Who would get your vote? Should either get your vote? How did we get to this point?

(Before you switch off, I promise this is not entirely political!)

Now, it’s not for me to say which way or if I would vote, or if you’re reading as a US voter, for me to even attempt to persuade one way or the other.  

Is either of these candidates right for the job? 

The point here is, this situation happens regularly.

I’ve been approached by organisations who have got to this stage in their hiring processes. with a shortlist at the critical hiring / offer point.  They’ve invested time & energy into the processes of advertising for, selecting & interviewing candidates which ultimately has turned out a shortlist that no-one is fundamentally 100% happy with. 

A choice between two or three, but not a choice anyone really wants to make.

Luckily, these businesses are not in a position where one of these candidates will be voted for by the electorate and by the law of the land, they’ll be stuck with for the next 4 years.  

However, sometimes the thought of starting a recruitment process from scratch can be equally as painful.  Time is money, & with key hires in sales teams particularly, there's a lot at stake.

So how do you prevent getting into this whole sticky mess in the first place?

  • Planning makes Perfect

Do you know what you are looking for?  Sounds like a silly question, but it's not always just a matter of a re-vamped job description or copying and pasting from an ad that sounds like what you are looking for.  Consider perhaps what you don't want as much as what you do...

  • Can you accommodate a grower?

Looking for a needle in the haystack? Do you need someone who has been there, seen it, done it and bought the t-shirt or is the candidate who has the right attitude, desire & potential the better investment?  Consider whether you have the resource to craft a "nearly there" candidate with the right fit & oodles of enthusiasm into someone with the relevant skills to match.   

  • The Right Brief

If you're using a recruitment partner or ad agency, do they really understand what you're looking for?  Have you invested the right amount of time allowing them to know your business, culture, environment, teams, goals etc?  Have they met the key stakeholders and do those stakeholders know understand the importance of immersing the partner in "what is important" and "why someone would want the job", as well as they key outputs.  Invest in this stage and you'll always have a reference & sanity check point!

  • The Right Process

There's many innovative ways to assess who's right & wrong for your business, and it doesn't always have to follow the well beaten path.  Business Plans? Presentations? Testing?  References? 

Decide on an assessment strategy to quantify skills, attitude & fit at the outset, plan the timescales well, with room to capture the right audience but speed enough to keep the momentum on applications that you are interested in.  Remember, If you like a candidate there's good chance someone else will too. 

  • Consider the team

It’s important to think about the team’s needs as well as your own. Are you looking for someone with similar skills and experience or someone with something unique to create a more rounded skills-base within the team?

You could also ask the candidate to spend some time in the work environment to see how well they would fit in.

  • Go with your gut

It is of course impossible to quantify exactly what a gut feeling is but it shouldn’t be underestimated when choosing someone who you’ll probably end up spending more time with than your friends and family, in short, it's chemistry.