Manufacturing Recruitment Advice - Tips of interviewing the Top 15% of Candidates

13 July 2018

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Announcer: You're listening to Manufacturing Ignition Recruitment Advice. Bringing you right up to date on the latest recruitment information, trends, and discussions to help you recruit the best people for your business. Sponsored by Bonfire Recruitment, helping manufacturing leaders across the UK to attract the best talent for their manufacturing company. Ignite your business or career today by visiting Here's your hosts, Terry Mallin and Scott Buchanan.


Terry Mallin: At Invest Weeks Manufacturing Ignition Recruitment Advice, we're going to go through ... So once you've got the top candidates engaged in your recruitment process, how should this then be handled when you're meeting face to face at an interview in regards to going through the stages before you actually make an offer? Scott, what's your input on that?


Scott Buchanan: Yeah, we've seen the method that we've done in 2017 that's proved highly successful, is that we're finding the interviews that are conducted face to face, there's already an element of ... I'll use the word rapport. But certainly an understanding between the given client and the given candidate because we have a full understanding of what the client is looking to achieve. Both from the company perspective and from what they're looking for the individuals to be capable of. But we obviously send the CV, along with a video interview as well, so when the client actually meets with the candidate there's already some common ground and at least a starting point, to go that way. So the majority of interviews send the feedback that ... That we've been learning of this year ... Has been that things move pretty quickly. I think that already takes your profession to a whole other level to go that way.


Terry Mallin: Yeah 100% Scott. Just to kind of draw it out a little bit further. You know the main benefit ... So once you've engaged and you've struck up a conversation with the top 15%. You've got the person to the point of shoeing an interest in a particular position with your company and they're looking to progress that further, the next natural stage that we do is we would then arrange a video interview. The benefit of that is actually a lot of times [inaudible 00:02:23] both sides. If you meet someone natural, you think this person's gonna be the dream article, the perfect fit. And vice versa for that person. They think it's going to be their dream job, and the perfect fit. Well actually in reality, after that initial whatever interview, either side may realize that it's not. And what we do is we do a video interview for all our short lists. And you can do [inaudible 00:02:50] as our company as well. But it's a quick 10, 15 minute video interview. We will sit down with a person. We will ask that person to go through five minutes about background and then start asking some key questions like, "What's your career aspirations in the next five years? Why are you interested in this particular business? Why are you interested in this particular position?" That way you get a feel for that person and they get a feel for you if you're doing the interview.



Scott Buchanan: Yeah.


Terry Mallin: And vice versa. It's only taking up 15 minutes of your day. Nobody has to take any holidays. It can be done on an iPhone. It can be done on an iPad. A laptop. It's all done safely and securely. You can look through them, it's your own personal interview item. And that way when you're ... After a person's actually buying in to taking the time ... So the candidate, they're buying into taking the time to do a video interview, you know they're not a tire kicker. They're not just looking to get some information from you. They're not just looking to [inaudible 00:03:47]. They're actually taking time out of their day, when they weren't looking, you engaged with them, they're taking time out of their day to sit and do a video interview. So, that kind of reaffirms their interest in that position. And you will get people who don't turn up for their video interview, and probably the good thing is, thankfully we never arranged the face-to-face. 'Cause that could be completely time wasting certainly. So yeah, good point Scott about the video interview.


Scott Buchanan: I think also from the clients' perspective, it tends to be that the client will invite people that they feel ... Whether they do or not is out of the question, but they feel that the [inaudible 00:04:21] and actually would be [inaudible 00:04:23] for the time to go that way. And the client already gets the thought process, hears the language that they're talking, and that the methodology of what they're [inaudible 00:04:33] that there'll be questions that'll fit to them. Which actually could be for the client their self. We do that in some cases where we've got some key questions that the client wants to make sure has been presented to the candidate, and see how the candidate reacts. And it's all there. So yeah, politely an answer to your question, in terms of the actual interview techniques and so on. I guess it depends on what the company's looking to achieve out of their interview as well.




Terry Mallin: Yeah.


Scott Buchanan: Is the company wanting to just get an understanding of the first stage interview, checking the boxes from the company point of view. Or actually have we already done that? [inaudible 00:05:14] do. Do we want him to move on to actually be able to bring value. And for this candidate that's potentially isn't readily available in the market, and prove what value they could bring to the company. These are all the things that can be discussed.


Terry Mallin: Yeah. Exactly. And another tool that we use in addition to the video interview in there is behavior reports. I'm sure we've all done them in the past but it gives you a profile of who you potentially ask. Some can be scary. Some can be quite ... can make you feel uncomfortable. You think, "How did that report know me so well in 12 questions?" But again, there's all different types of tools out there. We use a specific tool. There's a business that would use a certain tool.

