Having the right team working alongside you can make a huge difference in your business – to your stress levels, to customer satisfaction levels, and ultimately to the bottom line. When you have a vacancy, you need to find just the right person to fill it. Pick the wrong one and it can disrupt the whole team. But how can you be sure you get an asset rather than a liability?
Recruitment and selection
Recruitment and selection are two distinct processes. Recruitment is about attracting a pool of the right sort of people and selection is about choosing the one who is the best fit.
Who are you looking for?
Start by thinking about the ideal person. Make a list of the essentials, whether that be a particular qualification or a certain type (or length) of experience. Be very clear about those things when you draft your ad.
You also need to tell prospective candidates a bit about the company, to make it attractive to them. It’s not just about setting out your demands so unsuitable people don’t apply, you need to make the proposition attractive, so the right people do.
Where should you advertise?
There’s a saying that if you want to marry a millionaire, you have to go where millionaires hang out. Equally, if you want to hire a particular type of person, you need to advertise where they look for jobs.
A lot depends on the type of business you run and the level of the vacancy to be filled. Some will need a prominent ad on a popular job board, others an ad in the local paper; there are even some where you can get away with putting a notice in the window. You may need to do a bit of research to be sure you’ve got the right place.
CV or application form?
If you’re applying for a job, you hope the company will accept your CV. If you’re advertising a job, you might want to consider drafting an application form.
The reason is you want to be able to compare people fairly, and it can be difficult to compare a bunch of CVs, all in different formats and with the information in a different order. If you get people to fill in an application form, it’s far easier to make a direct comparison between candidates. Make the process as easy as possible for you. People are used to being asked to complete application forms, it won’t put them off – although if they decide they can’t be bothered, they aren’t the person you’re looking for (and you’re probably not the employer they’re looking for, either).
Picking the best person for the job
Once you’ve attracted a pool of candidates, you need to start weeding out the ones who are least suitable. You can do this by a CV/application form sort, looking for things that disqualify people, such as not being appropriately qualified, for example. Another way is to do an initial telephone interview to check on some basic information and hear how they come across.
Eventually you’ll want to hold face-to-face interviews, but you probably want to keep those to a minimum and just meet with the strongest candidates. You can run a series of separate interviews, with tests, if appropriate. Alternatively, you could get everyone in together and run an assessment centre. That takes a bit of planning, but depending on the job it allows you to get people to make presentations, work in teams, complete tests and also have one-to-one interviews – whatever you need them to do.
Just like us
You need to be sure whoever you choose will get on with the existing team. Someone might be appropriately qualified and experienced, but will they fit in? It might be a good idea to let the team meet at least your top two or three candidates and have some input into the final decision. If you run an assessment centre, invite some or all of the team to join you for lunch.
Getting them on board and up to speed
When you make your choice, set out your offer and wait until it has been accepted before you break the bad news to the other candidates. That way, should the offer be declined, you can move to the next person on your list without losing face.
Make sure there’s a structured process for when people start, so they can settle in easily. An induction doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it does have to be organised.
Recruitment is costly, in terms of both time and money, but with a little planning you can cut down on the frustration and improve your chances of getting the right person on board. Happy hunting!