Recruiting the right person first time.
What do you need to think about when you’re recruiting? We’ve gathered 10 steps which, if done well, will help you hire the right person first time
1. Determine what you need
The first point to consider is what you actually need as an organisation. Don’t just replace a leaver without properly examining what they deliver. If you are a growing organisation, did you create a role for that person to keep them motivated? Does the role content make sense anymore or are there several roles cobbled together? Would it make sense to split some of the objectives out so that you have a better chance of finding someone in the external market? Recruiting a like-for-like role may not be the right thing for your organisation now.
Similarly, if you are a company that is rationalising, maybe you need to combine some roles rather than having two people completing the tasks.
So the first step is to reflect on what the role added to your organisation and given the opportunity again, would you change it slightly? Maybe you would even re-write the job description or re-think the role completely?
2. What did you learn from the person who left?
If you are unclear as to why the previous incumbent left, an exit interview can be a useful way of gaining intelligence about your organisation. Questions about role content and team dynamics can help you to understand whether the role is one that is attractive to potential candidates. Making a role too repetitive and narrow in focus may suit your purposes, but will employees be happy doing the same thing over and over again? It is also worth thinking about how roles fit together. Do tasks disappear into a black hole between employees or are there turf wars with different teams competing to complete the same tasks? Poorly designed roles can severely impact organisational efficiency.
3. Decide what you need to recruit
Once you have collated the above information and are clear on the position you need, start to bring together the main elements of the role. A well written job description can be a bit of a pain to pull together at first but once you have a clear understanding of the purpose and key accountabilities of the role, it will help you move to the next stage of the recruitment process.
You can then go on to think about a person specification for the role – this is about the skills that a candidate must have to be able to complete the tasks of the role. It can include required qualifications, experience and skills and you can detail those that are essential and desirable. Be honest with yourself as a vague job description or having irrelevant qualifications as a requirement will not help you find the right candidate. Providing a well thought out job description and person specification not only helps you as an organisation but also helps candidates. Your organisation needs a diversity of experience in order to thrive and the job description and advert will either attract those who might not ordinarily apply or narrow the field by disqualifying candidates who feel they’ve not got the right skills / qualifications for the job.
Also take time to consider the values that you hold to as an organisation. It is as important when recruiting to attract someone who displays the correct values and behaviours as it is to find someone who is technically capable.
4. Where should you find candidates?
Instead of just reaching for traditional means of finding a candidate such as recruitment agencies or job boards, are there other means of finding candidates? If you have a happy and engaged workforce, then there is no more powerful way of selling your organisation to prospective candidates than by utilising your own employees. An employee referral scheme can encourage your employees to be brand advocates, selling your organisation to their friends and acquaintances. If you were approached by an engaged employee who was passionate about the company they worked for, wouldn’t you be interested in working for them? If the role has a niche skill set, you may want to consider multiple ways of sourcing candidates.
5. How will you assess your candidates?
The applications are now, hopefully, flooding in. But how will you assess which of those applications is most suitable for your organisation? If you only use a biographical interview to make your recruitment decision, you are less likely to make a successful hire. The Harvard Business Review looked at this topic and reached the following conclusion. “Interviews are most important for assessing “fit with our culture,” which is the number one hiring criterion employers report using, according to research from the Rockefeller Foundation. It’s also one of the squishiest attributes to measure, because few organizations have an accurate and consistent view of their own culture—and even if they do, understanding what attributes represent a good fit is not straightforward”.
Where possible, use more than one assessment method to ensure that you are getting as accurate and rounded a view as to the candidates suitability as possible. These could include psychometric testing, group exercises, in tray exercises or skills testing depending on the role you are recruiting for. Also ensure you have more than one person interviewing to ensure that a hiring decision doesn’t just become one person’s like or dislike.
6. Beware of unconscious bias when recruiting
Are you recruiting in your own image? If so you are potentially denying your organisation an opportunity to recruit a diverse workforce. Forbes Magazine studied the impact of diversity and found that inclusive teams made better business decisions up to 87% of the time. We all have personal preferences based on our own experiences and upbringing which is known as ‘Unconscious bias’. ACAS defines it as this: “Unconscious bias occurs when people favour others who look like them and/or share their values. For example a person may be drawn to someone with a similar educational background, from the same area, or who is the same colour or ethnicity as them”.
How can you avoid this from clouding your decision making?
- Be aware of your own unconscious bias.
- Don’t rush decisions rather take your time and consider issues properly.
- Justify decisions by evidence and record the reasons for your decisions, for example during a recruitment exercise.
- Try to work with a wider range of people and get to know them as individuals. This could include working with different teams or colleagues based in a different location.
- Focus on the positive behaviour of people as individuals and not negative stereotypes.
- Implement policies and procedures which limit the influence of individual characteristics and preferences.
7. Make the right offer.
In a tight labour market, it’s important to not try to get your candidate for the cheapest salary possible. Why? Because this can cause significant engagement and retention issues further down the line. With the average salary increase in the UK hovering around the 2-3% mark over recent years, increasing the salary at a later point will prove difficult. Instead, it’s worth paying a fair salary up front to ensure that you not only attract but retain the talent you need for your organisation. Salary benchmarking will prove helpful here as it provides you with data to make an informed decision on what you should offer. Don’t be tempted to sacrifice a long term relationship over short term expediency when recruiting.
8. Keep your new hire warm
It sounds obvious but don’t stop communicating with your candidate before they join you. Many organisations fail to keep their candidates warm after the initial offer has been made. You can significantly increase engagement by keeping in touch with your new hire before they physically join you.
9. Give them the best start possible
Now that you’ve invested all this time recruiting your new hire, don’t just give them a desk and a phone and leave them to it. Time spent on inducting your new hire reaps dividends. Telling people up front how to conduct normal business activity such as how to claim expenses or order stationery will save a lot of time in the long run. Immersing them in the culture and values of the organisation will help them to align themselves with the strategic aims of the business and will help them to produce work that is value adding from early in their time with you. But be realistic, it does take time for your employees to bed into a new organisation and to become fully effective. Give them the tools to do the job and watch them deliver!
10. Evaluate what worked
If the recruitment didn’t work first time, what went wrong? If you can identify the failures, it’ll be easier to correct them next time you’re recruiting.
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