With recruitment activity now at record post-recession levels and competition for the best candidates hotting up, it may be timely to review your current recruitment procedures. Here are our top 10 tips for building a robust selection process to help ensure that you select the best candidates for your business.
1. Don’t start recruiting until you know your start date
Too often I find Clients will dip into the recruitment market to either “window shop”, or alternatively start the process far too early. The problem here is that the market is currently moving very quickly and if you identify a star Candidate, you are likely to miss the opportunity of appointing them to your team unless you can move swiftly through your process.
2. When you are ready to recruit then go for it
Treat this like a project with a fully mapped out timetable through to appointment. Don’t forget to build in potential notice periods if you are likely to recruit Candidates that are currently employed elsewhere. Then set yourself deadlines and manage the process through to a successful conclusion.
3. Be clear on the sort of person your are seeking
A good Job Description and Person Specification are basic essentials these days but too often they are not critically examined. Ask yourself “Is this truly what the job looks like now?” and “Is this really the essential requirements in the ideal candidate or can we train some of the skills if we find someone with the right attitude and a decent background?”
4. Chose your most appropriate medium through which to attract the ideal Candidate
Consider where your new employee might be at present and whether s/he is likely to be actively looking for a new job. Also, be realistic as to whether you can handle the full process internally or if you need to engage with a third party to find the best candidate. Remember, the most expensive part of recruiting comes during the first 12 months following appointment in terms of the commitment required from you and your colleagues to bring the new recruit up to full speed. Saving money during the recruitment process itself, but ultimately appointing the wrong person, can be very expensive and potentially damaging in the longer term
5. Adopt a structured and concise approach
The recruitment process really shouldn’t need to run to third and fourth stage interviews. A good well thought out structure, with every aspect within the process assessed, will shorten the decision time and avoid losing good Candidates along the way. Think carefully about what characteristics and skills are essential and how they can be accurately tested, then design a structure that assesses every Candidate in exactly the same throughout the various stages of the process (i.e. c.v. filtering, telephone screening and face to face interviewing). Personally I believe that with a well considered process, a confident and accurate decision can usually be made following the first face to face interview.
6. Consider using Video interviewing
Latest statistics indicate that the fall out rate at first interview stage lies between 55% - 75%. With mediums such as skype freely available, this has huge potential savings of both time and money during the selection process. However, take care not to replace telephone screening with a skype interview if a Candidate’s telephone manner is an important aspect of your role. In these circumstances, also retain the telephone screening stage and design questions to test whichever aspects of the Candidates telephone style are important to your role.
7. Use a mix of assessments and a balanced scorecard
Adopt a mix of assessments testing a range of aspects at different stages of the process. For instance these may include straightforward questions, competency based questioning, curve ball questions (think about these carefully – used well they are an excellent method of assessing true characteristics, but often they are used inappropriately), test papers, exercises, psychometric assessments (again use appropriately); the list is endless – I’ve even seen receptionists used to ask assessment questions of Candidates whilst they are waiting for an interview. Ensure your scorecard represents a fair balance between the various attributes you seek in a candidate then score every aspect throughout the process to identify the strongest candidates.
8. Don’t lose faith in your assessment structure during the process
Sometimes during interviews you may find that some of the questions or tests that you are using are not working as you had envisioned. However, it is important to stick with exactly the same questions and tests for each candidate to ensure that everyone is assessed on a level playing field. All things being equal, the best candidate will still score highest, regardless.
9. Be clear on show stoppers and include an assessment of the job appropriateness
Whilst normally I advocate a straightforward scoring system across a range of aspects, there are times during your process that you will uncover a show stopper. In these instances, even where the Candidate may otherwise have scored well on the other metrics, you will need to remove them from the process. So be aware before you start a selection project just what are the issues that would deem the Candidate as inappropriate, notwithstanding they may possess other strengths. In a similar vein, ensure that you also test how appropriate the job that you are offering is for the Candidate – there really is no point in offering the best candidate the role if that candidate has no long term interest in committing to your firm.
10. Include cross checking within the process (not as an afterthought)
For instance this may include asking the Candidate to bring certificates to the interview, looking at previous pay slips to confirm past salary and commission, searching across the internet, speaking to referees or testing key skills in different ways at different stages of the process. With a little thought there are many ways you can build cross checks into your process so that you don’t end up simply appointing the Applicant that can “talk the talk” but doesn’t “walk the walk”.
This is a very brief summary of a very large topic. If you need any further assistance to build a strong recruitment process for your team then I am always willing to provide guidance