How do you recruit currently? That’s normally the first question I ask my clients.

The second, how does that work out for you? If your answer to the second question is usually “great, we always find people through our network” then you probably wouldn’t need to read this. Or if this is your usual route but you are finding those hires are not working out for whatever reason, you may find you need to go back a few steps.

Here are my key considerations when recruiting great op’s people, more specifically white collar operations people.

What do you want the role to deliver?
When recruiting for any role, you always should begin with the same starting point / train of thought; what are you looking to achieve as a business and how will the hire help you get there.

You’ll need to be clear on exactly what you want the core focus to be…….
Will the role manage a team? If so, how many?
What management style are you looking for? I.e. hands on or to develop team leaders underneath them leaving them to focus on more strategic priorities.
What will be their objectives in the first 30, 60, 90 days and beyond? And what does success look like?
What other aspects of the job come under them i.e. facilities, safety, and quality?
It’s important that you don’t expect your op’s people to be a jack of all trades. Making your wish list too long means you’ll find it harder to recruit. Think about what impact you want this hire to have.

The person
This for me is the most important bit.
I reflected on operations vacancies that I have recruited for both as an MD of SELECTiVE and as an internal recruiter. For op’s white collar roles there are key themes that businesses look for either at CV Screening stage or through the interview process.
Commerciality / Do they know their numbers?
Size and scale of operation v resources available
Personal growth trajectory
Own values and pride in work
Drive and ambition – individually and through their team.
How they react when things aren’t going so well, have they turned it around?
Personal performance v team performance
How they influence and collaborate with others.
A lot of companies talk about “fit” and how this person will gel with the team. Whilst this is important, it’s also important not to recruit 10 Joe Bloggs as if everyone is the same, who will bring something different?

This is also the effect if you are fixed on what industry candidates come from as well.
The other consideration here is that companies from the same industry maybe your competitors or partner companies which may have an impact on your business relationships.

What’s in it for them?
Think EVP or to us recruiters your Employer Value Proposition.  This is all about you and your business. What the culture is like, the leadership team and the work environment. (If you don’t know this we have a great Recruit Happiness tool that can help you find out more.) You’ll need to be clear about things like development opportunities, company structure and if you are looking for them to
deliver a big change or transformation, what next?

Salary and benefits can be a contentious point. You’ll need to make sure that you pay the going rate, even as an SME. If you don’t do your benchmarking work and get this wrong, you’ll only get what you pay for from your applications. Salary isn’t the be-all and end all for candidates. I have heard so many times from candidates that it’s all about the opportunity, but if they have another opportunity they are applying for at the same time as yours, if the salary doesn’t compare then nine times out of ten, it will be the other opportunity that they choose.

Recruitment is always a great reflection point for any business owner to see how the market reacts to their salary offerings and benefits package and it’s important to keep it under constant review.

The Interview process
In this climate, most employers are opting for a virtual interview process. There are lots of products available that people use. Some common tools used are Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype but there are other paid products on the market that provide higher functionality such as; pre-recorded interviews and recording the interview so you can review after and add your own notes. On a side note, you could also use a section of the interview to virtually show them around the site, or record a video beforehand and send to them as a file.

Have your process clearly mapped out and make sure you repeat the same process and question set for each candidate. This will allow you to evaluate how each candidate individually performed to show you who was the strongest. It’s important to show consistency and fairness throughout the process and this is the best way to do it.

Generally clients tend to have a 2 stage process which is an initial telephone call followed by a video or face to face interview. Always ask yourself the question; do I need two stages? If you can apply speed to the process and get it completed in 1 stage don’t be afraid to. Some employers will chose to have a two stage process to give the candidates a couple of occasions to provide examples of their experience and show you who they are too!

This is a candidate led market so you’ll want to secure a good candidate quick, make sure the process is pre-set out and dates are booked out.  Generally an interview panel of two works best, this allows one person to lead and the other person to observe, take notes and probe. Competency style questions allow candidates to give examples of how they have delivered in the past and provide better evidence rather than a more generalising approach. Listening to them talking about their key achievements is also interesting to watch, they might get more animated and passionate which will give you an insight into their personality.

A note about on-boarding & candidate journey
Once you have selected the top candidate from your round of interviews, get back to them as soon as possible. Also make sure the unsuccessful candidates are contacted promptly. They might be great for a role in the future and you always want them to go away with a positive impression.
A good communication plan between the offer stage and the day they start is important. Invite them in for a coffee, team zoom’s or onsite for team briefs. Diarise these events and communicate with them once a week. Engagement at this stage is so important to retain their interest and ensures they feel part of the team already.

Make sure you up-take references and plan in your company induction. This may include planning their first day and weeks. Ensure the basics are ready such as where they will sit, laptop, phone and building access / ID Badge. Hopefully they will already know the team from their on-boarding time; however if they don’t create a schedule for the best stakeholders and team members for them to meet within the business. Schedule regular catch up’s to offer support and mentoring/coaching to be able to continue to develop.