Bad résumés, Skype, and doing favors

Mar 13, 2015

Bad résumés, Skype, and doing favors

Why flexibility is key when hiring your next top employee.

By Randy Wilburn Recruiting Notes
Image courtesy of Flanzingo Image courtesy of Flanzingo
One of the things that always stands out to me is architectural and engineering client firms that totally understand the process of attracting and hiring great employees. Some view it as a crapshoot – and I guess you could take that position – but I’ve learned over time that those that properly plan for the future, especially when it comes to an ever-evolving HR and recruitment process, will always be ready. The challenge is the preparation and execution. Finding and hiring the best talent for your firm cannot be done in a vacuum, nor can it be relegated to second place – behind your marketing and sales efforts. I mean, come on! Who’s going to run things for your office? Some project management software tool that allows you to be more efficient both internally and externally? While those resources are great, it takes extraordinary talent to take your firm to the next level. That’s talent with a capital “T;” it’s not always easy to come by, which is why you need to be able to do a few key things to make sure you are attracting the best and brightest to your firm. Bad résumés may not be a deal breaker. Many hiring managers put too much emphasis on the résumé. This is also a hindrance in finding good people for your firm. There is only so much you can glean from a résumé. If you rely solely in reviewing résumés as a hiring manager, then you need to rethink your hiring process. There are great candidates out there whose résumés leave more to be desired. Sometimes “bad” résumés are submitted by folks who have been busy working. Penalize those candidates at your own peril. I have presented tons of candidates to my clients sans résumé, and many of those folks ended up being hired. We have to figure out a way to look past this perceived lack of information and develop a better litmus test for screening candidates. At Zweig Group, we have clients give us the best questions they would like answers to, and when we do our preliminary interview and assessment with candidates, we ask those questions and try to incorporate that information into the profile that we send to our clients. We’ve found this to be a huge timesaver. You say you’re too busy... use the Internet to your advantage. Consider offering scheduled online interviews via GoToMeeting, Skype, Google Hangouts, or some other method of meeting with a potential candidate. This digital face-to-face approach can be a time saver, and you can keep things simple by following a script and asking questions germane to the position you are trying to fill. Though you will not be able to judge body language 100 percent of the time, you will have a better sense of things than if you had a phone conversation. An agenda is key to making sure you have a successful online interview. Just because you are a great conversationalist doesn’t absolve you from preparing for the interview. Trust me, if you try this with an agenda/script, you will thank me later. The online interview goes well, now what? Once you have some compelling information on a candidate, you need to figure out a way to make yourself available to meet with this individual in person. I cannot tell you the number of times we’ve had to help clients understand that top candidates in today’s market, especially those that are not necessarily looking, have their pick of the litter when it comes to job opportunities. You may think your firm and opportunity are special, but there is always a bigger better deal waiting just around the corner. So, if you think you can put off a candidate interview until your schedule permits, you are highly mistaken. The biggest problem we see with most firms’ hiring processes is that they are set up in a manner where they make the candidate feel like they are doing them a favor. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In the AEC industry, we deal with a fairly well educated and savvy marketplace of candidates, who know their value and are willing to wait for the right opportunity. This is precisely why you need to put your best foot forward in every interview process and make sure you are moving things along at a pace that signifies your interest in the person, if there is interest. It may sound like I beat this drum all of the time, and unfortunately I have to, because we are still seeing very successful firms (from a revenue or operations standpoint) make a multitude of mistakes when it comes to hiring. I just want everyone to know that the perfect candidate is not out there waiting to take your job opportunity. There are a few really good people who can fill the role you are looking to fill, if you would just meet with them. The hiring process is not a simple one, and it definitely takes time to master. There are obviously better ways to improve our odds of landing the most talented individuals, but you have to approach this process with a plan in mind. Then you’ve got to be willing to be flexible and to consider ways to let technology be your friend when recruiting and hiring the best engineers and architects. Randy Wilburn is the executive search director at Zweig Group. Contact him at © Copyright 2015. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.