The past few months has given me one of my biggest learns as a recruiter. Surprisingly this was not through recruiting, but from being on the other side of the fence . . . Through being a candidate. It has definitely made me think twice when speaking to candidates about their job search. If you have been in a job for a long time, I'm sure you would feel the same if you ventured out to the 'market'.

Changing jobs is a BIG DEAL

I can’t even begin to think how many job seekers I will have spoken to over the 12 years that I have been recruiting. Jobseekers have become the norm to me. I don’t think I ever really stopped and thought what a big deal changing jobs for someone can be until I did it myself! Firstly, the decision to even start to look was huge, plenty of conversations with the other half, and weighing up the pros and cons. Trawling job boards for me is like second nature, but even that to some people will be completely alien. Writing a CV, filling in a long application all takes time and interviews can be very daunting. It is important to consider all of this and appreciate how your candidate may be feeling when speaking to them about their application. Appreciate the interview nerves, appreciate the decision process when accepting a job and appreciate the anticipation of handing in a notice and the first day nerves. IT IS a big deal.

Your job is not the only one on the market

When you are immersed within your business, rightly so, it's natural to think the world of your role. To you it may be the best opportunity out there and anyone would be lucky to have it. You may think people would bite your arm off for this opportunity. From an outsider, an active job seekers point of view, your job may be one of many that they are considering. Job seekers often have a number of opportunities going on at the same time. I know I did. This could be for a number of reasons; they may want to explore what’s out there, they may know they need a job and perhaps their chances of your opportunity are slim so not want to keep all eggs in one basket. They might not really know enough about your opportunity to know if they do want it yet. For me, it was that I wanted to ensure that I 100% made the right decision. I see choosing an occupation as important as buying a house, it’s a huge part of your life. It’s rare that someone would view one house and then buy it, you would more than certainly research and look around. Remember this when recruiting. Don’t assume your candidate is 100% bought in, and don’t take it as an insult if they do have other things in the pipeline. If you want this candidate, you need to sell your job to them as much as they are selling themselves to you! Don’t be afraid to ask them if they have any other opportunities in the pipeline . . this may help you ensure you are working to the right timescales and give you the opportunity to reassure them if they have any concerns.

Speed is crucial

Bearing in mind the point above about the majority of jobseekers having more than one thing in the pipeline at a time, being too slow could cost you the best hire. The amount of times I have heard managers say ‘Well if we lose them, so be it!’, amazes me. If you have the RIGHT applicant. . . Bend over backwards to get them in! A role that I applied for took 5 weeks to get in touch after the closing date. Of course, I assumed that the role had gone. Then suddenly received an email requesting an interview, involving a presentation, within the week. You could lose great people just through being too slow, and it was interesting how this made me feel as a jobseeker. Sometimes matters out of control can cause delays, but there is no excuse not to communicate this to your applicants. I 100% considered a companies application process against how they would be to work for and I am sure I’m not the only one who does this.

Get to know the person you are interviewing

The best question I was asked at interview was ‘What is important to you?’. Needless to say, that question was from the company that I accepted the role with. This question was asked to me at the beginning of the interview and without thinking, I found myself being really honest. It led to a frank, honest conversation that was beneficial from both parties to see whether this role would work for both of us. Then we went into more structured questions about the job. I felt like this was a company that valued what was important to me and they wanted to ensure I was happy as much as they were. Structured or competency questions are great to evaluate whether the person is capable to do the job, but you don’t always get to know the PERSON you are interviewing. What motivates them? Will they be happy in your organisation? Ultimately, this is what will help you get the best person fit, and improve attrition levels. It is so important to get to know the person you are interviewing as well as what they can bring to the table.

People buy into managers as much as companies

Whenever I ask candidates what they are looking for in their next career move, I have always focused on the type of company, the package on offer and the job role. Something that struck me when I was jobseeking was that ultimately what made me feel whether something felt ‘right’ or not, were the people that interviewed me. People buy in to people. Of course, the company and job role do come into consideration, but if you are interviewed by someone who appears to value you, believes in you and wants to lead you to become better at what you do, than that is a clear winner. Remember this when interviewing, be interested, be honest and listen, the candidate will be evaluating you as much as you are evaluating them.

Give Feedback

Lastly, I was amazed at the quality of feedback that you can get from applications. I had a number of conversations while I was jobseeking but there were only 2 roles that I wanted to go forward to the formal interview. For one, I was required to do a presentation. I took hours to write this presentation, it was a sector that I hadn't worked in before and I really put alot of effort in to it. Luckily, I did get feedback, and it was all very positive. It made me think about the candidates that I have put forward for interviews in the past, and the feedback has been minimal, and how this must make them feel. In my opinion, constructive criticism, as well as praise, should be given, after all, this is what will help the candidates improve and hopefully give themselves the edge in the next interview. They have put time and faith in to your company, make sure the effort is returned.

To look for your next career move, or to make you next hire please contact me on 02922 400519 or email




Published in Blog
65Years in Recruitment
6Specialist Division
1Office pets
76Specialist job profiles

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