As a recruiter and a direct hirer, we have all seen a great CV, got excited, said things in our head such as “perfect!”, “oh brilliant, so and so is going to love them!” I already am banking my next pair of shoes and hoping to put my search to an end and visualising a beer with my happy client.
A telephone chat follows, things are still looking pretty positive, and then you meet them and your plan starts falling apart, they are talking and you are mapping out how on earth to turn this around and make them like the paper CV or considering starting your search from scratch!
There are many reasons why this can happen. There is a discussion I found on LinkedIn which proves most hirers find the interview process the most important factor in the hiring process over education and the CV content, but all agree the CV gets you through the door and will eventually lead to a job offer.
Additionally this can work the other way around. Sometimes a bad CV turns into a good interview and the candidate takes you by surprise.
This is where your recruiter's insight can help you. If your recruitment partner meets their candidates face to face then they will have a good idea as to how the candidate compares to their paper CV. If they have met with you and you have invested the time to put together a comprehensive job spec and the consultant understands your working environment, this becomes a lot more valuable.
But understanding “typical” phrases and reading between the lines are what professional recruiters are trained to do and do on a daily basis. Professional recruiters use a host of skills from behavioural science, through to scenario based questioning, and value based criteria questioning to really get to the root of the motivations of a candidate.
Having a comprehensive debrief with a consultant prior to deciding on who to interview will improve your search process. This isn't to be feared i.e. “Oh they are just going to sell everyone into me and waste my time” this will only happen if you let it. You are better to be open and honest about your reservations, hear their opinion and find out what they picked up in their interview process. Of course if they don't meet their candidates – they won't know them. If you use recruiters that only interview by phone, or not at all, then drop them as a supplier, they are clearly only in it for a quick buck and are adding no value to the process for you.
Beyond this, feeding back to your consultant after each interview is equally important, whether positive or negative. A consultant will have a different interview style to you, and any small, reservation or concern you may have about a potential candidate, can either be validated and agreed from your consultants point of view, or they may have found out different information and seen different characteristics that they can inform you of.
A good consultant will also prepare candidates prior to an interview with you – this isn't done to shape the candidate, but more to ensure that they convey all of their key skills well, as well as ensuring that they ask the most relevant questions to get from the interview all that they need to be able to make an informed judgement. This briefing from the recruiter generally includes an insight into your business and to some extent you, as well as an overview of the role and future career opportunities. A good briefing puts a candidate at ease. Rob Yeung explained in his article in The Sunday Times that “Research shows that when candidates are put at ease beforehand, the results are a better indicator of their future performance than if they are put under stress by being caught unaware.
To summarise utilising the skills of a seasoned and experienced recruitment partner, where you trust their judgement and insight, will add value to the process through delivering efficiency and saving time. In addition, the recruiter is able to demonstrate why a poor CV, may harbour a great candidate, and why the best looking CV, may be hiding a dire candidate!