The only 3 questions any recruiter needs to ask….

conveyor beltMost of us recruiters these days, will be operating in a candidate short market. So, regardless of how well you have adapted to new sourcing channels and technologies, for most of us the major challenge is finding the quality of talent in the volumes that our clients require.

It would be nice if our markets were awash with ‘A grade’ talent. We could line up our three or four best candidates for every role, with each one ticking all the boxes in our client’s brief… and then some. The toughest part of the process would be making a choice between them.

I remember when recruitment was like this. Feedback from clients would run along the lines of “I could take all three of them”. So we would then go about picking each candidate apart and looking for the slightest negative that would take one of them out of the running, or positive that would put them just slightly ahead of the pack.

In a candidate short market, you don’t have that luxury. Embracing modern recruitment techniques will help of course. Having a great employee value brand will put you ahead of the competition. But approaching the talent short problem this way will only help so far. Unless you have found a way to clone your best candidate, you are probably still going to face the same issue at various points.

So what is the answer?

A bit of a reality check! Tell your clients to be less prescriptive with their criteria. There are only three things that their hiring decision should ultimately be based on:

Can the person do the job?

Are they motivated to do that job?

Are they the right culture fit?

And if someone ticks all three boxes, then you should probably hire them.

It’s not about putting a bum on a seat, or forcing anyone to hire the best of a bad bunch. It’s about making the very best of a difficult situation. 

Question why certain criteria are actually important. Move the focus away from the things they normally focus on…. experience, qualification, having done this or that…or not having done this or that! Motivation covers lots of things, including money. Culture fit is critical, but don’t let it be used as an excuse because there is something else lacking.

It seems like it is dumbing everything down…and it is to a point. But if someone ticks these three boxes, what reason is there not to hire them?

If you know of one please let me know….which you can happily take as an invitation to tell me I am talking crap!

Luke Collard



One thought on “The only 3 questions any recruiter needs to ask….

  1. Diane on Reply

    Absolutely. We come across this all the time and it is extremely frustrating. If you are retained, it is even more pronounced. Clients seem to want someone who actually doesn’t exist. Even if they did, they would probably find that, in reality, that inst the sort of person they wanted anyway!

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