Hiring the right employee is a challenging process. Hiring the wrong employee is expensive, costly to your business and time-consuming. Hiring the right employee, on the other hand:
- Pays you back in employee productivity, a successful employment relationship, and a positive impact on your work environment
- Enhances your work culture and pays you back a thousand times over in high employee morale, positive thinking and accomplishing challenging goals
- It also ensures that you are making the most of the time and energy that your other employees invest in a relationship with the new employee
This is not a comprehensive “how to” guide to recruitment, but these are the key steps.
Define the Job
Hiring the right employee starts with an analysis of the job. This enables you to collect information about the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills, outcomes, and work environment of a particular job.
The information from the job analysis is fundamental to developing the job description for the new employee. The job description assists you to plan your recruiting strategy for hiring the right employee.
With the job description in hand, set out your detailed plan for attracting a high quality pool of candidates. How will you let them know you are hiring? Newspaper or other printed advert, online job board, LinkedIn or other social media promotion, your own website, a recruitment agency or referrals from existing employees are all options. Document your plan, budget and key milestones – it’s vital the recruitment process doesn’t drift and the plan will help to ensure you stay on track.
Also think about what will attract the best candidates to apply? Why would they want to work for your company? Think about these key questions and it will help your campaign be successful.
Review Applications Carefully
The work of reviewing CVs, cover letters and job applications starts with a well-written job description. Your list of the most desired characteristics of the most qualified candidate was developed as part of the recruitment planning process. Produce a shortlisting matrix so you can screen all applicants against this list of qualifications, skills, experience, and characteristics. Formally score each candidate against element of the matrix – not only does this ensure you review each CV thoroughly, but it also ensures your decision on who to invite for interview is objective and based on the requirements of the job.
Pre-Screen your Candidates
The most important reason to pre-screen candidates when hiring an employee is to save wasting time (both yours and the candidates) at the formal interview stage. Whilst a candidate may look good on paper, a pre-screening interview will tell you if their experience really is a true fit with your job, you can determine whether their salary expectations are in keeping with yours and you can also obtain evidence about whether the candidate may fit within your culture – or not.
Ask the Right Interview Questions
The interview is still the key tool used by employers to assess whether or not to hire an employee. The interview is an opportunity not only for you to find out who is the best candidate you want to offer to the job to, but as importantly, it is also an opportunity for the shortlisted candidates to find out more about you, the company and whether they really want the position. Interviewing is a two-way street.
Don’t just invite candidates in for a chat. Design your interview questions in advance, ensuring they are relevant to the role and allow you to elicit the information you need to make your decision. This will also help to ensure you cover the same questions with each candidate and can therefore compare “like with like”. You may require the candidate to complete a test, give a presentation or complete a psychometric questionnaire so that you have additional information over and above their answers to your interview questions on which to base your decision. If you do, ensure you tell them in advance so they can prepare. After all, you want them to be able to perform at their best. The same applies to the interview itself. Most candidates will be nervous. Get them talking as soon as you can – preferably about something they will be comfortable with (e.g. “I notice you currently work at X, tell me more about what you do there”) as this will help them to relax. Launching straight in with a barrage of technical, complex or challenging questions is unlikely to help!
Making your Decision
When you hire an employee, it’s tempting to offer the job to the candidate who is most like you. This candidate feels comfortable to be with, you won’t get many surprises once you make the job offer, and your gut is comfortable that they can do the job. But beware of this practice when hiring an employee! Why does your company need another employee just like you? Have you made this decision on fair, objective and evidence-based criteria? Are you looking for an easy-life with a candidate you can get along with? Would a different type of person add some much needed challenge to the team and be able to drive business performance more effectively? If you get the process right (questions, tests, scoring criteria etc.) the results will usually concur with your gut instinct! However, don’t feel under pressure to make an offer. There may be no-one who is quite right. You may think that going back to the beginning of the recruitment process is expensive, but it’s not as costly as making the wrong decision!
Effective background checks are one of the most important steps when hiring an employee. You need to verify that all the presented credentials, qualifications, skills, and experience are actually possessed by your candidate. The background checks should include employment references, educational credentials, confirmation of right to work in the UK and where appropriate, criminal history. Some employers will also require a health check as part of their pre-employment vetting.
As detailed in our ‘Employment Contracts and Policies’ top tips article, the contract ‘starts’ as soon as an offer of employment is accepted. Be clear on what the terms of your offer are and what salary/benefits you are willing to offer. Is there any room for negotiation? If so, set clear boundaries so you remain in control of the negotiation.
The likelihood for a new joiner to leave within their first year of employment rises significantly if they do not have a robust, high quality induction. Resist the temptation to think it’s job done once the job offer has been accepted and a start date agreed. Depending on the job and the size of the company it can take between 2 weeks and 6 months for an employee to become fully settled, so design their induction to ensure they receive all the critical information they’ll need to help them settle in and be successful in their role as early as possible. This doesn’t mean showing them to their work area and throwing them in at the deep-end and neither does it mean sitting them on their own with a mountain of documentation to read through. Assign them an induction buddy – someone who can guide and support them, answer questions and help them to settle as quickly as possible. After all, you’ve invested a significant amount of time, effort and money into finding the best candidate – why spoil it and fall at the final hurdle?
Those candidates who were unsuccessful! Providing quality feedback based on objective, job-related criteria is an important part of not being offered a role. For the candidate, it will re-assure them your process was fair and objective and it may also help them with their future development. I.e. where did they fall short and what can they do to stand a better chance of getting the type of role they want in the future? For you as the employer, closing the loop of the recruitment process professionally is a key element in maintaining and enhancing your employer brand. It will soon become known if you are the type of employer who doesn’t communicate their recruitment decisions promptly after the interview, leaving candidates not knowing and then failing to give feedback. This will do nothing positive for your reputation and won’t encourage candidates to apply when you are recruiting again in the future.
For help and support on getting your recruitment right, please contact:
Adam Davey, Director – Petaurum Solutions