Starting a recruitment process for a new position is sometimes like going shopping for a dress with my 11-year-old daughter. It looks like it’s going to be fun and quick, but when you arrive at the mall it turns into a challenge.
At home she promises you she knows exactly what she wants…she saw something similar online or on her friends. However, once the mall doors are open and she starts looking around the different shops and options, we realise that the dream dress is not to be found. Either she finds the perfect dress but the size is wrong, or maybe the fitting or colour is not quite what she wanted. Or the ideal dress is there, but entirely out of our budget. In the end we might spend 2 hours at the shops yet return home empty handed, both upset and frustrated.
I sometimes fall into the same trap with hiring managers. We start a search for candidates without checking the market and getting aligned – we don't conduct a real conversation about what we’re looking for and what our limitations are, and after a few weeks we’re frustrated and under pressure as the dream candidate has not materialised.
I have to say that even after 18 years as a recruiter, I still make this mistake. Why? Because I think I already know the manager or that I have recruited for the same role in the past. Maybe the manager doesn't have time to meet with me, and there is pressure to move forward quickly and start sourcing. So we begin the sourcing, screening and interview process just to realise a few weeks later that we’re not aligned.
Alternatively, I may only spot this misalignment when my candidates keep getting rejected again and again, and I'm not sure why. A proper kick-off meeting that covers all the details regarding the specific role, the market and any limitations is a must. Don't wake up after two months realising that while the manager wanted a vintage Dior evening dress, you were shopping for a casual outfit in Zara. Or, alternatively, that you found this one-of-a-kind Dior dress but he can only afford Primark. Or – even worse – he is after a specific brand that you simply cannot get in this market.
kickoff meeting- mind mapping-
I find it really useful to plan a kick-off meeting. The first step is to work out which topics you want to cover – I love to create a mind map of all the information I need. It's a great exercise to start things off, and from there you can create a checklist or a question list to take with you. There are many different free mind map tools to choose from and I use several types. See below an example of a basic mind map for manager kick-off meetings. Go ahead and create your own! Share them with me if you like!