Identifying the best candidate for a specific job, in the most timely and cost-effective manner.
In any organisation recruiting staff is one of the most important jobs to be done. Take into consideration the cost of the recruitment exercise itself, the costs of induction and a salary, and it’s easy to see that it’s also one of the most expensive resources you can invest in.
Unless you’ve got a dedicated HR professional or HR Department – and most small organisations haven’t – it’s essential to follow basic guidelines and know when you need to get a bit of help from someone who can give expert advice before you start, even if it’s simply to check that you haven’t missed anything out.
This is important because, not least, any recruitment needs to be fair and transparent under Employment Law and applicants do have rights in seeing what has been written about them and how selections have been made. Get it wrong – and may small organisations do, unintentionally – and it could end in a heavy fine. With simple guidelines, any organisation can recruit effectively and legally.
Uncover the layers in the Recruitment Process Box
Tips for Success
Have I got a vacancy to fill?
Before rushing off to organise a campaign that attracts external candidates, consider whether you could consider some options which would offer a better solution for you and others; at the same time, saving time and money.
- Combine responsibilities within another one or two internal roles?
- Promote or advertise internally to fill the position?
What does the job and potential applicant look like?
There are two key documents which are the core of the recruitment: Job Description or Role Profile and a Person Specification.
The Job Description should clearly describe what the job is , why it exists, and how it should be done.
The Person Specification describes the sort of person you are looking for. What skills will you need? What education standard? What experience should applicants have? Make two columns: ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ and consider what you’re trying to find that is a ‘must have’ against ‘nice to have’.
What’s the best way to attract and select applicants?
These days there are many ways to attract likely applicants but it’s sensible to think about where they may be and what they do, in order to attract their attention. The method you choose may also depend on how many applicants there are likely to be that will suit your vacancy and how much budget you have.
You can consider:
- Advertising in a journal or paper
- Recruitment agencies (these vary in how much of the work they do for you – beware, not all are effective and they can be unnecessarily expensive!)
- Selection agencies (you give the brief, they deliver shortlist candidates for you to choose from)
- Local radio or television advertising
- On-line advertising: a huge array of job boards to choose from
- Job Centres
… there are more – think creatively.
When you’ve considered your method, you also need to think about how you’re going to ask your applicants to apply:
- Application form?
- Letter and cv?
- On-line application with a summary stating why they think they are suitable for the job?
A most important aspect to how you will check if applicants have the right to work in the UK.
The final consideration in this third layer of the process is to know how to shortlist properly, if you’re handling this, yourself.
Using your Person Specification, it’s important to firstly compare applicants information with those things listed under essential criteria. If any applicant fails to meet all the essential, then it’s a clear case of you knowing they should not be shortlisted for interview. Once you’ve got your first sifting of everyone meeting ‘essential’ criteria, compare this group with those things in your desirable criteria. You should then be able to easily see who will be best to select for interview.
What skills do I need to interview effectively and legally?
- Organise at least two people to interview
- Work at putting every applicant at ease: aim for an informative two-way conversation
- Give the same amount of time for each shortlist interview
- Prepare your initial questions to ask across all candidates
- Write interview notes in terms of applicant responses and facts, not your opinions – and remember that applicants can ask to see these, if they wish
- Ask ‘open’ and ‘probing’ questions, rather than ‘closed’ questions
- Ask questions about applicants past, present and future, although deal more with the past, as it’s the best predictor of what people will do and how they will behave in the future
- Build in a time in the interview when you are giving more information about the job (the best place is after you have asked applicants all your questions)
Do give applicants time to ask their own questions
Overall, it’s very important to be able to demonstrate, by written record and how you’ve interviewed that you’ve come to a fair decision, from all the information you’ve gathered.
You might also consider whether you need something else to support the interview. Would it add value or give you more information to ask someone to do a presentation, show how they would solve a problem, or take part in a group exercise? If so, you will need to explain the details of this in your invitation to interview letter, so there are no surprises on the day.
What do I need to do to make an effective offer and agree terms?
Before you think about making an offer, do take up references! If you haven’t used an application form, ask your agency to do this or ask shortlist candidates to provide them when they attend interview.
It’s usually best to make a verbal offer, first, before putting one in writing.
Good offer letter templates can be down-loaded from web sites but they should certainly cover things such as:
- Role and where the person will work
- Working times
- Salary and benefits (including pensions, etc.)
- Training and induction details
- Holiday entitlement
- Terms could include specifics, such as if the role is a contracted one, when the contract will end
What must I do to comply with keeping legal records?
Generally speaking, you should aim to keep application forms, shortlist notes, interview notes, any advertisements and other paper work concerning the recruitment campaign, for at least four years. Many organisations keep such paperwork for longer, preferring to archive these rather than necessarily keep them in current files.
In all of this, remember you are aiming to get the best person you can for a particular role you need, at the most cost and time effective way you can. Recruitment needn’t be complicated but it does need to be transparent, fair and legal. Asking an expert to oversee how you can best achieve this aim, with you, may mean only two hours of advice and once you know the basics, your confidence will shine through in your recruitment decisions.
For advice on recruiting effectively, succession planning, talent management or interview skills, contact The Bogle Consultancy