Recruitment is one of the most challenging jobs for a business owner. Get it right and the business is enhanced. Get it wrong and it costs.
Like many other firms, we are currently in the process of recruiting an additional paraplanner. This is an area where demand seems to be exceeding supply.
We struggle a little from the fact one of our offices is in Cranleigh, Surrey.
We have no railway station and access to the village is mainly via B roads, some of which are single passing-point roads.
There are not so many paraplanners living in Cranleigh, so we need to cast a pretty wide net. Many candidates are introduced to us by recruitment agents.
They will email brief details of their candidate with an offer to send a full CV if we might be interested in meeting them.
I am fascinated by some of the CVs that arrive with us and wonder how much help they have from the recruiter. Every single one of them comes from a “team player”. Of course, this is great news. We absolutely want people to become part of our team.
But when we meet with these candidates, they really seem to struggle to articulate just what it means.
A team player is said to be emotionally secure, service-orientated, highly teachable and able to follow systems and processes, while at the same time able to come up with new ways to get the job done.
It is almost as if they think putting it on their CV will guarantee them an interview.
Another common claim is that the candidate wants to attain a particular qualification level, for example chartered status.
This is all very well. But, when asked at interview, many do not have an exam date in the diary and some are yet to even start studying.
We would be much more impressed by this claim if the candidate could evidence a study programme with exam dates pencilled in to their calendar. Another practical tip for candidates would be that, when claiming to be “very good at writing client reports” perhaps think about bringing along a copy of one you have done in the past as evidence.
We look at people in the round, asking about their interests as well as their professional qualifications. An often-cited “interest” is reading. Our standard question here is: “What book are you currently reading? Tell me a little about it.”
It seems most interest in reading is confined to a book they read on holiday last June.
One final point. Recruitment agents seem to have cottoned on to the fact that paraplanners are often paid more than administrators.
Some of the CVs we see evidence a lot of experience of the latter and little of the former.
Do not get me wrong; good, experienced administrators are very valuable resources but this does not mean they are paraplanners. The skill sets can be very different.
Nick Bamford is executive director at Informed Choice