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Recruitment Q&A

14 October 2020 Shannon Johnson

With the working world changing as we know it, Candidates and Clients are finding themselves in uncharted waters, leaving them with fundamental recruitment questions that need answering... From job seeking to attracting talent, Ryan Virani and Shannon Johnson are on hand to tackle some of the most common questions that are asked in the industry everyday.

Q: How long should a CV be?

Ryan: It all depends on your experience and the role you are applying to. Typically you want it to be 2 pages, but if you are worried about how to get it down to that because you have so much experience and you have been in the industry for years, I can tell you now that the developer role you did back in '95 if you're applying for a CISO role isn't going to add that much weight. It's not useful to have 7,8 or 9 pages of a CV where you are detailing in bulk about a role you held 15 years ago. What I would do is detail in bulk your last 3 roles and then bullet point the other roles to make it as tidy as possible, because being a recruiter we usually look at the last 3 jobs.

Q: What is the best interview process to engage candidates and keep them interested?

Ryan: I think it is how you start because first impressions are always important. I understand that with all the technical roles out there, the need to assess someone's technical ability before engaging them in a process, however if you have a good candidate you need to be able to flex around that. Without a shadow of a doubt that one to one informal conversation, be it over telephone or Skype etc, really does help engage a candidate. First of all because it helps you assess their cultural fit, some of their baseline technical skills but also it gives them the time to answer questions and ask you questions that they want to know and you'll find that they are more engaged and more willing to do technical assessments down the line.

Shannon: I feel like it's also very important to be mindful of candidates time, sometimes we see these processes that have between 5-6 interviews and it's obvious the client has really thought about the fact that candidates would have to take 5 different days out of their current role to attend those interviews, or clients are arranging interviews at 9pm expecting them to be readily available, and this doesn't mean that the candidate isn't interested if they aren't making themselves available for this level of interview, sometimes it's just not possible and people have families and commitments. Also I think it's really important to include your internal staff in the interview process because at the end of the day they are going to be the ones who work with this potential candidate and they are the heart of your business so it's good for the candidate to get a good insight into your culture etc. Also your staff will be assessing different things from the Directors so as a collective it's important for all involved.

Q: How do you write an engaging job advert?

Ryan: First of all with job adverts, one thing that I have seen a lot of is very long ones. The first thing you see when you see a job advert is usually about the business and my personal opinion on this is that it is irrelevant, only because I think naturally candidates will go and research the company in the background and therefore it doesn't need to be fully detailed in the job ad. Keep it as brief as possible when it comes to information about the company. From a candidate perspective, you have to bear in mind that if you have 50-100 requirements, they will have a checkbox in their mind as to whether they have done this in the past and if they haven't completed all of them they they might not apply, so make sure you define what is actually needed versus what they desire.

Shannon: From a marketing point of view I would really think about the job title you put out there. You need to think about what the person you desire will be typing into google and into linkedin when they are searching for a new role. Try not to make your job title sound too niche because lots of companies come up with these amazing job titles with these new industry buzz words but is that really what candidates will be typing into google? Think about the SEO side of things and what they will be looking for.

Q: What should you include in a cover letter?

Ryan: It does depend on the role. Where possible don't have one cover letter for every role you apply to because for 80% of the roles, the bulk of what the business want to know will more than likely not be in there. Tailoring it is an absolute must, look at their job description, them as a business and give more than 'I can do that'. Where possible give examples and show them where and when you have done certain things so they have that confidence to know you have done it.

Shannon: I think also with a cover letter it's a chance for you to get your personality across and how that relates to the company culture. Something that I would always do is look at the company values and how that fits in with your own values and your own personality. Obviously a CV is very formal and informative with dates and specifics on there but there isn't much chance for your personality to shine, so the cover letter is a perfect opportunity to get your foot in the door and show your passion.