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Do I need to meet you?

Three weeks ago I had a call from one of my favourite clients to say that the HR Manager was leaving and could we help find a replacement. Happy to be asked to help but sad to see a good HR Manager move on.

Having spoken to the people on file I decided to advertise the role as well and placed the advert on job boards and social media. The initial response was good and I sent out a few invites to ask people when they were free to meet!!!!!

Three weeks on and the feedback has been somewhat below par. Of the people coming through we have chased several of these applicants three times now and still not heard back, and in the end we have sent a polite “can’t contact you email” and have closed their application . Others have responded, of which so far I have met two, one decided against the role (too small a hotel for them) and the other wasn’t the right personality fit. Others have responded and each time this happens to me I have to hold my breath and somewhat bite my tongue.

“Can we do a phone chat please, or do you do this on skype” and when I advise we have to meet face to face they suddenly seem less interested.

Now yes, if they are outside a certain travel zone then we will do phone interviews or skype chats but this is a judgement call, the role is in London, the candidates applying are mostly working and living in London but they still want to do a phone or skype chat!

One such applicant, let’s call him Mr X, applied to us with a good CV, five star hotel background and  on paper a good fit for the role. I called, I emailed and I called again and finely after 10 days he rang me back and said he didn’t really have time to meet, so can we do a quick five minute chat. Sorry no I said we need to meet please, I could meet him from 6am to 9pm, Monday to Friday when can he find the time. His response was he would have to come back to me later that day. That was Monday this week, to no surprise I have not heard back.

Now this chap was someone I then realised I had met last year. I had a call from his GM and was asked to help his hotel with a senior chef recruitment assignment. We met, we talked and he advised me that it was imperative that we met all the candidates that we presented as so many agencies did not. In fact his words were “the reason why we are coming to you is because our last agency were “found out” and they were just sending us just any CV”.

He asked me about emotional intelligence and our ways we check for engagement and how we vet the candidates we presented. He asked about our history of placing people in the same type of role and quality of hotel and even who he could call for a reference. His words where “you have one chance to get it right”
Now in the end it was us who declined to work with them, they wanted a five star candidate but were asking to pay a two star fee. Now as any business we all have our price point and when negotiating the price he said upfront we were far too high and wanted to see if there was any room for negotiation. I said we are happy to consider this until he asked us to agree a fee of 8%. At that point I knew we would be poles apart. I offered to reduce to a certain amount and he said the 8% fee was the level he had agreed with the GM. I advised this wasn’t a level we would consider and shook hands, thanked him for the meeting and left.
Several months later I happened to be out and bumped into the F and B Director of the property, chatting away he advised me they still had issues with the position and were in fact on to their third candidate.

Back to present day, communication, engagement and emotional intelligence are three key indicators that we look for not just with candidates and you cannot assess this as easy over a phone call or a Skype. Now with vacant role of HR Manager and the property we are recruiting for this role is mostly about Employee Relations, the outgoing manager has a great rapport with the team and this will be missed, his personality is key to his ability to build relationships and resolved the everyday issues staff tend to present. It’s key we find someone of a similar style and nature to continue the good work.

So if you want a drive through recruitment service, that’s takes five minutes then there are loads of great companies out there that can offer you that service, but if you want to come in, sit down and have a real conversation, keep me in mind please.

P.S. still looking for a Good HR Manager for this great boutique five star hotel.

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