The Recruitment Process

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L-IFT is an international research company working on a wide range of financial research topics in a number of countries across the globe, requiring project-based field employees to deliver the high-quality research for which L-IFT is known. As a result, we have a developed recruitment system for hiring project field teams.

Let’s divide L-IFT’s recruitment system into three stages to understand the process. It has a preparatory stage, a selection stage, and a recruitment stage. We will have a look at each stage briefly.

The preparatory stage involves formulating a clear job description and posting a job advert along with an application form for a specific project and position. The application form is very specific, tailored to the job. The data in the application form helps us to narrow down the pool of applicants and pre-select only those who meet the key requirements for the role. The advert will be posted on L-IFT’s website on the open vacancy page. This page will be active only when there are active adverts, otherwise, past adverts are found on the closed vacancy page. The closed vacancy page benefits both L-IFT and interested parties, such as prospective applicants, as it serves as a comprehensive list of past job postings. This allows L-IFT to have a readily available reference for previous vacancies, while also enabling individuals to understand the criteria they need to meet by referring to these past job adverts. The advert will in addition be posted on LinkedIn and on other local social media outlets so that it will easily reach the type of applicants needed. We often use job boards on webpages in specific countries as well or some specific chat channel where vacancies are listed.

After posting the job advert we tend to get a continuous stream of applications. They each need to be checked whether they are complete and genuine and whether they reached before the deadline date of the advert. Once the deadline has passed, the advert will be removed from the open vacancy page. The recruiter must make sure that the number of applications and the quality of the applications are sufficient, otherwise, the deadline will be extended. In our experience, we can receive up to 1000 eligible candidates for 10 field positions. Only in a few countries has it been difficult to get sufficient applicants.

This takes us to the selection stage of the process which is the largest part of our work. This stage is a bit lengthy when compared to the other stages as it has a series of steps to follow in order to find the best candidates out of the applications for the position. This stage begins with shortlisting the candidates that applied based on the information they provided in their application forms. The recruiter ensures that the applicants have fulfilled the clearly stated criteria on the advert, and based on that, the shortlisting process takes place. Here we also avoid over-qualified candidates, because in our experience, over-qualified people are more likely to drop out of the job and they are less motivated than people who can learn on the job and work at their right level. We usually have to make difficult choices to come to a manageable shortlist. We often group the candidates into ‘excellent’, ‘very good’, ‘good’, and ‘average’. The group ‘excellent’ usually contains sufficient candidates for the shortlist. We inform the shortlisted candidates that they have made it to the recruitment which consists of several components. We put a lot of effort into clear and well-organized communication, from being invited for the written exam to the last stage of the interview. Even rejected candidates often compliment us for the clarity and the care we take to give the candidates a good experience.

The candidates start taking a written exam that evaluates many of their hard and soft skills, experience, and even their attitudes and way of viewing work. For each job, we develop a specific written test and a scoring matrix that clearly specifies how to grade the various components.  At least two staff grade the written tests and the end-score is an average of the grades. The best half of those who took the written test, will pass to the next round and get invited for the personal interviews. We don’t use an interview panel, but instead, each staff involved in the recruitment separately interviews each candidate. These interviews are quite different, designed by the interviewing L-IFT staff. Some staff focus more on motivation, others on communication and attitude, etc. The interviews serve for a number of aspects, mostly the more subtle side of future performance, less the actual knowledge or experience. Again, the candidates receive a final interview score by taking the average of the interviews. Then the recruitment team will do a call to review all the candidates and also compare the interview score with the written test score. After deliberations, we usually invite double the number of candidates needed for the position to participate in the first training, which will prepare them for their upcoming work.

The final stage of the recruitment process comes after candidates have completed their first training. Although being invited to training is a positive step, it does not guarantee selection for the position. The recruitment team makes the final selection decision at the end of the first training. In our experience, the training setting provides a valuable opportunity to assess the candidates. This additional round of candidate selection has proven to be effective in getting the best candidates out of those who passed the written and interview rounds. During the training, candidates will be given a series of exercises to complete and will be evaluated based on their performance. Through these, L-IFT gets to see how candidates grasp the training, how they interact with the organization, how they interact amongst themselves, their soft and hard skills, etc.

Pictures showing candidates taking training (candidates invited here are double the amount needed for the positions)

Recruiters, trainers, project managers, and others together discuss and decide who are the best candidates At the end of their training, we inform which candidates we will hire. The candidates that are not selected will go on a waiting list. Some of them may be hired, in case a staff member falls ill or otherwise stops working or because we need some extra (junior) team members. As these candidates have received the first training, they are already well-prepared for joining the team.

With this blog, we want to make clear to our staff, our clients, and donors that we have a transparent and well-structured recruitment system. This recruitment process ensures that we get the most suitable candidates who enjoy working for us and who we so much enjoy working with.