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Hire Properly, Hire Once

Posted in by on March 12, 2014 and has 2 Comments

Any leader of an organisation, whether a multinational or SME, will know the pain that attracting, hiring and retaining the right talent can cause. The recruitment and training costs alone can cause massive budget blowouts, and the financial expenditure isn’t the only investment; the time taken to ensure your new hire receives the knowledge transfer necessary for them to succeed, goes significantly beyond their office tour. Getting it right first time is more important than ever!

Recruitment in general is a necessary evil most organisations know they have to go through in order to grow their business and retain a competitive edge but we bet most companies would prefer it could ‘just happen’ so they can get on with more important activities!

At Asq Projects, we are always working alongside clients to ensure that they have the right people on board to make a project successful; this often means being part of the recruitment team for the client and advising them on best practice. We’ve learnt what works, and what doesn’t work for getting the right people into an interview and ultimately, into their organisation.

Here are our top 5 tips for attracting and hiring the right talent:

1. Picture the dream candidate

Before you do anything else, you need to be very clear about what type of person you want to hire for the role. This isn’t just about whether they have the right qualifications or technical expertise; your ideal candidate should do more than tick a few boxes on your wish list.

Think about what type of person you need to fit into the culture of your organisation. Do you have a fast-paced, energetic office environment where team members have to shout loud to get their ideas across, or do you run a steady-paced organisation where self-motivation and humility are more important? Invite input from project sponsors, other team members and even your support staff about what they think some of the attributes should be; after all, this person will have to work well across all levels.

Whilst you might not find the dream candidate, thinking about their most important strengths, apart from an impressive CV, will put you on the right track.

2. Assess their attitude

At each communication point with the candidate, take a step back and look at how they are projecting themselves through email, on the phone and in person. Are they eager to follow up, asking relevant questions and demonstrating genuine interest in the role and your company? Or are they complacent, overly confident or avoiding technical questions?

It can often be hard to get a realistic picture of the candidate from phone calls and emails so engage them in conversation about non-work related topics whenever possible; this can be insightful and will show you a different side to their nature (good or bad!)

Organisations often fall into the trap of hiring people quickly because they have a large workload, but taking this time early on can mean the difference between a short-term hire who isn’t right or a long-term team player.

3. How do you measure up?

It’s always worthwhile asking potential hires what stage they are at with other job opportunities. While they might not always disclose everything, it allows you to gauge if they are in demand and what you might need to do to persuade them to join your organisation.

If the candidate does open up about other opportunities they are pursuing, ask them where your organisation fits in to their job search and what made them apply for the role; their responses might help you to better tailor future recruitment.

4. It always takes longer than you think

Even with the ideal candidate in mind, an approved budget and a stack of excellent CVs on your desk, never underestimate the time it takes to source, assess, interview and hire.  If the role is needed for a new or ongoing project, communicate regularly with the project sponsor and don’t be pushed into hiring someone just to get the job done; it will always take longer to correct this kind of mistake.

Also, just because you have a great candidate shortlist, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a better person just around the corner.  Be prudent, take your time and do your due diligence; hire properly for the role the first time around and save a lot of headaches down the line.

5. How much are they worth?

Be really clear on what you can afford to pay to secure the right resource. Have the decision approved by the decision maker, even if you don’t offer the top salary immediately. Wasting time securing approval when the ideal candidate is waiting to join your organisation is too risky and they could go elsewhere.

Often, the perfect person is just out of reach of the client, but with a little more ‘flex’ on their budget, they can ensure they can hire them. Be realistic about the market too; asking for a well-rounded set of skills, experience and strengths in the right candidate will come at a price so don’t expect you can always get them under market value, even in today’s economic climate.

What challenges have you faced and overcome when attracting and hiring the right candidate for your organisation? Share your insights on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages or in the comments below.

For a full range of project management and consulting services, contact the Asq team today.

About the Author

Matt Carton

Matt Carton

Business Engagement Manager

Since 2000 Matt has been recruiting senior roles in the IT&T industry. This experience, coupled with over 15 years in technical sales and BDM roles in the manufacturing sector, ensures he and his team is well positioned and networked to handle specific assignments across a broad technology landscape.

Matt brings a consultative approach to business engagement encompassing mapping niche skill sets within the technology space to specific customer project requirements. His skill in combining a deep view of candidate technology communities plus a clarity of emerging technology trends, enables him to add superior value to our customers.

Connect with Matt via Asq or LinkedIn.


  • Do you have any thoughts, insights, hints or tips in terms of using LinkedIn as a tool during the recruitment process?

    • Matt Carton

      Thanks for the great question Michael, and yes, LinkedIn is a great resource in the recruiting process. I know some people swear by it for sourcing and hiring but personally, I believe there is more than one route to the ideal candidate.

      I find LinkedIn useful to do some background research on candidates before engaging further with them; I like to see if their industry experience is relevant for the role I’m helping a client to hire for. The recommendations are good to have a look at too, to see what other people have said about them throughout their career. Although, you do have to be mindful that not everything will be included on a LinkedIn profile (just like a CV) and the person will only include what they want you to know.

      To me, there’s nothing better than receiving a personal referral from someone within my offline network; this usually means the candidate will be a good fit for the role because the person referring them knows me and what I need, and also knows the candidate well. Whilst this can happen online too, I tend to rely on my face-to-face network in the first instance.

      You’ll also find that many senior candidates, or those with very generalist expertise will have various profiles (or regularly update them) based on what the market needs at that time. Again, this is why I prefer to meet people in person to assess their suitability for the role as well as to gauge their communication skills and cultural fit; this isn’t something that can be done easily purely through an online profile.

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