Why personally interviewing for the temporary staffing market is so important.

I am interested in people’s thoughts on this subject as the amount of people I interview that are currently with, or have been with other agencies, that have never actually been seen personally by the agency is staggering.

By all means, call me ‘old fashioned’ as I did start this industry back in 1995 before the massive use of the internet and CV databases etc and I am a quite habitual person, however I have to this day never sent anyone on an assignment without sitting down with them face to face, registering them for work, spending some time with them, getting to know them, explaining how I work as a business and what I expect from them for at least an hour. This to me is one of the best parts of our Industry, getting to know people and surely helps us select the right people for the right job.

Although time consuming, most weeks I will see and register on average about three new people per day allowing one a half hours per interview, four-days a week, so about twelve new applicants a week in total. I will select on average between 7 to 8 candidates that are suitable and that I want to represent my business. I don’t give out application forms to fill out, I ask them open ended questions and fill in all the paperwork myself, whilst keeping constant eye contact.

Attitude, customer skills and how well they come across is what I am looking for as well as the important skills they have attained. I am looking at how smart they are appearance wise. Are they smart casual, shirt and tie type, scruffy, have visible tattoos on their knuckles, piercings? Are they friendly and sociable? Are they stressed, cocky, sociable, grumpy? If so is this because maybe they have been out of work a while and bored or are they normally like this? Do they like working in teams or alone? Are they laid back or enthusiastic? All these many different qualities people have and their appearance will determine whether or not I want them to represent my business and my Clients’ businesses, and which Clients I can send them to. Without seeing these people and getting to know them. I would never know.

As I deal largely in the car industry and supply car drivers, in theory If someone has a clean licence, has been driving for a lot of years, had no accidents, used manual and automatic gears and knows a lot of the UK, generally you would assume they are suitable however although they may well be, they may also be unreliable, poor time keepers and not nice to work with and have a ‘bad’ attitude.

I can understand why recruitment agencies will look at this as a time -consuming process. Receiving applications or looking at CV’s to me doesn’t achieve anything. I think I have ‘playing squash’ as a hobby of mine on my CV which I haven’t done since 1985! We are at the end of the day a in a ‘people’ industry and sell these people in to work for a living so surely we should actually get to know them and as their employer, and for them just as importantly get to know us too.

Once they have been registered I will explain to them how I work as a business, when they can expect to hear from me, and most importantly explain the reasons why they could not work for me. Not turning up on an assignment means they will never work for me again, along with poor time keeping.

Body language and eye contact tells us a lot about people and what I do like about the personally interviewed process is the difference in attitude to when they arrive to when they leave. Some people are a little nervous, cautious about how agencies work and generally what to expect, but mainly leave excited and eager to start work.

Over the last 5-years, I have had a 100% attendance from all my workers (albeit two sickness incidents where they were replaced for the day) and must get 2 to 3 referrals a week from existing staff. There is no ‘special’ secret to this other than trusting your instincts in people, using your own judge of character, and being selective on who and who not to employ which unless spending time with people you would not otherwise be able to do.

It may be more time consuming than looking at CV’s, receiving application forms however it is a lot less stressful and eventually saves time and stress when you have a work force you can rely upon, along with being a lot more fun and interesting getting to know all different types of people well.