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Making recruitment work

IN a recent interview with Geoff Blades, a director of Westmorland Consultant Group, I was reminded of some of the fundamental lessons that many employing organisations seem to consistently fail to heed when undertaking a recruitment and selection process.

It was a revealing interview that highlighted a number of pitfalls organisation should attempt to avoid during the recruitment process.

A key focus of the interview was whether an organisation should use a recruitment consultant or not. Mr Blades presented a balanced discussion, indicating that there were advantages and disadvantages associated with going it alone or using a recruitment consultant.

He believes that a good recruitment consultant can add significant value to an organisation.

I asked Mr Blades to indicate these benefits, based on his 14 years’ experience working in the recruitment industry. He said a professional recruitment consultant would support an employer to:

p be clear about the precise nature of the position that you are trying to fill and the necessary selection criteria – don’t seek to overfill or underfill the job;

p be factual, realistic and objective in any recruitment advertising about both the job and the employing organisation;

p understand the screening process and prepare employers to develop a realistic profile of the position, the skills required, salary expectations and the type of person who will best fit into your organisations culture;

p support employers to share a little bit about themselves in a professional and realistic manner;

p educate employers as to the best way to interview and the key areas of focus of the interview process; and

p conduct detailed reference checking in a way that protects a candidate’s confidentiality.

Mr Blades argues that there is certainly a lot more to effective recruitment and selection than the above, and that many employers have had bad experiences with potential employees who have literally ‘led them up the garden path’, and behaved dishonestly and without regard for the needs of the business. Nevertheless, the better that employers treat job applicants on the whole, the better are their chances of being considered a preferred employer and attracting the best people.

Another consideration is that, in the wake of falling unemployment and an improving Western Australian economy, it is becoming more and more competitive for high quality staff. It is important, therefore, to appeal in every sense to attract the right candidates to our organisations, particularly if you are not in a position to be offering an above-average level of remuneration.

Mr Blades acknowledges that it is incumbent upon recruitment consultants to follow these rules as well, and to represent their clients in a positive way that those organisations clearly expect. He believes that this should be one of the fundamental tests placed on recruitment consulting firms by their clients.

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