Business handshake

On the first week back in January, post-festive guilt saw the company kitchen engulfed in a sea of green. Staff were vowing to lose weight, be healthier, exercise more; resolutions ran riot. By the end of the month, many guiltily confess their Dry January hasn’t been so dry and the gym membership isn’t being used as often as hoped. It’s the New Year’s Resolution crash, and it happens every year.

I don’t make resolutions. I appreciate their value but I know from experience that they don’t work. Too often we make big change statements without considering the tactics needed to realise the goal. The same goes for our recruiting resolutions. When my sales manager declares he wants to “on-board a new salesperson,” alarm bells ring. It’s the seemingly life-altering “I will lose weight” declaration: it’s too ambiguous.

On the other hand, the manager who requests an individual with X skills to perform Y role and be placed by May will always secure my vote. Recruiting resolutions should be like any objective: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely. Yet too often managers stick up the Help Wanted sign without formalising their requirements. Some simply replace like for like, or recycle the old job spec without considering the changing needs of the role. Some use the marketing assistant spec for a sales exec and wonder why results fail to materialise. One acquaintance confesses to simply seeking out a “mini-me” each time he walks into the interview room: “If they’re like me, they’ll be successful.” I’ll leave that open to interpretation.

If we make recruiting resolutions, let’s make them right. I’ll go ahead and make my dramatic change statement - whether that’s to generate more business or to trim down a few pounds - then work down from there. How can we achieve more new business? What skills, experience or personality attributes do we need? Where are we going to find them? When do we need them by?

Like any change, recruitment is a mercurial business. What you needed last month may not match your vision now; establishing regular recruitment “weigh-ins” or checkpoints will help keep that end goal in sight and relevant. I may not be a resolutions man but I am a tactics man. Give me WeightWatchers and a weekly round of golf any day; when we employ the specifics, we’re a step closer to the big picture.