Complete recruitment: the ingredients for success

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Where is the job description we used the last time?’

‘Find me the ad we used two years ago’.

‘The applicant has arrived. Ask the person to wait until I read the CV’.

Do these statements sound familiar? Recruiting the right candidate to join the business is critical to success, yet it is so often seen as a task that is a nuisance and is squeezed between other activities.

The added value of effective recruitment is huge: the right person in the right role working efficiently delivers high-quality service and work standards, achieves and exceeds goals, helps the business to grow and compete and is easy to manage. Poor recruitment can lead to the employee being low in energy, a poor team player and requiring on-going micro-management.

Effective recruitment has three key stages.

First, organisational planning. Whether there is one employee or hundreds it is critical that the role is clearly planned. This requires thought and clarification on the purpose today and in the future. What will the role be required to deliver? Where will it sit within the organisational structure? What will be the key responsibilities and accountabilities?

Next, and this is critical not only for recruitment but later for performance and development management, the competencies for the role must be identified and defined. A competency is a set of actions or knowledge that can be observed and measured. Every job has a list of competencies which is necessary for it to be an effective contributor and to ‘fit’ within the culture of the business (another consideration).

An alternative way of thinking of competencies – specific and critical ingredients in a recipe, along with the skills to work with them, to achieve the wonderful flavour and presentation that delights the diner.

The second stage is the sourcing and assessing of candidates. There are many considerations and skills required (and effective interviewing skills should be a competency for managers). Choosing where and how to find candidates is important to capture quality applicants.

There are ethical and legal requirements to consider when seeking and assessing. With a few exceptions there can be no reference to gender (no ‘handymen’ or ‘breakfast waitresses’; no age requirements and more). Applications should be screened objectively using the competency list. Effective interviewing involves structure and techniques (well planned assessments are more predictive of performance but also more expensive). The interviewer not only needs to create a comfortable and positive PR environment (after all the person is a prospective customer) but also needs to ‘sell’ the job and company and collect information on which to make a good decision. The data gathered during the interview must provide evidence that the candidate has (or lacks) the skills, knowledge and behaviours that fit with the competencies.

Third, is decision making. Does the candidate meet the needs of the job as specified in the competency list? The information provided and gathered from the candidate is assessed against the requirements. Where more than one candidate is suitable it is important that candidates are not compared, one against the other. The decision is based on the data – which set of knowledge, skills and behaviours is the strongest that the company can afford.

Don’t fall into the trap of rushing through recruitment – it can cost dearly. On the other hand, knowing what the best ingredients are, taking the time to find and process them creates a wonderful experience.