The first is that there is a tendency to recruit people you know or friends (or kids) of friends, because you’ll be able ‘trust them’ even if they don’t have the skills and behaviours you need. The second, and most important reason, is that recruitment and people management is a skill – and recruiting without some basic knowledge can and does hurt your business.
Recruitment can also be really scary. You’re investing a lot of money in wages/salaries and the associated costs of having staff, so you need to ensure you get a return on your investment. Effective people management and all of the associated problems and successes always stem from investing in the recruitment process – take it slow, get it right and avoid problems down the track!
Read on for 12 top tips on successful recruiting to help you get it right!
- Be very clear on WHAT you need. Write a position description to help you get clarity on exactly what skills and abilities you need, and what the key responsibilities of the role are going to be.
- Be very clear on WHO you need. Think about the personality type you need to do the job well. Think about the culture of your business and the type of person that will ‘fit’. In a small team getting the culture fit wrong can be disastrous. Somebody that is a good culture fit is different from someone that you like. Also consider whether you want a trainee or apprentice, or a more mature aged worker.
- Advertise in the right place to attract the most suitable candidates. This might be a generic job board like SEEK or Gumtree, it might be an industry specific job board, it could be LinkedIn, or it might be the local paper! You have to ‘be where the people are’ and in this case, you need to advertise where your potential candidate might be looking. Write an ad that ‘sells’ the position and the company, not just demands what the candidates needs to have or be. These days there is a talent shortage, so you have to entice quality candidates to apply. Make sure your ad accurately reflects the company, the role and what skills / experience is required. Make sure you use language that will appeal to the right candidate pool – while you can’t discriminate (age, gender etc.) when hiring, you can certainly appeal to certain groups of people by the way you write an ad so that they will apply.
- Consider carefully how you want people to apply. Are they just ‘applying now’ via the website, or do you require them to email a specific email address? Call and leave a message? Fill out an online expression of interest on your website? Giving different and/or specific instructions on how to apply can help you test the person’s ability to follow instructions and their attention to detail! It’s also a great tool with helping you shortlist!
- Shortlist candidates based on how closely they match your criteria with regards to skills and relevant experience. Also look for red flags such as a person who has big unexplained gaps in their employment history, people who have had a lot of jobs for short periods, spelling & grammar errors (after all, this is them putting their best foot forward), and depending on the role, the style and format of the resume (for example, you would expect something effective and different from a designer). Check the person’s address and make sure you are happy with the travelling distance from their home to your workplace.
- Conduct interviews. Have a pre-prepared list of questions to ask each candidate. Ask every candidate the same base questions so you can get a proper comparison. It is your job to relax the candidate so that you can really discover who they are beyond their nerves. Ask open questions such as ‘tell me what’s important to you in your next job’; ‘tell me about a difficult problem you’ve had to solve’; ‘Tell me about a time you had to really put in to meet a deadline’; ‘tell me about the most exciting project you’ve worked on. Why did you enjoy it?. Nice open questions will provide more insight into the person...
- BIG HINT! When conducting interviews, do not start with telling the person about the company or the job. Ask your questions first – there will be time to tell them about you later. You don’t want to influence their answers by giving too much information away up front. Tell them what the process is going to be to help them relax. Something like:
- “Thanks for coming in today. Let me tell you how this will work. I’m going to ask you some questions about you, and then when I’m finished, there will be as much time as you need to ask any questions you might have about the job or the company. Ok? We will be hoping to make a decision on the next step by XXX and will be in touch by XXX. Now, to get started, a nice easy one – why don’t you give me a quick overview of your career so far……”
- When interviewing, nod and smile a lot regardless of what the candidate is saying. This will help them relax and open up even more. If the person thinks you agree, they will keep opening up! At the end of the interview, confirm their salary expectations and start date, and then provide time for them to ask questions.
- Be professional at all times. The person may not get the job, but they might be a future customer – and you never knows who knows who knows who…… Do what you say you will do – call when you say you will.
- Feel comfortable to conduct 2nd interviews or skill assessments. These days you need to do whatever you can to select the best candidate for your business – so take it slow and do whatever checks / tests you need to do to be confident in the person’s ability to do the job.
- Reference check! Make sure you conduct reference checks to protect yourself. Consider it due diligence to minimise risk. Ask really open questions – these are more likely to uncover any potential issues or concerns.
- Call every person you interviewed to advise them of the recruitment status, but don’t give reasons or feedback. If / when asked, simply state ‘Thank you so much for your time. I really enjoyed meeting you. On this occasion we have selected another candidate who better fits our needs. We wish you all the best’.
My three recruitment credo’s which will stand you in good stead:
1. If in doubt, don’t
(Don’t hire someone you are just not sure about!)
2. Hire what you can’t train!
(You can teach skills but you can’t teach charisma, culture fit and personality!)
3. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth. Use them in that proportion when recruiting!