The first time I met Frank Stillone, managing director of The Silent Partner, he was looking for a ‘robust’ recruitment process.
Finding the right people was difficult. Most didn’t live up to what was required for the role. Mistakes and poor performance from his staff were costing him business. He needed a better way of finding the right person who would be an excellent fit. Together we were able to develop a process that delivered the results Frank wanted to achieve.
The Silent Partner, in Sydney, is a provider of virtual office, calendar management and help desk solutions. The growth of the business requires regular recruitment of additional virtual receptionists to deliver these services. Frank had previously done his own recruitment, with mixed results.
Using his knowledge of what makes someone successful in the virtual receptionist role, Frank and I carefully selected the essential and desirable criteria, along with those characteristics he would prefer to avoid.
For each of the eligibility criteria – skills, qualifications, experience – points were allocated to each possible answer, depending on the job requirements. For example, some of the company’s clients are medical specialists and allied health professionals, so bonus points were awarded for experience as a medical receptionist.
For the suitability criteria – personality, motivation, work preferences, interests – we were able to add relevant traits and rate them in terms of their importance and frequency of use on the job.
Once the criteria were in place, Frank was ready to start taking applications. He placed an advertisement on an online job board with a link back to The Silent Partner’s ‘Jobs’ page. The advertisement also stated that the only way to apply was by following this link.
When an applicant reached the web page, they could see the job description with an ‘apply now’ button at the bottom. By clicking on this button, the applicant would arrive at the beginning of the online application form.
Once they reached the application form, applicants were first presented with details of the job. If they chose to proceed with an application, they completed their name and contact details before proceeding to the first part of the online questionnaire (eligibility).
Answering the eligibility questions took only a few minutes. The applicant was then asked to upload their CV and cover letter. Depending on their score in the first section, they were asked to proceed to the second part of the questionnaire (suitability). Completing this section takes about 20 minutes.
A total of 269 people viewed the online application form. Of these, 69 decided not to apply after viewing the job description while a further 27 didn’t proceed after entering their personal details, therefore self-selecting themselves out of the process.
This left 173 applicants who completed the eligibility questions and/or resume upload, including 132 who went on to complete the suitability questionnaire.
The system automatically short-listed 24 candidates with scores over the pre-determined cut-off. The CVs of the top 15 short-listed candidates were reviewed to decide who would proceed to preliminary structured telephone interviews.
Frank interviewed five people in the preliminary round. Two candidates were selected for more detailed interviews and both were offered – and accepted – a virtual receptionist position.
The Silent Partner’s recruitment process had rewards in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness.
Frank says: At the end of the day, your company is just a collection of people doing stuff and whether that company is Apple or Merv’s Mowing Services it doesn’t really matter. If you want to be successful you need to get the right people doing things right. As small business owners the same applies to us: We can be experts at many things but we cannot be an expert in everything. That’s why we need to bring in someone with specialised knowledge and tools to help us find the talent we need to grow.
"In a challenging role in a new organisation, coaching with Paula was the ideal time to reflect, problem-solve, brainstorm options and arm me with next steps in all areas - from staffing, internal politics and relationships to tackling key initiatives. The sessions were by video and face to face, both equally effective. Using video allowed for easy integration of sessions into my busy workdays without any hassle. Paula’s style of coaching quickly built trust so I felt safe being vulnerable, quickly getting to the heart of a number of issues and propelling me and my performance forward significantly!"
- Executive GM, People and Culture
"The last couple of years at batyr has seen incredible growth and the Balance at Work team has supported us along the way. They have helped us improve leadership skills across the team by helping us source and manage mentors, and even engaging as mentors themselves. As a young and fresh CEO Susan has also supported me personally with genuine feedback and fearless advice to achieve great things."
Sam Refshauge - CEO, batyr
"We used the Harrison Assessment tools followed by a debrief with Susan, for career development with staff, which then allowed us to work with Susan to create a customised 360 degree review process. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and is able to offer suggestions and solutions for our company. She is always ready to get involved and takes the time to show her clients the capability of Harrison Assessments. "
Jessica Hill - Head of People and Culture, Choice
"Balance at Work are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool and the follow up coaching sessions have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organisation is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such a great support crew on this key project."
Chris Bulmer - National GM Learning and Development, ISS Australia
"We use Harrison Assessments with our clients to support their recruitment processes. We especially value the comprehensive customisable features that allow us to ensure the best possible fit within a company, team and position. Balance at Work is always one phone call away. We appreciate their valuable input and their coaching solutions have also given great support to our clients."
Benoit Ribe - HR Solutions Manager, Polyglot Group
"The leadership team at Insurance Advisernet engaged Susan from Balance at Work to run our leadership development survey and learning sessions. Susan was very professional in delivering the team and individual strengths and opportunities for growth. Susan's approach was very "non corporate" in style which was refreshing to see. I can't recommend Balance at Work more highly to lead employee and team development sessions."
Shaun Stanfield - Managing Director, Insurance Advisernet