4 tips for hiring the right candidate

September 2, 2021
Michael McAllister

Michael McAllister

Michael is our Head of Division for the Commercial, Finance & Procurement team. He recruits both Interim and Permanent professionals, predominently into the Facilities Management sector.

Let’s be honest, right now there are more vacancies than candidates to fill them. It’s a candidate driven market, and companies are finding themselves competing for the best talent. I’ve been advising a lot of clients lately on how to make sure they are hiring the right candidate.

Here are my 3 top tips if you want to make sure you’re not making a costly mistake by hiring the wrong person or having to leave your vacancy unfilled.

hiring the right candidate

1) Work on your Employee Value Proposition

Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is your way of demonstrating to your employees the role they play in the company’s mission, and what’s in it for them. It’s a way of helping your staff to feel connected to the wider organisation’s goals and see the impact they have on a day to day basis. It goes beyond the salary to describe the all-round benefit of choosing your company.

If you’re advertising a job but not giving candidates a compelling reason to come and work for you, you’re probably missing out on the best talent. Most candidates are looking for more than salary when they make a move – that’s why you need a great EVP. They want to understand the culture of the company and the role they play in the wider mission of the business.

Look at what it is that makes your business special – ask your current employees why they choose to work for the company. Visualise the ideal candidate you want to attract. How will they grow with you? What kind of support will they receive? What will their work/life balance look like? How will you prioritise their wellbeing? What will their impact be on the growth of the business?

If you can answer these questions, you’re more than halfway towards having an EVP that’ll make hiring the right candidate easier. If you can’t, you might want to sit down with your HR team or recruitment partner and work through them.

unbiased recruitment

2) Make sure you have an unbiased hiring process

Though we don't realise it, unconscious bias can affect your judgement during the hiring process, potentially leading to missing out on great candidates. Whether we mean to or not, we all make assumptions about people, and sometimes those judgements cloud our ability to see talent right in front of us.

When you imagine your ideal candidate for a role, do you think about the qualities of that person, or do you focus on their attributes? Do you have an age in mind already? Maybe a gender too? If you do, you could be making it harder on yourself to find the best person for the job.
You can cut down conscious and unconscious bias in your recruitment process by focusing on the skills you’re looking for in your job descriptions and reworking your adverts to remove stereotypically gendered or ableist word choices.
Stereotypically masculine weighted words include things like:
  • self-confident
  • assertive
  • determined
You can use a gender bias decoder to see if your job ads could be impacting your applications. Being able to provide reasonable accommodations for disabilities can help remove ableism.
You could also use a bias-free CV process. Removing personal details from CVs will enable you to focus on skills and experience. Screening candidates based on their current ability, rather than educational history can have a positive impact too. Access to higher educational institutions varies depending on a person’s socio-economic background and doesn’t always accurately reflect that person’s ability.

Most recruitment partners have standardised interviewing techniques to ensure unbiased benchmarking, so working with a partner could help.

3) Prioritise the recruitment process​

I have lost count of the number of times I have spoken with candidates and drawn together a shortlist of businesses that meet their skillset, only to get let down by an inefficient recruitment process. I’m sure anyone who is reading this with their ‘Candidate Cap’ as opposed to ‘Hiring Manager Cap’ will agree and here’s why.

There’s a saying I’ve had drilled into me since I started recruiting in 2015 (albeit not as long as some, but my point still stands) and that is Candidate is King.  As recruiters, we’re often think it’s completely down to the client to decide. We’ve gotten used to the client being the single most driving factor in getting the deal over the line. 

But this isn’t the case anymore. Candidates in today’s market are speaking to between 2-5 companies. If they’re not, then they’re probably not that great. Of course they have to impress the hiring managers in the opening rounds of interviews. But in today’s market, they’ll have a choice of offers. It’s up to the client to convince them to join their team over the others.

Some top tips for this are:

Flexibility. One of the most frustrating things as a recruiter is a candidate who can’t find time in the week to interview. If you want the job you need to find the time. But as a hiring manager, you need to make sure you have time in the week for interviews too. If your competition is organising first and second stages in the space of days, they’re showing commitment to the candidate. While you’re waiting a week to arrange a second interview, your candidate is interviewing with your competitors.

Leave time to sell in your team and business. Interviews are the candidate’s chance impress and gain a position within the business. But an interview it’s a two-way street. You need to make sure that the business culture, flexibility, incentives are on show!

Don’t lowball your offer. While clients might suspect recruiters of pushing a salary up to get a higher fee, this isn’t the case. If you have a budget of £60,000 and you feel the candidate is worth that, then their current salary is irrelevant. Lowballing candidates may work, but it won’t inspire loyalty from your new recruits. The job ads we send to them usually highlight salary. They know what you can pay. While it might appear to save money, you may end up having to start the recruitment process again when they say no.

4) Consider hiring an interim or consultant

An interim candidate will have skills and experience beyond the job requirements. They'll be a safe pair of hands while you look for the right permanent candidate. They'll ensure projects don't fall behind, and momentum isn't lost. If you’re particularly pressed for time, bringing a consultant into the role will give you an immediate fix. They'll hit the ground running, leaving you to concentrate on other pressing problems.

If you’re in a rush to recruit, you’re far more likely to bring a person into the role who either doesn’t fit well with the team or doesn’t quite have the right skills to be successful, just to get the vacancy filled. But the cost of this can be huge. You may end up needing to re-recruit for the role in a few months time when it becomes obvious that they’re not right for the job. 

But also, bringing the wrong person in could have a detrimental knock on effect. A bad culture fit can demoralise the wider team. Someone who doesn’t have the right skills may end up creating more work for others. You could find yourself in the position where you’re not only having to replace the person you hire, but the people who have left as a result as well.

Hiring the right candidate takes time. Using an interim or consultant will give you the breathing room to take the time to find the right person for your team long term – someone who is a great culture fit and will help you achieve your strategic goals. We vet all the candidates we provide. We get references from their most recent assignments. Word of mouth is key in the interim world, making it our job to only work with the best in the market.

Hiring the right candidate takes trust

Ultimately, finding the right fit for your team requires more than a job description. It requires an understanding of your culture, your company goals, and your aspirations for the role. It takes someone who is dedicated to your company, and it takes a certain amount of trust in that person to do the job for you. 

We know that it seems logical to want as many people working on a role as possible, but the reality is, the way to get the right candidate first time, is to work with a partner with knowledge of the sector and knowledge of you. Because that partner will go above and beyond to find the right candidate for you.

After all, don’t you deserve better than a hurried job advert and a 15 minute LinkedIn search?