Effective recruitment and why it matters to your business
As a manager, whether in your own business or working for someone else, you know that you can only accomplish your objectives when you have the right people working for you. Whilst we all appreciate this, when under-staffing is causing short term problems for our business, it can be incredibly tempting to recruit the first adequate person that we find to alleviate the issue.
Recruit and retain
An effective recruitment process is absolutely vital to ensure that you recruit and retain competent individuals, helping contribute to the success of your team. Taking the time to make sure that you are recruiting the right person will have financial benefits to your business, with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development stating that the average cost of recruiting and inducting a single employee in 2017 was £2000. Training can also be a significant expense for some roles; recruiting a trained and competent individual will have not only financial benefits for your organisation, but they are likely to be more productive in a much quicker time.
There are other non-financial benefits to an effective recruitment process too. Staff turnover can be unsettling for members of your team left behind, and asking them to further support inadequate staff that have been hired only due to their immediate availability can have negative effects on their motivation and productivity.
Attract the right people
Although it is an important step, effective recruitment does not start with a good quality interview. First of all, you need to ensure that the best possible candidates are getting to that stage.
Four things to consider when recruiting
There are three important elements to consider in attracting the right candidates for your role:
- Your advertisement
- The job description
- The person specification
- Legal obligations
When advertising, consider how best to reach your target market. The cheapest method of advertising is on your own website, but this makes the assumption that potential candidates are searching your website on a regular basis. Consider whether your advert is better placed in a local or trade publication, or job boards such as Indeed.
Don’t forget the impact that social media has on career searches, where a well shared post on Facebook or LinkedIn has the potential to reach thousands overnight.
Remember that the advertisement has two key purposes – to find your perfect candidates, but also to prevent those that are not suitable from applying. Ensure that you are balancing both appeal and screening techniques; if national travel is essential to the role, this should be stated to ensure that those who are not willing to travel do not apply.
The job description
Your job description and person specification are both incredibly important. A job description is a detailed description of the role itself, including responsibilities, objectives, and details. A good job description allows a potential candidate to fully understand the role and judge if they believe it is a good fit for them. It is also a good basis for interview questions, and if drafted carefully can be used as the basis for performance management throughout employment.
The person specification
A person specification is a profile of your ideal new employee, including their skills, experience, and qualifications. This is your opportunity to set out what you believe is non-negotiable in finding your new employee, your essential criteria. By also including desirable criteria, you are giving yourself a basis on which to compare applications and giving exceptional candidates the opportunity to shine. When drafting your person specification, consider how you will assess the candidates’ responses.
After working so hard to attract the right candidates, it is important that you are fair and legal in your assessment of their suitability for the role. By discriminating or applying our own biases, we are behaving illegally and limiting our talent pool. The Equality Act 2010 “legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society” offering protection from direct and indirect discrimination against any of the nine protected characteristics – age, disability, gender reassignment, sex, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, religion or belief, race, and sexual orientation.
We must also be aware of our own unconscious biases, hidden biases we carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about characteristics such as age, gender, and social class. Our brains are wired to make helpful shortcuts where they can, however these shortcuts can also be based upon this exposure and influence us in negative ways that we are not aware of. We should not feel guilty for these unconscious biases, but consider the effect they can have on our recruitment decisions and ensure we continually challenge decisions that we make.
Through effective advertisement, recruitment documentation, and by ensuring that biases do not limit the talent pool available, you will have the most suitable candidates on your shortlist for interview, and the greatest likelihood of appointing the right person, not just the person available right now.
The final stage in the effective recruitment process is the interview. Interviews are an opportunity to identify stars amongst your candidates, not trip them up or scare them off. Leading with open questions gives your candidates the opportunity to fully express their abilities and experiences, whilst competency based interviewing techniques ensure that answers are in the context of the role you are recruiting.
Competency based interviewing reduces the possibility of subjective assessment by asking the candidate to discuss their specific contribution to a situation, and draw the successes and achievements from this. By asking a candidate to “Tell me about a time when you met a deadline” rather than “Do you meet deadlines?”, you are better placed to assess the candidates actual work against your essential competencies. Be aware of questions that you should not ask, such as questions about age, childcare or plans to raise a family.
An effective recruitment process will not solve your short term staffing issues overnight. What it will do is ensure you have a team of suitably experienced, competent, and settled employees, leading to better retention and fewer vacancies in the future.