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Answers to your HR and recruitment questions

3 min read

What are the recruitment pitfalls around taking on interns?

Rather than ‘pitfalls,’ there are disadvantages, particularly when a small organisation opens its doors to interns. It’s difficult to provide adequate mentoring without seriously disrupting the workings of an organisation.

Many interns bring misguided expectations. With little or no experience of the work they will be performing, an ‘all about me’ attitude prevails; often they expect to be spoon-fed, immediately gratified and consistently praised throughout the assignment.

High maintenance and ‘needing’ everything to happen immediately, interns can have trouble separating social life and business. These negatives lessen dramatically when it’s possible to culturally ‘match’ an intern to a specific situation.

Disadvantages are offset by a fresh influx of energy and enthusiasm, new perspectives and creativity, contemporary thought and technological expertise.

How do you ensure you are attracting the right staff?

Not-for-profits (NFPs) employ recruitment consultants for their expertise in finding proven and appropriately skilled individuals who are the right fit for their organisation.

The key lies in knowing as much as possible about the NFP, its objectives, development, plans, culture (or brand) and any constraints. By exploring the role to clarify its purpose, focus and anticipated outcomes, you gain a clear, in-context appreciation of the type of candidate who’s required.

By examining the aspects of a desired candidate in terms of skills, attributes, attitude and culture, you can then establish where that person will sit in a team.

Estimating how they will enhance its performance and synergy gives you your parameters and it’s within that profile that you search.

The role is not the most important driver; it’s what a person can do with the opportunity that counts. Position descriptions may read nicely but often bear little relativity to the personality of the role or the type of person best suited to it.

What are the most important questions to ask a potential employee?

Understanding what drives an individual is paramount. That means ascertaining very clearly what it is they are looking for and why they are so enthusiastic about this role in particular.

A lot of questioning will centre around the need to obtain genuine proof that candidates really have done all they claim. As a good rule of thumb, if someone struggles to explain why and how they did something, then they probably didn’t really do it. If your candidate is proud, excited and takes ownership of an accomplishment, then you are almost certainly on the right track.

Secondly, observe and note soft skills, personality and presentation, using intercommunication and body language to evaluate things like positivity, enthusiasm, adaptability, authenticity, presentation, presence, manners and of course stress management and confidence

What are the best ways to retain staff?

Having good staff and keeping them is actually all about you! More people divorce their bosses than ever abandon their jobs.

Surround yourself with bright, can-do people who are keen to work and prepared to stay for the long haul. These are staff you have taken infinite care in choosing – not only for skills but for attitudes and attributes that promise an exciting future. They will come in all shapes and sizes and at all ages and stages of life – and each has the unique ability to become part of the heart of your business. These are the individuals you want to hold close.

Give them a great place to work and plenty of personal attention, reward them well, live your values and be a leader they want to emulate.

What are your five tips to create a productive work culture?

In addition to the answer to the above, give your staff the confidence to grow and evolve, to think boldly and act bravely – even if that means risking the occasional failure.

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