In business, one of the most important things to get to grips with is treating people fairly while getting what you need out of them. This is a delicate balance to be able to find, but getting there is mostly just a matter of trial and error. One area in particular where it can often prove difficult is in the recruitment process. Even those with plenty of experience often find this to be a little tricky, as there is so much involved that it can be hard to get to grips with. In this article, we look at the overall recruitment process – how it works, what you need to do and bear in mind, and most of all how to ensure that you remain fair and honest, and give every applicant an equal chance at landing the role. Let’s take a look at how to do just that.
The first stage is in many respects, the simplest and most straightforward, but even this needs some careful consideration. Even the advertising stage can be fraught with difficulties and unfairness if you are not careful. With that in mind, be sure to make it as fair as possible. The first step in any recruitment process is to advertise the position that you need to fill. Of course, to do that properly, you need to know what posts really need filling and which you can do without. Once you are particular about what job you need to be filled, make sure you advertise in a way which makes it clear that everyone is welcome to apply. If there is anything at all in your advertising copy which makes it seem even slightly exclusive, then you are going to minimise the number of people who apply. Ultimately, this means you might not end up with your ideal candidate – and that should be your primary goal.
Try Out Different Routes
The early stages are not just a matter of getting the actual advertising copy right – although that is important – ensuring that you put it in the right places, too. This is often even more difficult than getting the copy just right, but it is likely to be just as important, if not more important. Putting the advert in different places is a way of ensuring that different kinds of people see it. This serves the dual purpose of keeping the whole process fair, as well as making it much more likely that you will fill the role in time. There are many different routes to try out, and it is worth considering them all. It is a good idea to start as locally as possible, in places such as local newspapers and magazines, but you should also make an effort to extend further outward.
Hopefully, you have gained more requests than you care to count. This is going to create more work for you and your HR team, of course, but it is also going to mean that you are more likely to find your ideal candidate. You should at all times from now on, be thinking of your perfect candidate. Having a clear image in your mind of what that is will make the process of sifting through applications and later interviews considerably easier. At this stage, just do your best to filter out those applications which are a definite no. This is the easiest and quickest way to slim down the numbers a little. Look for poor CVs and a lack of a cover letter, for a start. You will find plenty of applications which do not meet your essential criteria at all; get rid of those too.
Review & Shortlist
Once you have removed that which you definitely do not want, it is time to start reviewing the applications you have left. This can be a complicated process, but this is in many ways, the most essential part of all. Reviewing the applications at this point and trying to find the best among them is a case of comparing them always to the image you have in your head of your ideal applicant. You will almost certainly find that you need some considerable help at this stage, even if at no other time in the process. If nothing else, it will prove to be particularly time-draining, so having a few extra pairs of the hands-on board is likely to be a huge help. At the end of this process, you will hopefully have a decent shortlist to be getting on with. This is the fascinating part of the process, where you start to get an idea of what kind of employee you are likely to end up with.
Calls For Interview & Advising The Unsuccessful
Now it is time to let those people know that you would like to interview them. Traditionally, this needs to be a phone call, as this is the best way of ensuring that they actually hear from you and agree to come in. It is best to try and arrange all interviews for a relatively short period, ideally in a day or two. Partly, this is so that you can keep everyone fresh in your mind and therefore more easily make a fair decision. However, it is also a matter of trying to organise your own time a little better. At the same time as calling those who have been successful, you should also advise those who you are not going to pursue. This need not be a phone call; it can, instead, be an email or a letter or, in some cases, even just a text.
The interview stage all being well, you now have an even smaller list of people in front of you, and your difficult task now is to compare and contrast those to whittle them down even further. This is why keeping notes during the interviews is an excellent idea, as you can often easily forget a person’s presence. Some companies also film their meetings, and you might find that this is a powerful way of jogging your memory when you are looking at names on a piece of paper. Think about who appeared to be more passionate, who you felt a good rapport with, and this should lead you in the right direction.
Job Offer & Checks
Now you can offer the position to the candidate you felt was most suited to it. It is essential to still have that image of the ideal candidate in your mind, as this will help to guide you in the right direction at this late and critical stage. You should also carry out checks for employment as soon as possible, just to make sure. It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally withdrawing a job offer due to sickness absence or some other reason is necessary. Best to avoid this by carrying out those checks early.
Once the position has been offered and all checks have passed successfully, it is time to appoint the role to the successful candidate. Your next important concern is ensuring that the new arrival is made to feel at home in their new role and in the workplace. For that, you need a strong induction procedure – a topic for another day.