Recruitment agencies, do them a favour


There are some fantastic recruitment companies out there, some contributing great content on Networking sites such as LinkedIn
Some specialise and have a niche in a particular field, job role and seniority level.  Some are targeted at the larger organisations, some well established with a prestigious office in a fruitful location, some punch well above their weight for a smaller agency.

All with one thing in common, they want to place candidates in their client’s organisations.  I know these guys work extremely hard…and sometimes receive a bad rap, don’t worry though, they’re tough cookies!

Following on from your agent of choice providing you with appropriate candidates what do you do with them, how do you shortlist, who interviews them and how?

I have experienced (been on the wrong end of!) some strange interview techniques, which frankly don’t match the hard work put in at the front end by aforementioned tough cookies.
Placing the correct candidate is win-win-win, recruiter, employer and successful future employee. But, I often see this process fall down at the final hurdle by the interview not being structured correctly.

The recruiter has an interest in their client succeeding, therefore you may not want to get them involved in the process.

So who does the job fall to?

Well, quite often the wrong people.  People who don’t really want the task of vetting a potential colleague.

Here is an example, Company X are looking for a Head of Sales.
The interview panel consists of the CEO, Internal Recruiter/HR and the CTO.
The CEO is very proud of the company and it’s accomplishments, hopefully they have a good commercial head on their shoulders, but often in an SME the CEO is the founder, they could be an Engineer, Developer, Clinician…not a sales professional.

The internal recruiter could be an expert in people, HR, employment law but what about business development? They may be looking at the profile of the candidate but missing key traits…is this candidate a lone wolf, a hunter or are they more of farmer suited for account management?

The CTO may be very technical and busy immersed in the latest functionality or a future roadmap. Their drivers will be very different from a Business Development professional, of course Technical and Sales never experience friction, right?

So what is the solution?  You hire a sales professional to interview a sales professional.
By asking the right type of commercial questions you can hit that win-win-win scenario.
Is the candidate risk adverse, what target have they carried, an analytic thinker, stressed by deadlines, willing whilst on vacation to stand on a hill in India to receive a signal and seal that deal (yep, ticked that one off)?  You get the idea.
The cost of getting a sales appointment wrong is scary… training, time, salary, equipment, company car and of course lost sales.  Conversely the sales professional taking an unsuitable job could cost them dearly too.

Interview with the correct panel and give those tough recruitment cookies a pat on the back.

And yes I’ll interview with you… come on, what did you expect, I’m in sales 🙂

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Ian Farrar
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