How can you find your ‘Mary Poppins’ candidate?

How can you find your ‘Mary Poppins’ candidate?

There is something magical that happens at times within recruitment. It’s the moment you’re on a call with a candidate and you realise, beyond doubt, that they are “the one”.

Quite often when looking we are spending time questioning the job spec, trying to find the trade-offs between what’s essential and desirable. But every now and then, you have the moment where you find, what I like to call, your “Mary Poppins” candidate. You know the scene; the kids write a letter asking for their ideal Nanny, listing out all the traits. Then their dad reads it, rips it up and throws it into the fireplace. Low and behold down comes Mary Poppins and she’s “practically perfect in every way”.

It doesn’t happen every week, it happens so rarely that I can pretty much remember each time it’s happened in my career. I remember the call. I remember the feeling I got when I realised that they were made for the job. I also remember calling the Hiring Manager full of excitement to tell them about the candidate.

Now, I’m not saying that every Hiring Manager should hold out for their Mary Poppins Candidate – especially in this market! There is a lot to be said for being open-minded, recruiting on attitude and aptitude over previous experience. But, how can you set up your recruiter for success in the hopes you may find your Mary Poppins?

I can’t stress this enough, it’s all down to the time you spend on the brief at the start. That’s not a recycled job spec that’s been doing the rounds since circa. 1980.

It’s not a short call where you say; “send me a world-class chief operating officer, they have to fit our values” and then sign off the call thinking your work is done.

It’s a call with the recruiter that’s very two way.

It’s an honest chat about the market, how the benefits and salary benchmark against your competitors, where the pain points are, where the opportunities will be, the types of industry experience that works well (and the ones that don’t), the dynamic of the team, the managers and the key objective for someone coming into the role. You should be prepared to be giving an hour of your time for the initial call to get the recruitment kicked off right. Feedback through the process to let your recruiter know if they are on track, or missing the mark is going to be invaluable too.

Sure it takes up some of your time. But, you can either have the one size fits all candidate. Or the one that’s perfect for you. Now isn’t that going to be Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?!

So, if you are one of those Hiring Managers, who let’s face it has many demands on their time, thinking I haven’t got time to properly brief this role, just give it a try. Laying good foundations is the best way to build a strong house after all. This leg work at the beginning will save you pain further down the line.

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