Paul Croteau, Managing Partner of Legacy Bowes Group

It’s often been said that our employees are the backbone of every company and organization. In other words, it’s our employees and their productivity, their innovation and their passion that helps to facilitate success in today’s global economy. Talented employees create opportunities to develop new products or services and/or enter new competitive markets. They are also called upon to fill leadership roles and to build synergistic teams.

As a leading executive search professional, I find it surprising that many organizations fail to pay special attention to establishing and maintaining an effective recruitment and selection process. In other words, they fail to map out each step of the way or to see how each step is interrelated to making a final determination of the most capable of all the candidates presented. Thus, mistakes can be made at any of the recruitment and selection steps resulting in unexpected and unwanted turnover as well as the potential of making a “wrongful hire.”

Let’s take a moment and review some of the elements of a poorly devised recruitment process and the dangers this creates.

1. Failure to target candidate sources – Many organizations falsely believe that simply circulating a job profile hither and yon will result in a long list of candidates. Frankly, this is a waste of time and energy. You need to target your efforts toward industry sectors where you know there may be candidates with the qualifications you are seeking.

2. Failure to identify organizational selling points – Managers who do their own recruitment often fail to put themselves in the candidate’s shoes. They fail to think about why someone would want to join their organization. If you don’t identify the benefits of joining your organization, and if you can’t inform the candidates of the challenges and potential accomplishments found in a job, you will fail to attract anyone to your opportunity.

3. Failure to stay in touch – The recruitment and selection process takes approximately six to eight weeks. During this time, it is important to stay in touch with the most viable candidates. Failure to do so may demonstrate to the candidates that you lack interest in going the next step. When you finally do get back to the candidate, they may already have selected another employer.

4. Failure to avoid bias in the resume screening process – Unfortunately many people do not submit well written resumes. As a result, many employers become biased when they examine these documents. Some focus too closely on dates, others prejudge a candidate if they find a spelling mistake. Still others become biased when they identify former employers and if there is a bad reputation, they then become biased against the candidate.

5. Failure to conduct an effective phone screen – Conducting a phone screen is not simply a friendly chat and a review of the resume. Without carefully prepared questions and identified selection criteria, the interviewer will pay too much attention to voice and communication. The result will be gaps in information and a failure to make an objective opinion.

6. Failure to conduct an effective in-person interview – Some interviewers make their judgment based on first impression. Thus, shy and introverted candidates are often misjudged because they take longer to develop a relationship. Outgoing candidates who quickly establish common ground often lead interviewers to focus on personality match instead of skills. Be sure to prepare your questions ahead of time, ensure they will be effective in confirming skill sets and then be sure to train all of your interviewers.

7. Failure to conduct an effective reference check – Most interviewers create a whole new set of questions for their reference check. This also creates gaps in information and does not provide for comparison to the candidate responses. Ask references for confirmation of the different skills the candidate offers.

Failing to implement a rigorous and effective recruitment and selection process often results in hiring the wrong candidate. In this case, the truth of the matter is, “garbage in, garbage out” which can result in costs to your organization.

Research and review by Candace Weselowski, Legacy Bowes Group.

About Paul Croteau:

Paul Croteau is Managing Partner of Legacy Bowes Group, Manitoba’s leading Talent Management Solution. He can be reached at [email protected].

Paul is known as one of Manitoba’s leading executive search professionals. His more than 25 years of experience in the recruitment of senior management and executive leadership professionals are the foundation to his solid reputation for developing a deep understanding of his clients’ needs, enabling him to provide exceptional service and successfully meet the complex challenge of matching the right leader to his clients’ business needs.

Paul is a Certified Management Accountant (FCMA) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in accounting. Paul has extensive experience in all phases of executive search and has established a solid reputation in the national marketplace. Prior to joining Waterhouse Executive Search Partners, through KPMG and a local independent firm, Paul twice developed the largest and most successful executive search firms in Manitoba providing services to a variety of industries.

Paul has completed numerous executive “C” level and general management searches for a variety of organizations across all disciplines. Some of his clients include prestigious organizations such as the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba Blue Cross, Manitoba Teachers’ Retirement Allowance Fund, Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, CanWest Global Communications Corp., the Canadian Wheat Board, the Asper, Jewish and Winnipeg Foundations, Rice Financial, MGI Securities Inc., HED Insurance and Risk Services, Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers, Wildcat Exploration Ltd., The University of Winnipeg Foundation and Kraus Global Inc. 

This article initially appeared in the September 26, 2010 edition of The Winnipeg Sun.