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When a recruitment agency owner or leader makes their own hiring mistake, it’s mostly with an experienced recruiter.

The assessment process that, almost always, is much more thorough when hiring a rookie seems to go out the window when a person with at least two years’ recruitment agency experience is front of them.

The overwhelming desire to hire a person who can ‘hit the ground running’, ‘won’t need to be trained’ and ‘knows what they are doing’ appears to cause a short-circuit somewhere in a recruitment agency leader’s brain. Their brain’s rational side is hijacked by the emotional side causing a rushed, and potentially, poor decision to be made.

The topic of competencies is one I have written about many times before so, instead, I’m offering a post-interview checklist in the hope you give your rational brain a chance to catch up with your emotional brain to minimise decisions you’ll later regret.

Having concluded the interview with an experienced recruiter I recommend answering each of the questions (except the last two) below with one of the following three responses: Yes, Unsure, No, accompanied by with a sentence or two justifying your answer.

  1. Does this person present as happy, optimistic, and stable?
  2. Does this person demonstrate curiosity by asking intelligent and appropriate questions about the agency, their potential colleagues, and the role they are being interviewed for?
  3. Does this person demonstrate a care and interest in others by listening effectively and not dominating the conversation?
  4. Was this person able to provide specific examples of both their level of skill and level of performance that (at least) meets my expectations for the salary and benefits they are expecting?
  5. Does this person have the necessary industry knowledge and expertise to be credible with our agency’s candidates (or could they be trained to be at this level within a short period of time)?
  6. Would I be comfortable to introduce this person to one of my (or the agency’s) major clients?
  7. Did the candidate demonstrate defensiveness when asked challenging questions about their employment history, work performance, relationship with others or decisions they have made?
  8. Am I enthusiastic about investing in this person, working with them, and generally supporting their career development here?
  9. Does this person raise the average of our team?
  10. In what important ways is this person similar to other recruiters who have succeeded in this role or I have successfully led and developed?
  11. If I hired this person and they subsequently failed what do I predict would be the single-most significant reason for their failure?

If you select ‘unsure’ as your answer for any of the questions you have a clear direction for any subsequent interview, profiling assessment, or reference check as a way to explore your uncertainty and clearly decide ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Question 11 (a premortem question) forces you to be honest about any niggling doubt you are at risk of minimising or ignoring in your desire to make a quick decision.

Of course, this checklist could be used for the hiring of any recruiter in your business, not just an experienced one, however it’s the scarcity mentality with respect to experienced recruiters that most often causes agency leaders to make a quick, but ultimately regrettable, decision.

Related blogs

Hiring Mistakes Part 1: The fallacy of ‘previous experience’

The premortem: How to avoid ‘stupid acquisitions’ in one step

Who not to hire as a recruitment consultant

Rec-to-recs: What should they deliver? (from 2010 with 38 comments!)

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