The Recruitment Process with Sam Spall from PCN


November 14, 2016

Today I want to cover how the recruitment process works. I think it's helpful to explain what we do as recruiters, specifically in my position as a Risk and Fraud specialist as clients and candidates may not be aware of all the steps of the process. I came from Oil & Gas recruitment and now I'm working in Payments. Payments is a younger industry, it isn't recruitment saturated, and there's much more knowledge sharing and trust. As a recruiter, it's a pleasant industry to work in. There's a lot of great people in this industry, it's always a good experience. The Payments world is moving very quickly, people appreciate a partner in that, and they understand the industry and where it's moving. We've created a partnership and trust with our clients. Knowledge sharing assists us in knowing what we look for because we want to constantly better ourselves. Maybe in other industries you're expected to know everything but people in this industry are open to continuous learning and questions. In the last 8 months my knowledge has grown so much.

To start the recruitment process, our agency will make initial client contact or vice versa. I see if there's scope to work together, depending on the requirements they have. I look at market trends and can help advise on best practices, including if it may be a good time to work together again. Once we've established that there is a real need for our services, I go over the vacancy with our clients. I explore what skills and needs they look for in their hire, and take a look at the salary, location, management and structure.

After taking the job spec from the client, I usually have some people in mind, as I've been building a network as a headhunter. Aside from those I can reach out to from my own network, of course we have databases and referrals (to name a few methods). Then I can either reach out to those I know or new contacts, get in touch, qualify the candidates and send them to the client.

Our agency takes candidate qualification seriously. If you look at our send out to interview ratio, the CVs we send out is almost 1:1 for an interview. If not, it is certainly under 2:1. That's because we want to make sure we introduce people who are right for the job and we ask the right questions. We act as the screening process for our clients so they don't need to look through hundreds of CVs. Sometimes if there's a vague spec, we can send a selection of profiles and let the client choose. That's why I always value having consultation with the client. I work very hard during the qualification process to only send candidates I truly believe will be a good fit for the company. I'm not doing this to get a "quick win" but because I feel that the candidate can really add value to their organisation. I wouldn't want to bring my clients a candidate that isn't strong for them, that wouldn't benefit me either.

Next, if the candidate gets to an interview stage, we prepare them. This means we brief them about the company, advise about the company culture, provide info. about the hiring manager, and let them know questions they may expect. After the interview, I ask the candidate to call me so we can discuss. I think for candidates it is helpful to talk about the interview. I want to both listen and encourage them and manage expectations. I always ask: "Is there something you wish you could have done better?" If there's something they wish they had said, I can bring that up with the client. And of course, I follow up with the client on their thoughts and potential next steps.

The next steps depend on how many stages the clients have in place. My work is to guide them both through the process. The client may ask for some more digging on salary or skills, and I can report back. I liaise with the candidate if the client is on the fence. That's something I care about. I want to build trust with the candidates and keep everyone informed throughout the process. From start to end of the process, I discuss salary and relocation each call or meeting I have with candidates. Often clients don't ask because they assume candidates will move since they applied or they question it only once during the process. Nonetheless, it's a point we must test over and over again -- I help sell the package and location, not just the job. We have to make sure we test the candidates on their commitment. It's not just about the skill set. Have they gone over this with their family? Are they ready to move? If we test the candidates on behalf of the clients, then the negotiations at the offer stage will have a smaller gap between yes and no.

Let's say all went well. Some recruiters stop as soon as the hiring is done. In my eyes, I'm supplying a service and I want to help candidates settle in. I can help them with tax advice or help set up a meeting with the previous person who held the position. I grew up hearing, "If you don't ask you don't get." With us, candidates don't have to worry about asking us. We'll help them and answer their questions. I also follow up with clients. I want to know what they thought of the service and if they're satisfied with how the candidate is performing. And if they're not happy, I want to make sure both sides are clear on expectations, and we can propose actions to fix the issues.

Every process a headhunter/recruiter has is a learning one. Always evaluate a process no matter how long or short and use strengths again and more importantly improve weaknesses. Recruitment is a tough learning school and therefore you can always better your last process.

Edited by Layla Durrani, Payments & Cards Network