Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Thoughts on Recruiting

I've just completed a cycle of recruitment and it's reaffirmed there are some people out there 'swinging the lead'. I remain convinced that 80% of candidates in our profession are just not that good, or interested, or are overstating their experience, haven't internalised their material or a combination of these and other elements.

So, how to make sure the recruitment process goes well? Here's my 2p worth.

First step here is to get yourself CVs from an agency you trust. Ensure they understand you expect pre-filtering, you expect them to understand the testing domain and with their knowledge pre-screen candidates they present. Refuse to work with body-shop agents and feel free to ask YOUR AGENT what experience they have of the testing domain. At the very least you want to be getting CVs that are good enough you'd be interested in them, not just interested in trashing them. Good enough being they are pre-screened and aligned to the needs of your role.

Secondly, do telephone interviews. I never used to but I've learnt that for the sake of 20 minutes I can screen out many other candidates that aren't quite good enough. Get them to discuss their experience, bring the CV 'to life' for you and touch on what they understand of the role. I'd suggest you can get a sense of the character of the person and a sense of if you believe their CV.

Thirdly, interview face to face with a colleague. I've never run tests by the way. My interview consists of the candidate re-running their walkthrough of the CV "for the benefit of my colleague", the difference can be very revealing second time around. As in highly inconsistent. Assuming they seem consistent I then bounce them around questions wise, as suggested above, ask about practice, process, theory, experience - then jump back to a comment they made 10 minutes ago and ask how they think that relates/affects/supports another comment they just made. Look for them bringing thoughts together that demonstrates they KNOW what they are talking about, that they really have lived the content of their CV.

Finally, make sure you go in having read the CV twice, highlight sections in different colours, write out some questions before hand and put together some form of Interview Pack that has updated Org charts, Job Spec, copy of the CV, etc. For ideas have a look at the templates section on the website for some of the Team Pack documents.

If you hire them and they are rubbish, pull them up straight away, find out why, be aggressive/direct but supportive. Make sure they know you consider them to be under performing and define expectations of performance. If they don't meet your expectations then cut them without hesitation, do not let it linger on in the hope they will improve.

Mark Crowther
Holder of the Magical Appraisal Dust