Ten Steps to a Successful Recruitment Effort
It’s your company and you’ve grown it from the ground up, or you have inherited it and have worked in it most of your life. You understand the accounting, the sales, the inventory, the equipment, etc. Because you know all of this, you also know when to hire and who to hire to continue growing your company … right?
Recruiting mistakes are expensive, both monetarily and operationally (and I’ve seen many in my travels). And recruitment skills usually don’t come naturally.
But don’t worry, there is help. From my days in the trenches and from years as an HR consultant, I offer you ten best recruiting practices so you can avoid these costly mistakes.
1. Needs assessment
Define the why, what, when and who. For example, at this stage you should have answers to the following questions: Why is there a need for this position? Is this a full-time position or part-time position? Have we reviewed our current organizational structure lately to ensure we really do need this position? What will this position be responsible for? When will we need this new employee to start? Who do we have currently that may not be working to capacity? Are we doing tasks that are no longer necessary or that can be streamlined?
2. Job description
This stage is about clearly defining the responsibilities of the role and answering questions such as: Is there duplication of duties with someone else’s job? What percentage of time will the new person spend on each of these tasks? What else could/would they do?
3. Understanding the competencies
This is about identifying what it will take for someone to perform successfully in this role. Consider being specific about the skills, experience and attitudes necessary for success.
4. Advertising the role
Be sure to research the best place to post your advertisement. I recommend you include the following content in the advertisement: Your industry’s specifics, your company’s mission statement, the job responsibilities for the role, and the experience, education and competencies required. Always remember to “sell” your company.
A note about advertising salary and benefits: I recommend explaining the benefits (medical, dental, pension, bonus, personal days, etc.). Advertising a salary or salary range, will definitely ensure candidates self-screen, however, I believe it’s best to ask candidates to communicate their salary expectations and state specifically in the advertisement that only those candidates who respond to salary expectations will be considered. You may find someone whose salary is higher than what you considered paying, but who may have all of the skills, experience and knowledge that you need for the job.
All too often candidates read a job ad and send their resume, leaving you to determine whether they have any or all of the qualifications you require. Save yourself the time and headache of reviewing them all. When you have enough information in the job advertisement, you ensure a degree of self-screening. You will be able to select and discard potential candidates just by reading the resumes. And, by being very specific about what the job qualifications are and asking candidates to describe how their experience and education match the qualifications required to be successful in this position, you will need to read far fewer resumes, as the onus is on the candidate to clearly describe their qualifications.
6. The interview
I recommend three considerations for you at this phase:
Pre-screen with telephone interviews. Consider conducting initial telephone interviews, they will prove to be a time saving measure for you. Asking two or three pertinent questions over the phone will allow you to assess language and listening skills. Often candidates “appear” perfect on paper, but a short telephone interview can tell you otherwise.
Preparing the interview questions and assembling the hiring panel. Once you select candidates for a face-to-face interview, ensure you have a list of questions ready. Behavioural interview questions will give you the responses you need to make an informed decision. Asking questions that merely require a “yes” or “no” response won’t tell you anything. For example: Are you an advanced Excel user? You won’t really know if the “yes” answer is true. However, if you ask: “In your resume you state you have advanced Excel skills, could you please describe for us what type of spreadsheets you have prepared and what type of advanced Excel features you have used to develop your spreadsheets?” The answer will then prompt further questions such as “did you create the spreadsheet or do you just keep it up to date?” Why did you develop this spreadsheet”? etc. And don’t forget to assemble a hiring panel – at least two others in your organization whose role is affected by hiring this new person.
Set aside time in your schedule to conduct the interviews. Don’t forget it’s not just you interviewing the candidate; the candidate is also interviewing you to ensure that he/she would like to work for your company. Delaying screening, interviewing, and/or decision making will ultimately reflect poorly on your company. I’m sure you have all been to interviews where you don’t hear back for weeks and are left trying to contact the interviewer for an update. You’re left with a sense of frustration and concern as to how the company treats its employees if this is how they treat candidates.
7. Reference checks
Reference checking should be similar to the interview process. First, explain to the reference what the job responsibilities are and then have handy a few open ended questions to ask for specific examples. For example, candidate Jane explained that in her previous job she was responsible for accounts payable which required her to process approximately 150 payables per week and keep track of the expenses on an Excel spreadsheet she developed. Ask the reference “Could you please explain how well Jane was able to keep up with her workload and what her level of accuracy was? What time management methods did Jane use to ensure her work was completed in a timely manner? Avoid asking questions that only require a “yes” or “no” response as they will not confirm what you need to know.
8. Employment contract
An employment contract is only valid if it is signed before the employee starts the job. It is not valid if it is signed on the first day of employment or later. The employment contract should include all relevant information concerning an employee’s employment with the company such as start date, salary, pay days, probationary period, vacation entitlement, job description, confidentiality requirements, termination pay, non-compete clause (if appropriate), wage deductions, and a condition that the company may change the duties and responsibilities of the job when required. Each page should be initialed by the employee and the contract should be signed by both the employee and the employer prior to the start date.
9. Orientation plan
This is about setting up your new employee for success right from the start. Here are some things to consider: Take a look at your new hire orientation plan (Don’t have one? Create one!). Does it include all the elements that will ensure your new employee will be effective within his/her first month? Does it identify who will prepare the workspace (desk, telephone, computer, pens, pencils, etc.)? Has IT been notified so the employee has a password and an email address? How long will the employee need to spend with the IT person to learn the basics of your system? Who will train the employee on the features of your office equipment, like telephones, faxes and copiers? Do you have an instruction sheet for both the computer and the telephone? Who will give the employee an office tour and make introductions? Do you have a buddy system? If you do, has the buddy been briefed on his/her duties? Is there a procedures manual that explains how to undertake specific tasks? Which departments will this position have an impact on or need to liaise with most frequently? Has time been set aside to meet the key people in these departments? Has a training schedule with review periods been established and is the trainer assigned?
10. Performance review
I recommend you measure your new employee’s performance after four weeks, after eight weeks, and before the end of the probationary period. Ensure you have clearly outlined your expectations and these review periods during the orientation. These reviews serve as check-points and offer insight about the employee’s progress and the effectiveness of your training methods. For example, if the employee is struggling with a certain task, you may want to spend more time on the task before proceeding to the next one. You may also need to review your approach or review the employee’s learning method (i.e. is he/she more a visual learner or an auditory learner?)
Professional help with recruiting may help you to ensure a “successful recruitment”!