Recruitment Tips – How to Recruit Successfully

You know exactly how difficult it can be to find the best person for the job! There’s so much to consider: their skills and experience, their attitude and personality – not to mention how much it might cost you to recruit the right person. At the moment, we’re in a candidates’ job market. That’s why candidates can afford to be a lot choosier. It also means you’ll have to work a lot harder to demonstrate exactly why your company is the right one to choose. Fortunately, with a little forward planning, you can handle the whole recruitment process relatively easily, and show your business off to its full potential at the same time. Oh, and I should probably also mention that this can help keep your recruitment costs down too. So, if you’re currently looking to fill a role, or you know you’ll be recruiting at some point soon, our 8-step approach make the process a whole lot simpler and entirely more effective…

Step One: Have an Employer Brand

Why should someone come to work for your business? If you don’t know, how can you communicate this to prospective new hires? By making your Employer Brand truly stronger than the competition’s, you will attract the right talent. Here are a few pointers on how this needs to be done well.

It’s better for companies to stand out on one thing, rather than try to mean everything to everyone. Work for Google if you want to face complex challenges, for Virgin if Richard Branson’s leadership stirs you, for example. Work out what matters most for roles that matter most. If data scientists are hugely important, for example, you’ll want an Employer Brand that lets people invent things, offers clear, rapid career progression, and provides the opportunity to have an impact. Also, make sure it’s real. Otherwise it’s a losing proposition, since great people will quickly become disillusioned if the reality doesn’t measure up.

Step Two: Identify your Needs

You need to create a list of the experience and behaviours that you want or need your new hire to have. These could be directly related to the position you’re recruiting for, or they may benefit the wider business. Think about your culture and what behaviours the person needs to thrive in it – you need to “get the right people on the bus”! We advocate doing a simple exercise, write down on post it notes the characteristics of What Great Looks Like for someone doing the role. We’ll guarantee most of the things on that list will be behaviours!

Step Three: Create a Job Description

It’s a great idea to have a job description for every role in your business. This way, when it comes to replacing a member of the team – or even creating new positions – you already know the responsibilities and skills required for each and every job that needs to be done. Let’s have a brief look at how to write a job description. Each and every job description should include the job title, responsibilities of the role, required qualifications (as well as the nice-to-have qualifications, too), skills, salary, benefits and perks, as well as the location of the role. As an extra step, include What Great Looks Like to help you discover all those behaviours that you’re looking for to fill each role.

Step three: Plan your Recruitment Strategy

This is where you decide how you’ll attract the right candidates. The first thing you should consider is whether you could recruit for a role internally from within your business. Perhaps someone is ready for the next step in their career? Maybe another department has too many hands-on deck and transferable skills? Alternatively, it’s possible that you’ll come to the conclusion that you’d like to bring someone new into the company. When it comes to advertising the job, put some consideration into your methods. As an example, you may prefer to ask your current employees if they know of anyone suitable before you post an advert on social media or on a job site. Referrals are a great way of finding excellent candidates. If you’re going to post a job externally, the key is to write a great job ad. If you are to attract the right applicants, you need to combine your employer brand, job description and What Great Looks Like. The truth of the matter is – if you don’t get the advert-writing bit spot-on – you’re pretty much stumped for the rest of the process. It doesn’t matter where or how you advertise, without the right description you simply won’t get the applicants you hoped for – let alone prime candidates to interview and choose from.

Step five: Screen and Shortlist

As I’ve mentioned, right now there are lots of candidates looking to change roles. This makes it likely that you’ll have a good response to your job vacancy advert – providing you’ve got the responsibilities, salary and benefits right, and your company’s brand and the behaviours you’re looking for are ones that people can relate to. So now your task is to sort the good applications from the no-so-good ones. Where do you start? First, remove any applications that don’t meet your vital criteria. That’s most likely to be skills and experience, at this stage, since you’ll be reviewing CVs. Sort the remaining applications into two groups – those who meet the minimum requirements and those with preferred credentials. Those with ticks in both boxes become your short list. More importantly, remember that behaviours are more of a predictor of success than skills in any job (the What Great Looks Like exercise will prove that).

