10.09.2018

Agile recruitment – Is it possible? Part 2

When recruiting here in Norway one would typically design a detailed job-spec in terms of what the role involves, the purpose of the role and what skills and background is required. The next step would then be to go out looking for the best candidate in relation to the spec, either via network, advertising or a headhunter. But why are we so set on only searching for the “perfect fit”? (The one that best fits the job-spec) Why are we set on finding as close to a 100% match as possible?  I would argue that this way of thinking border-lines being naïve. And if not naïve; your company could put itself at the risk of losing out to, yes you guessed it, the perfect candidate.

I have lost track on how many times my clients have ended up recruiting one of the outsiders or “jokers in the pack” in the from large multinational companies to SME`s. One of those candidates that perhaps I shouldn’t have interviewed in the first place and one of the candidates that I wouldn’t have recommended to the client based on the job-spec. Yet, I have interviewed this candidate, yet I have delivered this candidate and it turned out that this candidate got the job.

Being agile when it comes to selecting candidates could be as simple as adapting the spec and need based on the opportunities you discover from speaking with a wider range of candidates. There is a lot to learn during a recruitment process; not just about the market but also in terms of your need. Therefore, a more agile process and way of thinking allows for the candidates to be an integral part in deciding what is the best candidate for your company and the position. Not only that; An agile process and way of thinking could assist in taking your company to heights and / or in directions you initially hadn’t expected.

The above is perhaps particularly important for management positions. Here is an example:

Two years ago I was once involved in the hiring of a Chief Sales Officer for a tech-company in Stavanger. The company wanted someone who had been involved with running large sales departments and someone that had 10 years + sales experience and experience from selling SaaS and IoT solutions. 80% of the role would involve sales strategy and 20% marketing. I delivered 3 candidates that fitted the role perfectly, yet I also decided to interview an outsider. This was a person who was Chief Commercial Officer for a company focusing on marketing, specifically in-bound marketing. A person that had little sales experience himself but who had managed Sales Managers and BDM`s. During the interview process with the client, they realised that this person could take their sales effort globally to complete new levels. They realised that they could now implement strategies that none of their competitors had in place. They realised that the way of achieving sales could be done in other and more effective ways in the future.

And what about the things this person lacked? Well; a dynamic and agile organisation can easily work around this and that’s what they did.

So how can, and should you be more agile when selecting candidates?

Of course, you should sit down and create some form of job specifications including what you are looking for and the purpose of the job etc. Yet at the same time, you should keep an open mind during the process and be willing to adapt the job spec and it`s purpose when you spot an opportunity in a candidate. By selecting a variety of candidates to attend the interview process you will be surprised how much you will learn. Not only that; You will be surprised to see that the job spec and your need may change significantly. Yes; your agile way of approaching the process will allow you to select the absolute best candidate, not just the best candidate for the spec you initially set out.

Actually; When I am writing this, I am surprised as to why not more companies think in this way, but at the same time it is great to see that some companies are moving in this direction, particularly tech companies. Well, there is no reason for those outside of the tech-industries not to be agile in terms of recruitment. You have everything to gain from it.

Part three to follow