6 tips for recruiting "on purpose".

May 24, 2018


Recruiting is one of those things in business that seems to be a little more hit and miss than others. But if you’re a purpose-driven business (or aspire to being one) it’s something that needs a careful and consistent approach to secure the “right” people.


Whether you choose to outsource recruitment or take the DIY approach, there’s a framework we believe will help deliver “fit for purpose” employees time and time again.


Be clear on why you’re recruiting


Obvious as the nose on one’s face, I agree. But answer me this….have you ever been interviewed for a role when the interviewer(s) seemed a bit confused about what they were looking for? It happens.


As an interviewer, any confusion on your part will most likely put off most quality candidates (the rather more “desperate” ones probably won’t notice or care). 


If you want to recruit folks who’ll be committed to your business purpose, you need to be crystal clear in its communication.


The interview is the first opportunity (usually) to meet a candidate face to face. It’s first impressions time. Articulating your business purpose clearly and confidently will leave your candidate in no doubt that it’s something you care deeply about.


Not only that, they’ll likely leave the interview understanding that the the role you’re hiring for is important and why.


Go beyond the experience and qualifications


Every role calls for a set of skills that generally comes from the right experience and qualifications.The thing is these won’t even remotely guarantee success in the role you’re recruiting for, no matter how great the candidate looks on paper.


Of course you need to dig pretty deep into the basics - relevant achievements, application of skills in similar roles and the like - but if you really want try to work out how they’ll “fit” in the business you need to go outside that world.


Try to get a handle on their personal motivators…what gets them out of bed each day. Use what you learn to assess how well their personal drivers mesh with your business purpose. 


And when you talk about your purpose, what’s their reaction? Are they visibly excited? Asking lots of questions? Or do they seem a tad disinterested.


If you’ve not explored job candidates in this way before, It’ll probably feel a little unusual, even uncomfortable, the first time or two. But persist, because it’ll become second nature in no time at all.


Get others in your team involved


One of the best indicators of how someone will fit in your team is to…well, ask the team. 


Not in so many words, but you most likely have a number of folks in your business who live and breathe your purpose. Get them to spend time with your short listed candidates and provide you with some feedback.


Research shows that people have a tendency to recruit people who a) they like and b) seem similar to themselves. Again, not necessarily a guarantee of a good outcome.


There’s another benefit in involving your team in the recruitment process - it’s an opportunity for them to reinforce in their own minds the significance of your business purpose.


Reference checks


Don’t bother. At least not in the traditional sense. Really, who in their right mind is going to nominate a referee who’ll give them anything less than a rave review?


It’s highly likely you and your candidates will have mutual connections (just check LinkedIn…) so do a little homework then ask the candidate if it’s ok to contact one or two of those connections. 


If there’s any hint of a hesitation you’ll know there’s a problem and can explore it in depth.


Don’t be shy about this.


Bringing a new person into your business is always a big deal and knowing as much as you can about each other is protection for both.


What should you ask referees?


In keeping with the hiring “on purpose” objective, you need to go beyond the standard questions with referees.


Remember, you’ll have asked your candidate a bunch of questions about personal motivators. Referees can provide a third party perspective on whether what your candidate has told you rings true and how those motivators present themselves in the candidates behaviour at work.


Of course this is on one level simply another individual’s perspective but the more views you get, the clearer the picture should become.


Again, the intention is to build the clearest possible understanding of the candidate’s fitness for purpose. 


Hire slow, fire fast


So said Chuck Sekeres. When I went looking for the origin of this concept I found that over time, it’s created a lot of discussion. And it seems there’s only two schools of thought - people either love it or think it’s rubbish.


Our view? The terms “slow” and “fast” are of course relative.


In the context of recruiting “on purpose” we see it as a useful concept. The tips above will naturally take a little time, particularly the extra step of involving team members in the process and the slightly more in depth reference checking you’re going to do. But it’s worth the investment, believe me.


And if, after all the effort the candidate who gets the job still doesn’t work out? Don’t prolong the agony….begin the process of managing the individual out of the business sooner than later. Usually, the individual will self select, but if they don’t you’ll need to bite the bullet. Don’t feel bad about this….everyone will be better off in the long run.


Does this really work? Really?


Without doubt.


Here’s just one example. For close to a decade, I worked in a very purpose-driven business that subscribed to the process I’ve outlined above. For the most part, people who joined the business were great recruits who stayed with the business long term.


On those rare occasions recruits weren’t fit for purpose, the process had for one reason or another been short-circuited. And honestly…the failures were pretty spectacular.


Want to try this approach in your business?


We'd be happy to help. Recruiting isn't easy, so any advantage you can give yourself is crucial.


Please give us a call or drop us a note to organise a conversation about applying some or all of these ideas in your business.


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