Why can recruitment be such a minefield? 
Why do we recruit people into a business? 
Recruitment is done for one of the following reasons: business growth, employee replacement or recognition that additional support is required within the current framework. 
Recruiting for growth or additional support are generally straightforward - identifying what you need in an individual will be directly linked to what you will be asking them to do within the job role. Recruiting for a replacement is an area that is often overlooked as there is a tendency to recruit a direct replacement based on an individual’s background (someone that has done the same or similar job in the past) as opposed to using it as an opportunity to review what support is actually needed in the business. 
I believe that the key reason for this happening is businesses are, more often than not, having to recruit under pressure. In so many cases an individual’s notice period is far shorter than the time the recruitment process takes to complete, and even where this is not the case, there can be budgetary restrictions on having an overlap period where there are two people doing the same job! With this difference in time, the pressure can quickly mount on a recruiting manager to find a replacement as it is seldom the case that departmental targets are reduced as a result of someone leaving, nor does the workload disappear! 
Having been in this exact position myself on several occasions, I am confident that in quite a few cases the recruitment decisions I’ve made I’ve later come to regret. 
Replacing like for like? 
With pressure mounting it can be extremely hard for a manager to take the time to reflect and review what they actually need; it’s all too tempting to just advertise for the same person that has just left, even to the point that previous adverts are just recycled and pushed back out again. This also leads to businesses only looking in the same places that they have looked in the past for potential candidates and often this pool can turn out to be quite shallow! Looking for previous experience in the same or similar job roles can fool us into thinking that the individual will get ‘up to speed’ more quickly than someone without this background; sadly this is not always the case when you take into account individual’s motivation for changing their current job for something that is the same or similar. Let’s call it personal baggage! 
Spending some time to think about what skills are needed to do  
the job and consider what other jobs across all industries require the same skills potentially opens up a whole new pool of candidates and with a little effort once recruited these candidates have the potential to become fantastic assets with a much wider experience than you otherwise may have found. Let’s face it, you’re already under pressure so what difference does another few days really make? 
Potential pitfalls? 
It’s worth noting at this point that for the approach above to be truly successful you do need to have a robust induction process. The phrase “grab them by a leg and a wing and throw them in” will not pay dividends and will quickly find you back where you started only now under even greater pressure! 
The best inductions I’ve seen myself don’t really expose the new starter to their actual job role until they’ve built an understanding of the wider business and where they fit within it, basically investing time upfront can avoid many negatives down the line! 
Over the past 20+ years I’ve lost count of the number of interviews I’ve conducted but I would guess it will run into the hundreds! One of the key mistakes I’ve seen made in interviews is the use of the hypothetical question i.e. “if this situation [insert your example here] occurred, what would you do?”. It’s important to understand that a hypothetical question can only really invite a hypothetical answer! 
The better way to phase the question is, “give me an example of when you have [insert your example here]”. This will then enable you to explore examples from their past that will allow you to further understand what their decision-making process may have been. 
When recruiting for several job roles that are the same, it’s good practice to be consistent with the questions that you ask. This not only makes the process fairer for the candidate but it enables you to identify differences between candidates in the same environment. 
Slow down wherever possible. Take time to think about what the actual skills are that you require and where you might find candidates with these skills - a fantastic waiter in a restaurant might just be what you’re looking for in a customer facing role! Be consistent and kind in the interview, you won’t get to see the best version of an individual by putting them under undue pressure and remember, you will get it wrong so good luck! 
Dave Bownes 
Haynes Oliver Limited 
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