their market space a definitive requirement and part of their success. Networking is an invaluable source to help you identify both key business areas and individuals that can assist your continued business success. And speak to people outside your direct market; it really helps you to understand others’ requirements, see opportunities for further service offerings and take note of those you might want to recruit to help you down the line.

Calculate the true cost

If you think that it is expensive to hire the right person remember, it is more expensive to hire the wrong one! It still amazes me that when my clients are considering spending £50K on additional hardware they are disciplined in calculating ROI, speaking to other suppliers to compare deals and planning its installation. But when it comes to hiring many companies take a more maverick approach. In summary, you get what you pay for. You will need to pay better than average to attract and keep the best candidates, otherwise they will eventually end up feeling unappreciated and leave for the next good job offer. Just calculate the cost of replacing an individual in comparison to paying slightly over the going rate. You want to grow your business so view your recruiting as an investment in the same way that you would view investing in hardware for your business.

How to recruit a recruiter

If you decide to engage a recruiter to find your next hire make sure that the recruiter you use has an in depth knowledge and working experience within your specific market sector. Ensure that your recruiter has a solid track record of success and that you can reference this with other clients. If you are looking to expand in aligned verticals, engage with your recruiter to ascertain that they fully understand your business and what your specific requirements are. Good recruiters can, on occasion, even introduce you to aligned markets and personnel that you may not have even considered. A recruiter should be, in effect, an extension to your own business and be in a position to properly represent you when they are approaching potential employees.

Compile a success profile

Look at your previous hires and analyse both the successes as well as the failures and learn from these experiences. This profile will only be of use if you and your hiring managers are completely honest about the way the business and hirers in your organisation have conducted themselves during the recruitment process. After analysing this data as a team put down in writing what has been successful and encourage all those in the business when hiring to remind themselves what has been attributed to previous successful hiring’s, but also it is exceptionally important to learn from your failures and communicate this to your hirers in your organisation to help prevent future costly failures in recruiting.

B2B, B2C, what about H2H?

We all talk about B2B or B2C but in reality business is H2H (human to human) and when recruiting this is particularly relevant. Successful recruiting lies with an understanding of human nature. Involve your employees in the hiring process. Employees can recommend excellent candidates from their own network. They can also help assess potential employees. People who participate in the selection process are thus committed to helping the new employee succeed which not only benefits the employee, but you as an organisation. Finding the best possible people who fit within your culture and contribute to your organisation creates a challenge and an opportunity.

Test and assess

Test and assess potential candidates for their skills and attributes using a proven measurement tool. A CV can only tell you as much about that individual as they want to tell. Even after initial interviewing, candidates could still be hiding certain behavioural characteristics that would be damaging to your business. Use a dependable assessment tool to analyse behavioural traits and cognitive reasoning of your shortlisted candidates before hiring – this can be done by psychometric or similar testing and this test will provide insights into areas that applicants may successfully hide during the interview process. However, be mindful that certain job roles will need possible qualities that would be viewed as negative in these tests! The results can also be used to highlight certain shortcomings that could be improved with additional training can be given when hired.

Be prepared

When scheduling interviews and after having selected those that you wish to see ensure that you have an interview plan. This will ensure that the interviewing process and the interviewees are being measured on a level playing field. Have a consistent set of ten to 12 questions to maintain a structured interview and offer a sound basis to compare applicants. It is also best when conducting interviews to have at least two individuals involved in the same interview as it is important to have a brief discussion after the interview has taken place to gain the other individual’s initial thoughts and comments. Take and note clear and concise comments that can be reviewed later in the process as there is often some time between interviews and remember that you have more pressing responsibilities in between time.

Use a fine tooth comb

Review CV’s carefully. It is important when first reviewing a CV to look at previous experience and types of company that the candidate has worked within to understand how the candidate has used any transferable skills in different environments. Use the CV to gain a flavour of the candidate’s overall skill set rather than concentrating on their present/recent employment. Note that there may be exceptional candidates with shockingly poor CV’s that do not highlight their key skills (and vice-versa). If you are using an agency to assist you with your recruiting ask them to highlight any additional skills that do not appear on the candidate’s CV after they have conducted their own interviews.


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