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Blink and they're gone
21/04/2010

Thinking about recruiting a skilled candidate for your team? Thinking you'll be spoilt for choice? Please think again...

There seems to be a common misconception that we are, post recession, left with a huge pot of candidates who are desperate for any job. And whilst in some respects this may be the case, the reality is that the higher calibre or more specialised candidates are being snapped up at a rate of knotts, and recent briefs we've serviced have reflected this - I've outlined one below.

Case Study:
One recent project saw us providing the details of four good candidates for a design vacancy. Details and work samples were very well received, so much so that all were invited for interview two weeks later. In the meantime one of the candidates landed a job elsewhere. When the remaining three were interviewed it was fed back that 2 were very strong and were likely to be invited back for 2nd interview.

Unfortunately at this point they made the common mistake of asking to see more candidates (so they could filter another one or two candidates to join the originals for 2nd interview), but added that anyone sent through would not be properly considered for another fortnight as the manager was going on holiday!

I explained that:
a) we had sent our best candidates in the first place
b) to run a search, selection and 1st interview process for new candidates would likely add 1-2 weeks onto the timescale.
c) recruitment is time sensitive and candidates left waiting will look elsewhere.

Our advice was not taken on board. So we duly searched, but as expected found no further suitable candidates that were of the same or better calibre. They had however asked another agency to do the same thing and re-search the brief.

Disappointed
Two weeks went by and sure enough the company returned to us, somewhat frustrated that the other agency's second search had proved particularly underwhelming. In the meantime one of the two candidates they'd initially earmarked for 2nd interview had also landed a job at another agency, thus leaving them with 1 potential candidate out of an inital 4 which was, of course, not enough for them to choose from..... "Please can you have another look?"

What started out as a brief with real promise, saw well matched candidates disappear because the process was not given the commitment, understanding and trust it required.

Moral of the story
Unfortunately this is fairly typical of the approach many employers take when recruiting Graphic Design and Web candidates. And despite the recession, the moral of the story is this:
Good candidates will not wait by the phone for 'the call', they will be exploring every opportunity they can.

A few pointers if you're looking to recruit:
1) do so when you are prepared to make it a priority and dedicate your time to it (not when you're about to go on your jollies)
2) consider all applicants carefully and move swiftly, they will not hang around for you.
3) if one or more of the candidates you interview are worthy of a second interview, don't risk losing them by extending the process unnecessarily.
4) remember that if you're using a recruitment agency (hopefully Orchard!) they will send you their best candidates at the beginning. A further search shortly after is unlikely to find better candidates
5) if you are not getting the quality of candidate you're expecting, ask yourself if the 'ideal person' would realistically want to work for your company, in that location, on that work, and for that salary. If not, revisit the spec and start afresh.

Andy.









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