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5 steps to foolproof recruitment

Nina Papadopoulos


Life is too short to be in the wrong job. Life is equally too short to employ the wrong person.

The best way to approach recruitment is to consider what a disastrous appointment would look like first, then work backwards from there. It’s hard to find exactly the right person. Sure, I get that, so start by working out what we don’t want or know what will fail first.

Use these 5 steps to help guide your process;

1) Why did the last person leave? If they left because they were a poor fit, didn’t have the right skills or weren’t motivated, identify what didn’t work and make sure that is part of your criteria to be avoided next time.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Einstein’s famous quote reinforces that we should learn from our past experiences to make better future decisions.

2) Understand the candidates career pattern.

  • Have they always worked in the same sector?

  • Have they been consistently promoted?

  • How long do they stick around?

If you’re looking at a resume with 8 jobs and an average tenure of 1 year, why on earth will this person stay with you for longer? Put yourself in their seat and try to understand why they move and what their career motivations or aspirations are. It's usually obvious when we think about it. If you shortlist them, make sure to ask the question.

3) Interview the hiring manager. If that’s you, find someone to give you a light interrogation about the role you are recruiting for. The answer is in there somewhere, but the criteria are usually unclear. Focus on these points and be specific;

  • What technical skills and experience do you actually need – not just want?

  • What sort of person will fit and gently challenge your working style?

  • What sort of person will fit and gently balance the teams working style?


4) Psychometrics. No, they are not a test and no, they aren’t magic either.

They serve 3 important functions;

  • Verify that the candidate does have the ability to do the job (i.e. they can problem solve).

  • Creates a structured behavioural shopping list for the hiring manager to consider how assertive, analytical, precise or empathetic the candidate needs to be to fit into the team, follow their leadership and perform in the role.

  • Evidence supporting assumptions: How did the first interview and psychometric compare? Did the candidate appear to play their cards close to their chest, or using the psychometric, were they just shy? The small indicators in an interview are usually supported by what we discover in a psychometric. Look hard to understand those themes.


5) Don’t lower your standards. It’s amazing how people get worn down after a few interviews. They start to build a business case to hire people they know aren’t right. Promote internally, get a contractor, do something, but never lower your standards. It's like the old dating analogy, you want Mr Right, not Mr Right now.


There are a million factors that affect hiring the right person. These aspects tend to be overlooked, but based on my experience, these are the simple steps we often don’t make time for. Yet because of our haste, we spend years stuck with the wrong employer or employee. Life is simply too short to get this wrong.


Macarthur Human Capital: Unleashing the competitive edge, driven by people

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