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PRIME Recruitment Blog

Due Diligence in Recruitment - Who's responsible? Or: Being paid for a lie?


Claiming to know and being found out to not know is one of many things that takes out a candidate in an interview. In the past weeks I have seen this especially on the proclaimed competence in Languages and frankly it might be time we all went and took a proper test now and then to ascertain what is what. Sometimes the whole application was written by someone else...

-International companies, and also local THINK they have competent staff and rely, and have to, on local recruitment companies to check - the sad thing is it does not happen. One reason certainly being the competence on/of the Recruiter is simply not there - the other, maybe just as much - if the fee for recruitment is too low there is neither time nor interest to do your job to check. Interviewing in English should be standard procedure where needed, Latvian & Russian too. Tell the client to check too! Or tell if you haven't...

Recently in a process I ran, ENGLISH was crucial to the position - frankly most could not hold a conversation in it, let alone in their area of competence! One of these who failed us later sailed on to a position where I know the Management should but apparently don't know that the person can't - and it lies on the responsibility of the Manager in charge including the HR-person to find out - especially when the head office relies on it. In a company that otherwise has to live up to all international standards to be able to export there! I leave it for you to draw your own conclusions..... but I sense this is rife here. In a country that asks of everyone to be a good academic...

Another example was of an HR person running the recruitment for a very large company. I am an advocate of people having had another job after their degree or before as they will work and deal with people many years their seniors, and it is important to understand people's lives also outside the factory. Being a good administrator fresh out of university you need at least 5-6 years in different roles to even know yourself let alone 'administer recruitment' or that of actually employing people. A looming danger here are the numbers of people returning from work overseas said to have worked with recruitment and no one ever checking the WHAT's and HOW's...and it seems both recruitment companies here and the management s don't care. This means that fair English skills impress as well as location and the few months  spent in the function in the U.K., as in this example... but who actually knows if it was about sorting papers, interviewing or what? For one, advertising there and inviting people when you yourself are challenged in that language I find hard to believe is going to be of any substance. Yet, for lack of experience people are taken on, on assumption! To one of the most critical positions in a company! Imagine then having a foreigner who runs the show, who probably does not know the local languages is poor his her awareness of the 'culture' - they can largely be fooled! And do you what, people get away with this...  And are overpaid for what? -Shocking!

Yet another phenomenon is a fresh degree from you-know-where, no life experience but a sexy diploma from a leading university and there and then, whisked off to lead a company!
Without a clue about life! And with Management in no better shape - well-educated on paper, but experience in life.... -Still an Enigma, to You? But here good English probably sealed the deal. (Or chronyism Radi&Draugi = nepotism). I bet you, THAT made the recruitment company smile! The 'Let's scratch each others backs'-syndrome..

Checking a person's de facto competence is not an easy one and that is why it is so important to have consistency in the process, people who know what they are doing. A bad example of this was when I picked up that a recruitment company phoned the person in question, a very competent financial officer. A few questions were asked in the local language, the next day, a Saturday -which is fine, came without warning 4 questions of which the most intelligent was: '' If Johnny has two apples, Ieva 3 and if the answer is 7, how many does Janis have''? The others were not much better!  -Having completed these she was then deemed the RIGHT person for the position a Latvian company just out of town, recently set up which had just fired their current manager after two months, having totally been in operation for five.  What is needed are means to test people really, another that the Managers are more involved in the quality part, both in  the said recruitment company but also as buyers! In this case if this is recruitment, then someone has been royally screwed.. If this was a 2-2500 EUR job it makes the industry come out as fools...

I am by now aghast to see how selection happens, especially on how little time is put to find out and query further. (Seen from that point of view the industry is over-paid! ...and others...too little!).  I know fully well that a lot of degrees here are not real! Including the final paper written! It has not seldom been written by a person paid some 800 EUR or more for a Master's paper. Years ago I found out that answers to tests had been gotten from teachers because they badly needed to make money! I hope at least that is history now, but what I have found is that when I ask people how cost is calculated and they have a degree in business administration - they don't know!  It is not a matter of English. The understanding for some what is Economics and what is Business Administration is also largely unclear. That was told us both in the English courses at university, as well as the courses in Macro economy the second term at university in an education that spanned 4 to 6 years!  Thus I encourage managers on all levels to CHECK  and see if people actually make sense!

These are from what you can see now, far from separate cases - as most of us cover several industries it is important to do your footwork and constantly follow up on this. There are courses for professionals to attend in the U.K., too which I sent people over the years - but when these are not in place, senior management must take out its staff and 'air them' . A good example of this is when a business friend of mine took out his younger sales staff to mingle among foreigners in a chamber run event. This allows to see others, learn what is needed to live up to, train ability to hold a conversation in a foreign language, take in new ideas, see yourself in contrast and also probably enjoy a good meal with others. This would, where needed in the individual case,  improve your eating techniques, such as the use of fork and knife..:) In this person's case the latter is not an issue, but otherwise  often is among locals as well as foreigners as they look like miniature excavator plunging through the food!

The purpose of this article is just like to enlighten us all that things need be improved and we are all part of it and it concerns us all and our delivery. It is skills like these that a seasoned manager is looking for, and if they aren't their it may become a very expensive exercise. When I myself have short-coming I call to people who have, I can also bring in expertise, I also enter into a dialogue where I ask my candidates to explain and show with examples. By the years in recruitment you develop a feeling for what is and what is not and may read so much more even at a moment's glance and the first few minutes that the rest of the interview does. However it is still wise to not ever assume but actually find out - this told me many years ago by my expert trainer in THOMAS  -Mats Lewin, whom helped turn round not only my sales but that of Unibanka / Uniliizings = today's SEB, Volvo Trucks's HR and Astra Zenecas results.  It just leaves to show we can never learn enough!

Do your DUE DILIGENCE, it may well be NO ONE else did!

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PRIME Recruitment runs processes in Matched recruitment for local and international companies in Latvia and Pan Baltic since 1999, trailing back to 1997 and as early as 1994-5 via the Manager. A large part of the job is to never rest and never take anything for granted and thus spend many hours on the selection mainly in meeting people more than once. With a testing profile developed with the client we achieve well together, but break that chain, by saving cents we might lose sight of the goal altogether. Don't!  To WIN, You and I need team up, invest time prior, by doing our home work together and to complement each other where best needed! Let's get it right the first time!

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