Terry Mallin: But the whole purpose of it is not actually ... So we all get candidates to do a behavior report. But firstly what we'll have done is we'll have got the hiring manager and possibly the senior team ... So say the hiring manager's a managing director of our business. We would ask for the MD to do the behavior first 'cause then they will understand what the candidate's doing. We will also get as much of the senior leadership team as possible, who would be peer group to do the test as well. And they can all have a laugh and joke at the reports et cetera. But the importance of this is actually when we are submitting candidates, what we'll do is the candidate will get a copy of their report. But we can actually benchmark the behaviors of that candidate against A, the hiring manager. And then B, the overall team. So you can see what this persons' behavior traits you're putting that into your senior leadership team. How the dynamics change within your team.

Terry Mallin: Just let me reiterate here. This is a tool. It's not 100% accurate. It's a tool used. But you can actually question people at face-to-face interview and you can have a real open, up front, frank conversation on the basis of if the hiring manager is more reactive and likes to get things done quick. Whereas that candidate may be the opposite and may be more methodical. And may like to take their time before coming at a decision. How they would feel if they were rushed in that sort of situation. It allows for a real free flow, open conversation to make sure that A, both the hiring manager and this person can work well together. And B, that this person would integrate as well as possible within the team.

Terry Mallin: Why would I look that? Well, the purpose is ... One of the problems that we get within recruitment and what we've seen historically within the companies is when they make a bad hire, this tends to be not the experience or technical ability of a person. It's more to do with that person fitting within your business and your company.

Terry Mallin: So we try and put all the facts and figures in front of the companies that we work with to give them as much tools and understanding to make the best call. And that's the best call for everybody because the last thing we want is someone to hand in a notice, take three months to start a position, start the position and within a month they realize it's not the right role for them. That leaves a sour taste in that candidates mouth as they're now having to look for another role when they've left a secure role. And B, on the clients side to [inaudible 00:08:23] back to the drawing boards and they might have to wait 3-6 months to recruit that position. Think about how much cost is involved in that and how much cost is lost as well. And you know, you can't get it right all the time. That's impossible. The nature of the beast is we deal with people. It's not a product.


Scott Buchanan: I think an important thing to highlight Terry is ... Look, we believe in making sure that the right people get the right job for the right reasons. I think the only way that we be ... We can only allow that to happen by empowering people to have the tools to do that. Yes, we've got professional experience. Yes, I'm sure we've got professional opinions. But actually it's allowing to make sure that the detail and information is there for the client and the candidate to make sure that they're aligned in what's [inaudible 00:09:10]. As we've seen, it works. Because at the end of the day if the client is looking to identify this top talent and you get a candidate that is looking to further a career in a company that's aligned .. and also if they fit correctly within the team environment, the senior management team environment because through the testing we've done whether it's just for the candidate or across the senior management team. It works.

Scott Buchanan: You know that way it's tried and tested and then I think that the traditional methods whereby ... I know that companies, and they're stull there as well, whereby it doesn't matter what level of opportunity you're interviewing at within a company, you will do some form of psychokinetic testing. But I don't think, sometimes, that the questioning against a psychokinetic testing is actually used effectively to allow the candidate to represent themselves fairly. Because a candidate may well get stressed out over the types of questions that are asked. The way we do it is very down-to-earth, to the point, specific to manufacturing, and it seems to be doing well.


Terry Mallin: Yeah, and this doesn't replace get feeling by any means. But what it does, it reaffirms that gut feeling, hopefully. Gut feeling's a massive part in the selection process. But you will get the facts and figures, and the black and white to back up your decision. You've got the backing of other members of the senior leadership team because you know everyone will work well together. It's a win-win. Remember, this is before we even get to a face-to-face interview. Because, what you're then getting is the absolute buy in from that person that they're not gonna waste your time. So Scott after we've done the video interview, everybody's happy to proceed. We will then go to a face-to-face and obviously Scott you yourself and a few other are in that position where you've been approached by someone, you went into their company. How you would you like to be treated in the best? Say you're not actually actively looking. You're happy in your current role. There's someone's approached you that you're doing a very good job and they're trying to tempt you to their business with say tier progression, or more money, whatever it may be. How would you like to be treated within a [inaudible 00:11:31] process to keep you engaged? What would you need to know?


Scott Buchanan: Well I think the important factors for me would be. Because if I quite happy where I am, I would need to be comfortable that there's a reason for me wanting to be putting my head above the [inaudible 00:11:47] and meeting with a given client to speak about it. As a person, I would need to know the facts and figures and the nitty gritty I guess of what's there. But also, I think it's important that whoever, and I guess it would be a recruited if I wasn't looking ... I would need them to be able to comfortably tell me what a client is looking for and to make a self-assessment on whether I'm the right man for doing that or not. I think the key thing is to have that information.

Scott Buchanan: The other thing is, on the basis that that's all there ... If I was to go for a face-to-face, I think the most important factor is you've still got to treat it as an interview. But likewise, you've got to ... What I mean by that is you've got to do your homework. You've got to do your research in the company and make sure you're being true to yourself and that the client was what you're all about.

