Improving Your Quality of Hires — ERE Workshop Preview

May 8, 2012

Every staffing manager is concerned about the candidate quality and quality-of-hire metrics. These are very hard to measure. But if you have sourcers, recruiters, and candidate specialists who know what they’re looking for, and who know how to ask the right questions of the candidate who they’re talking to, then you vastly improve the quality of candidate, which in turn, improves the quality of hire.

If we don’t understand the technical functions of the job, then whole hiring process will be wrong, from start to finish. Here are the four problems that can occur:

  1. The job reqs you post won’t be compelling because you can’t speak to the strengths of the project that the candidate will be working on. Or worse, the candidate doesn’t know what they will be doing even after you explain the job.
  2. The search strings that you create will pull up a whole variety of people who are not necessarily a fit because you are not searching for the right keywords.
  3. When sourcing for resumes, you just end up “buzz-wording” the resumes and sending them on, without understanding the context or meaning of the keywords.
  4. And the worst one of all: When you talk to a candidate, you are trying to sell them a job that they are not a fit for. Example: You need an engineer who will build a Java Swing front end application for an OS in a router, and you’re talking to the 500th J2EE developer.

The technical understanding of a job is the hardest concept to explain to the average person, and the one that is the most necessary. But the right training will combine higher-than-average technical knowledge, razor-sharp search string skills, and in-depth behavioral interviewing questions.

Understanding the Technical Requirements and the Job Function (Do the pre-search or pre-sourcing)
It’s not that we want you to have a MSCS degree (though that would be nice!), we just want understanding of technology on a basic level. This is one place where I see many people in staffing fail. It’s not just a matter of copying and pasting technical acronyms from job req into a search string. With every job req, there is an underlying technology that average people cannot discern.

Formulating the correct advanced Boolean strings (Anyone can create a Boolean string, but do you understand it? Can you create the right one with the right keywords?)
No matter how many times you’ve looked at someone’s search string cheat sheet, if you don’t understand the technology, won’t find the right people. If you need a c++ engineer and the best you can come up with for a search string is: c++ AND (programmer OR developer OR engineer), then you may be in trouble.

We as staffing professionals have to remember that engineers do not write resumes for recruiters or sourcers. They write them so they can describe what they’ve done in the technical terms they understand. So that means that you have to understand what they do, what tools they use, what companies they come from, and what products they work on.

The right screening questions (How do you ask the right questions to screen out the good from the bad candidates?) Many sourcers in the corporate world do the initial contacting of candidates, so they must get their telephone sourcing skills up to par. Not only do they have to do that, but they need to know how to weed out the mediocre candidates from the superstars.

To the average sourcer or recruiter, this is not always evident. A complete understanding of the job requirements and what the company is looking for will bolster their credibility with the candidates and hiring managers.

We have to create the open-ended questions that will help our assessment of the candidate’s skills. Instead of:

“Do you have Agile software development Project Management experience”

You should be asking:

“Tell me about the software project you managed.”
“What were the deadlines for the project and how did you meet them?”
“What were the budgetary constraints that you ran into?”
“What was the software product and how widely was it distributed?”

Companies need sourcers and recruiters with expert-level abilities. They need to be able to deliver the quality of hire that the hiring managers so desperately want. If you train your employees to do their “presearch” for every req, to get the research/sourcing process right from the beginning, then you can increase your quality of hires and your own success.

I will be conducting an in-depth workshop at the Fall ERE Expo in Hollywood, Florida. This workshop will cover these topics in great detail and will also include focus on understanding the technology within your job reqs, formulating the right search strings, sourcing the best candidates, and screening your potential hires with accuracy and confidence.

I will break down the hiring process from a technical recruiting angle, and will provide solutions/steps to any difficult reqs that you may be working on. For more information, please go to the ERE Expo website.

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