The 3 Q’s of Recruitment

We are fortunate to have a special post from a guest writer.

C. Darren Brooks, Ph.D. has spent almost 20 years as an HR practitioner and performance consultant in the private and public sectors. He has extensive experience in strategic HR planning, recruiting and staffing, instructional design, performance improvement, program evaluation, organizational development, and talent management. Dr. Brooks is a visiting/adjunct instructor at Florida State University in the College of Business and College of Education.

Over the weekend, while watching a pre-season football game with my son, I was intrigued by the numerous discussions about player trades and acquisitions during the off-season and the attention teams give to identifying the player(s) that fit their particular organizational need. In other words, there is better alignment between the organization’s need and the actions taken to meet that need. This takes planning and an understanding of the priorities driving the recruitment process.  As I contemplated the level of detail football coaches and team personnel managers place on the recruitment strategy, I could not help but reflect on whether or not business and governmental organizations applied the same level of thoughtfulness in aligning their human resource needs with their recruitment planning. My experience gave me the answer…no!

In most organizations, recruitment planning typically means managers are engaged in “filling a position” with limited thought given to aligning need and activity. More specifically, many hiring managers lack clarity about key priorities that are necessary to define a recruitment strategy. For example, if a manager is pushing to fill a position quickly yet the organization needs to improve the quality of new hires there is a lack of alignment between the need and the recruitment activity. When this happens the result is rather predictable. The position is filled but need is not met.

As HR and recruiting professionals it is our responsibility to assist hiring managers in identifying and aligning the business drivers of the recruitment process.  This can be done by engaging your hiring manager in a discussion about what I call the 3 Q’s: Quantity, Quickness, and Quality. While not a comprehensive list of questions, answers to the 3 Q’s provides answers that will shape the actions of your organization’s recruitment strategy. Let’s discuss each one briefly.

Quantity. How many qualified candidates are needed? The answer to this question provides detail that will shape how you will market the position, how you will evaluate candidates during the recruitment process, and the impact on the hiring manager’s time. For example, I recently advised a client who needed to hire more than 120 entry level professional positions in 8-weeks. The number of new employees necessary to meet the organization’s need required the employment of a broad mass-marketing approach to attract the volume of applicants in a short period of time. One potential downside is quality may suffer resulting in higher rates of turnover down the road.

Quickness. It is important that you understand the hiring managers definition of quickness in recruitment activity. This ensures that there is realism in the recruitment process. If quickness is the key driver, a different recruitment strategy may be necessary because an extensive search may not be possible.

Quality. In recruiting speak, quality generally refers to the strength and caliber of a candidate’s experience and overall qualifications when compared to the requirements for the position. During the discussion with your hiring manager, clarify what is meant by quality. Have them describe the requirements necessary to perform in the job. Ask for the top three to five “must haves” in a candidate. This will help the hiring manager think through the position in context of the organization’s need. You can also help them recognize what is “important criteria” versus what is a “nice to have”.

By taking the time to question hiring managers about the 3 Q’s, the better you will understand the key business drivers that ultimately shape your organization’s recruitment strategy. By seeking clarification and prioritizing quantity, quickness, and quality your recruitment efforts will be more productive and aligned with the needs of the organization.

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