Scott Buchanan: One concern, or one of the things that tends to happen at interviews, can be that people act out of character because they don't maybe interview everyday to feel that way. So they find themselves in this tough place where they're trying to impress but it's maybe not natural to them. And actually, the best advice is to be yourself and treat it more as a business meeting. Treat it as you would in a B2B basis rather than treating it as a formal interview. That's certainly my input.


Terry Mallin: Yeah. I know I find that [crosstalk 00:13:19]


Scott Buchanan: [crosstalk 00:13:20] No, I completely agree with you. I think if it was myself ... And I've got people that I've dealt with in the past to try and tempt them out of businesses and put them into new businesses. It's very important that these ... You know, end of the day, this isn't someone actively looking. So you want to be giving them as much overview as possible. The reason why I mention overview is 'cause you don't want to get to in detail, and your confidential information, all that sort of stuff. Just end of day an overview to give them a good idea where their role would fit into the business. Where the progression opportunities are. Because most times these people will be career driven.

Scott Buchanan: And maybe a fact or two. That's an important part because what you get in a fact or two is you get ... And it's amazing what you can achieve in 10, 15 mins you're walking in the factory. But you do get a sense of the culture. You do get a sense of certain things like HSE. If there are products, how the lines are run, however that may be. You can pack a lot of good information up. The cleanliness, that's probably a big one for me. You get into their factory and the last thing you wanna do is see ... you like to see nice painted lines, nice walkways, everything in order. And I think that gives you a reassurance as a candidate that you know what that the company's invested in the factory. If they're not invested in the small things then what chance are they invested in the bigger things and how that will impact your career. Again, that's an important part as well.


Terry Mallin: Yeah. And I guess it's relative ... Isn't it? ... To the industry to know that at end of day you could actually ... the role you could be going for is that there's a company that's now secured investment and that want to get the place top shape, to go that way.


Scott Buchanan: Yeah.


Terry Mallin: But actually at the moment that they may be behind the times and they recognize that. There in lies your opportunity. I guess that's a bitty about it all whereby someone that's maybe comfortable in that environment has maybe seen both sides of that coin and can add significant value to that opportunity. But likewise, if they've worked in a shady factory all their life then looking at the industrial situation of maybe 30 years ago is maybe not the best environment for them.


Scott Buchanan: Yeah.


Terry Mallin: So, you're right. I mean, it's knowing what you're working with. Knowing what you're playing with in your job and doing it well.


Scott Buchanan: Yeah. So I think summarizing that particular recruitment minute would be in the basis of, you know, make sure that we're weeding out tire kickers straight away. Conducting a good video interview. Getting a feel for the candidate, get a feel for the business, and vice versa. That way you can progress with somebody you feel comfortable with before wasting time and money.

Scott Buchanan: Secondly, a behavior report would be very useful. Especially within the senior team. Because what you could do is you'll end up with some really relevant interview questions. Once again saving time and money. Where you can [inaudible 00:16:25] in an interview and make sure it's a good fit for all parties from a culture point of view.

Scott Buchanan: Now remember, behaviors can change. So this isn't, as I said to you, it's just uses an interview , an interview technique, rather than a hiring decision. If anyone wants any advice into a specific software that we use for video interview, or the specific programs that we use for our behavior reports, please let us know and drop us a line. It's Or,

Scott Buchanan: Just from the point we're seeing [inaudible 00:16:57] done it, [inaudible 00:16:59] that the client had the best [inaudible 00:17:01] program for recruitment and their own internal set up. But it didn't have a tool for doing the behavioural assessment. So, that can be done then separately.


Terry Mallin: Yeah, and we're happy to give any advice on that. So, that wraps up this weeks podcast Scoot. How did you find that broken into three different chucks?


Scott Buchanan: Well it's certainly ... Yeah, it's good. I think we need to send a bit more time on making sure we can count to three. But once we've got that sorted then it'll be a lot easier listening on everyone I think. Everybody can actually listen to the part that's important to their world at that point in time. So, yeah, all good.


Terry Mallin: Yeah. Good. So if you're listening to the end of this particular podcast just remember there's two other podcasts that we'll discuss. So every week we have three separate podcasts. One, the latest in manufacturing news from the previous week. The second one being a specific hot topic within manufacturing. And then the third podcast being the recruitment advice for a specific issue or area for development that myself and Scott will go through. And those are cut down into bite size chunks of 10, 15, sort of 20 minutes long depending on the specific topic.

Terry Mallin: So if you haven't listened to them I the past please check us out on iTunes by searching "Manufacturing Ignition Podcasts" also in quotes. And you can have a listen there. And once again, we'll fit a number of e-mails to [inaudible 00:18:35] with some good feedback. And we're always looking to improve what we're doing. We get some really useful advice. So if anybody's got any more feedback that would be great. You can pop us an e-mail, as I said, Or Thanks for tuning in this week. And we will speak to you next week.


Announcer: Thanks for listening to the Manufacturing Ignition Podcast. If you've made it this far, we take it that you enjoyed the show. In return we'd love it if you'd leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Subscribe while you're there and we'll catch you for the next episode.


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