So, think about how you’re going to assess behaviours – those who you have identified in your “What Great Look Like” exercise. We use DISC psychometric / behavioural assessments for preferred candidates, and compare applicants test results against the ideal behavioural profile drawn up for a role.

Step Six: Interviews

You’ll need to decide your approach before you advertise a job, so that the whole process can flow smoothly. Will you hold preliminary telephone calls with candidates? Perhaps you’ll decide to hold short video interviews initially? Or would you prefer a more traditional face-to-face approach from the beginning? Your interview process should be as objective as possible. Go back to “What Great Look Like” and identify what the most important behaviours are. Use these to construct a series of questions around “tell me about a time when…”. For example, if you’re looking for someone who is ‘resilient’, ask them: “Tell you about your biggest failure to date and how did you dealt with it?”. Create a scoring matrix 1-7 and score the answers. For even greater objectivity, compare notes ideally with a second interviewer. Decide beforehand on a minimum score – for example, if a candidate scores below 5 (7 being the highest score) then they don’t meet the requirements. Compare the scores of your candidates to rank them. Psychometric testing can be a fantastic, extra way to identify how well your candidate will fit in with the behavioural requirements of the role and your culture. Moreover, the results will help you to validate – or otherwise – their answers to your behavioural-based question set in the interview.

You should also consider whether you need to conduct any form of trial or testing for candidates. We recommend a GIA Test (General Intelligence Assessment). It measures verbal and numerical proficiency, but remember, the smartest candidate is not necessary the one who is best for the job. You might not need to be super-bright if it’s a repetitive role, so no good employing the brightest candidate who might get bored easily. But you do want someone who is methodical and accurate!

Look at your interview process and document it. Create a timeline that demonstrates exactly how the interview process will play out. You can even share this with your candidates so they know what to expect, and the timeframe in which they should know whether they’ve been successful at each stage. To improve efficiency, you could even try to implement a system where candidates book their own time slot with an online booking system, for ultimate flexibility.

Step Seven: Making an Offer

Before you make an offer to your favourite applicant, there are a few things you need to consider. The first is checking references. You’d be surprised at just how many businesses skip this step, only to be shocked later when something goes awry. Make someone involved in the interview process responsible for following up on the references of your favourite candidate – just make sure not to contact the present employer! You should also keep in mind that your favourite candidate may not have taken the same impression away from their interview with you. Never turn down other candidates before you’ve offered the job to your favourite and they’ve accepted – IN WRITING! Just make sure you have a plan before you tell people they were unsuccessful this time.

Step Eight: Excellent Onboarding

This step is so often forgotten about when it comes to the recruitment process. But it’s one of the most essential parts to get right when welcoming a new employee… you know what they say about first impressions. You need a solid plan to help welcome and settle a new employee into the business and their role. Think about what they will need to be able to start their new job easily. This includes things like introducing them to their new colleagues, showing them around the office, providing them with devices – like laptops and phones- as well as access to all the systems that they’ll be using for their job. Consider what training they’ll need, and the other roles that they’ll need to interact with or understand to do their job properly. Arrange training on systems, and shadowing with colleagues so they’re able to build a good picture of how things work.

Also, be clear on your expectations. What do you want your new hire to achieve by when? What will success look like? Link this into their probationary review period, when you’ll decide whether they are suitable for the role – ideally done in an objective way against the expectations you have set for them. You should check-in with your new hire regularly for the first week or two – and also consistently throughout their probationary period, ending with a formal probationary review. This will not only encourage good communication, but it will also give them ample opportunity to voice any concerns they may have, giving you a chance to make sure everything is exactly as you want and need it to be.

And finally…

This may all seem like a lot of work to do for one staff member, but once you’ve created the majority of this plan, it can be used time and time again for each new hire you make. Getting the hard work out of the way before you’re ready to recruit can mean that when it’s time to start looking for new employees, you don’t need to waste any time getting the behind-the-scenes work done first! Remember, fail to plan and you plan to fail. And the cost of getting it wrong? It’s estimated to be 4 x a person’s base salary. In other word, it’s costly! That’s why a little effort up-front is so worth it.

As always, I understand that you simply may not have the time to get this done for your business – especially if you want to start recruiting sooner rather than later. And in these cases, my team and I would love to help. If you have any questions on recruitment for your business, or you’d like a helping hand, just give us a call to start a discussion.

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