Why HR shouldn’t compromise on recruitment

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When you’re struggling to fill a key position, it can be tempting to hire the best of a bad bunch but one leading HR head has warned against the approach, insisting it’s better to make do than suffer recruitment remorse.

“A good vacancy beats a bad hire any day,” stresses Fiona Ireland, HR head at Trade Me. “We will absolutely not hire somebody in the event that they’re not completely right for Trade Me.”

In just a few short years, the Kiwi institution has undergone incredible growth – from a modest workforce of 150 employees to approximately 500 – but despite the added pressure, Fiona says the company refuses to compromise during the recruitment process.

“When you hire the wrong person it can be damaging for a long period of time and it has a huge impact on the team,” she warns. “If we bring someone in who can’t cope with our environment or isn’t able to perform the role, it’s not good for them and it’s not good for us.”

To avoid bad hires, the company puts prospective employees through a rigorous recruitment process which includes a competency test and a meeting with the prospective team.

“It’s really important for us that our teams meet our potential hires and so they have the opportunity of giving feedback on anything that may concern them,” she told HRM.

“We typically take that feedback on and if there is a genuine concern, depending on what it is, we will actually veto somebody,” she added.

According to Ireland, the ethos of getting employees involved in the recruitment process means they’re more willing to pitch in when roles go unfilled for a period of time.

“People are really happy to step up and help out because they’re involved,” she stressed. “It’s not like we’ve got our managers hiding behind recruitment doors making decisions on people – the team are typically involved in that recruitment process so they actively know that somebody may not be right for the role.”

The refusal to compromise on quality, says Fiona, is also a key driver in maintaining the company’s award-winning culture.

“When people come in to Trade Me, because our recruitment process is so thorough, they have a very good insight into the environment they’re going to work in so that means they’re typically prepared to have opinions on what we’re working on and to give their feedback if they think something’s wrong or if they think there’s a better way of doing something,” she told HRM.

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