Recruitment Strategies: So How Do You Recruit The Best Possible Staff? Recruitment Strategies: Recruitment and Selection of Staff
If you are running a business, the most fundamental thing you can do to ensure success is to employ staff who will perform their job well. Unfortunately recruitment is often poorly planned and managers often don’t have the skills / knowledge or recruitment strategies to carry it out effectively. The chosen method is frequently an unstructured interview where interviewers ask what they think are appropriate questions, and have no real criteria for assessing answers. Often appointments are made (subconsciously) on the basis of “gut feeling”, or simply liking the individual. Research has shown that this method is virtually useless at predicting future performance. So what can we do to improve recruitment without making it overly complex or onerous for busy managers?
Here is a process which you can follow which will significantly improve the chances of employing good staff:
Be very clear what the job is you are recruiting to. Write down a clear job description. This need not be complex if the job itself is a simple one.
Based on the job description think through what sort of person you are looking for (person specification) – for example: skills and knowledge directly related to the job the type of experience necessary education / training (but only so far as is necessary for satisfactory job performance) any criteria relating to personal qualities or circumstances which must be essential and directly related to the job. (Any of the above must be able to be applied equally to all groups irrespective of age, sex, race, age, nationality, religion or belief, disability, membership or non-membership of a trade union – to do otherwise is potentially discriminatory).
There is some guidance on developing a job description and person specification here.
Once you have these key documents, the rest of the process flows from them:
Develop a good advert based on them – there are some guidelines here. You need to then put this in the most appropriate place to get a good response – don’t forget to advertise internally and utilise the job centre or your personal contacts – these are free. If you use the media, you will need to judge where you think you will get the best quality response – this will depend on the job in question.
Use an application form and not a CV – in this way you can be sure you collect all the information you need, and you can directly compare between candidates.
Using the person specification, draw up a list of essential attributes that the appointee must have – you can then use that to objectively short-list by excluding all applicants who don’t have these attributes.
At interview, ask the candidates questions related to the person specification you have already identified. You should ask them to give you specific examples related to these attributes – for example “tell me about a time when you had to manage a situation where you had 1 or more members of staff who consistently took excessive periods of time off sick. What did you do about this, and what was the outcome?”
Keep a note of their answer, and assess how well this confirms whether they meet the competency in question. You can give the answer a score out of 10. In this way you can directly compare each candidate against the important attributes, and also as an overall score.
Think about whether there is a work-based test you could get the candidates to undertake. This is easy for some roles when a specific skill is asked for e.g. Excel expertise, or presentation skills. But it can be more difficult when the role is less measurable such as in management positions. However in that case it might be possible to develop a test such as an in-tray test where you would put together a series of typical problems the jobholder may typically encounter. If you do decide to do that, apply the same test to all candidates, be clear what you are trying to measure, and be aware that there is nothing in any way discriminatory about what you do. Be sure you can score the test objectively.
At the end of the interviews, you should be able to objectively compare each candidate, and the one with the highest score should be the most appointable candidate. However just be sure that the candidate meets your minimum requirements for the post. If not then they should not be appointed.
Offer the successful candidate the job at what you consider the minimum salary for the post dependent on their previous salary and experience. However decide what you consider to be the upper remuneration limit (based on current differentials and market rate) and be prepared to negotiate up to that point. Do not offer above this level.
Learn from each recruitment experience, and use that to improve the next one!