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Leasing insight: 10 steps to successful recruitment

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It’s a challenging process for leasing companies to find people who have the technical abilities and the skills to make the business a success

Analyse the role

Before recruiting, consider not just the tasks that make up the job, but also the job’s purpose and how it fits into the organisation’s structure, advises the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). “This analysis should form the basis of a job description and person specification/job profile,” it says. “Latest thinking suggests that job descriptions should focus on the work someone needs to achieve rather than the skills and experience, as this is more likely to result in choosing someone with the right abilities.

It’s not (all) about money

“While a competitive salary is important, it is never the defining factor – and if it is then you should seriously consider whether to employ that candidate,” says Will Gardner, director of specialist automotive recruiter, PIE. “What is important is culture, progression routes, innovation and opportunity.”

Show off your good side

“Employer branding is becoming ever more important,” says Gardner. “From the perspective of the candidate, they have made 70% of their decision as to whether an employer is for them or not before they have had any direct contact with the organisation. This is due to the many channels from which we now consume our information or ‘content’. This includes word of mouth, news articles, company websites, Glassdoor and LinkedIn, which now represents just over 60% of the jobseeker traffic globally. If an organisation is serious about positioning itself in order to attract top talent, it needs to consider how it is represented across all these forms of media.”

How staff view you

“One of the best windows into an organisation is through its current employees,” says Gardner. “So addressing the social message being put out there from an employee perspective is critical.”

Cast your net wider

“Looking at transferable skills and top talent from other industries will significantly broaden the talent pool, and will more often than not yield better results when it comes to performance and longevity of the hire,” says Gardner. “However, for a company to benefit from this they must be serious about how they on-board, induct and train new employees.”

Avoid dead wood

Leasing companies looking for new recruits with fleet experience “need to have something about them that aligns with the motivation of the candidate”, says Iain Cooper, co-founder and director of specialist automotive recruitment firm Callidus Consulting. “Sometimes this is package, sometimes it’s more about the quality of the customer proposition – some sales people, for example, genuinely want to feel proud about what they sell. If the leasing company is looking to attract someone doing great in an equivalent role, then it needs to invest time in thinking through the employer proposition, and how it engages candidates.” 

The ideal interview process

Interviews need to be fair, robust and document candidates’ competence and compatibility. “An assessment centre (AC) can help gauge talent/skills and is a widely used process,” says Cooper. A candidate needs to be sufficiently motivated to take a day’s holiday for what can be quite a tough day. If the leasing company has not built their ‘employer proposition’ in the early stages (see Step 3), the candidate might not be motivated enough to go through an AC process and withdraw, or perhaps not be willing to juggle their day-job priorities or take annual leave. Also, some candidates who are highly capable in their current roles just don’t do well in AC situations. So, we are seeing some clients come away from ACs, preferring a short series of interviews.

“A well-briefed candidate will walk away with their own thoughts and feelings about the people/culture – a big deciding factor in whether to accept a role or not. If they are well engaged, if their questions are answered meaningfully, if they get feedback along the way – they will generally feel good about the recruiting business,” says Cooper.

Ask the killer question

Give candidates enough rope and the wrong ones will hang themselves, says Colin Tourick, professor of automotive management at the University of Buckingham, and former managing director of a leasing company. Having gone through a CV line by line with an applicant, he used to deploy a technique to assess the person sat before him. “I would say, ‘it’s important for me to know where the edges of your knowledge are. So I’m going to ask you a question and, if you answer correctly, I’ll ask you another on the same topic that goes deeper. Answer that correctly, I’ll go more deeply, and so on. I will do this until you can’t answer questions. I’m not trying to catch you out, I’m just trying to work out where the edges of your knowledge are. It’s in your interest, because if I recruit you, I won’t have an expectation of your knowledge that’s actually greater than you have – we can always fill gaps in your knowledge.’ Then, when I ask my questions, interesting things happen. Even though they don’t know the answer blaggers try to provide it. The person I want is the one who has listened to that brief and understands that it’s not in their interests to blag me, and who says, ‘I don’t know the answer to that question’.” 

Round pegs for round holes

Most good managers know what feels right, but it’s worth meeting candidates two or three times to confirm early impressions. If interviews feel like a conversation with a reasonable flow, that suggests there’s a good cultural fit between candidate and recruiter. If the same questions prompt a more staccato interview, the fit might not be quite so good. Tourick advocates introducing shortlisted candidates to staff they will be working with. “Once you are sure that technically this person fits and that they have the competences you require, I like throwing them in with two or three people who are going to be their peers.”

Get into their heads

Psychometric tests are always ‘interesting’, says Cooper.  “We know clients who run a set of tests across a sales organisation, or customer services team, then check for patterns in the profiles of their top performers. They have a benchmark then, so the same psychometric can be used as a reference point. If meeting such a profile is deal-breaking in a process, then we always suggest doing it sooner rather than later.”

Did you know? 

Source: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 

Evidence shows that, on average, women apply for positions when they meet 100% of the required qualifications on a job advert while men are likely to apply when they meet only 60% of them.

  • How easy it is to apply can impact on people’s willingness to throw their hat in the ring, especially if they’re not actively job seeking. One or two clicks from the home page on a website, for example, should get people to the application. Arduous forms can discourage even the most motivated applicants. 
  • Around a third (36%) of 4,000 HR professionals surveyed by YouGov and Monster said they had declined to interview a candidate, or had rejected an applicant they had already interviewed, after checking their social media posts. 
  • Search engine giant Google apparently challenges its own selection criteria by occasionally recruiting someone who ‘doesn’t fit’ (that is, someone who didn’t meet some of the recruitment criteria) and measuring the impact, in order to challenge the staus quo.
  • Revealing how many people have applied for a role encourages other people to apply.

by Jonathan Manning

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