The first and arguably most important people decision you can make is whether or not to hire a person, and into which role. And yet, for all the tools that exist to help us make a calculated decision on the best candidate – it’s still often one of the most fraught processes and one that Hiring Managers seem to dread. So, some tips on getting it right:

1. Scope the role – Really scope it. What do you want out of the role now, and in the future? What sort of experience do you need, what sort of other experience would you be open to? What characteristics are you looking for in the person? Remember, in all likelihood they’ll be fitting into an existing team – so what skills and personality are you looking for to complement and enhance the existing team members?  Often, recruiters fall into the trap of looking to replicate an existing staff member when really the team needs someone with a new and fresh outlook. Equally, is there someone internally that could bring a different and fresh dimension to the role?

2. Make sure the right people are involved – It is so critical that the Hiring Manager is involved right from the beginning, as they know the role, they know the existing team – and they know (or should know) what they’re really looking for. An up front and detailed briefing with the HR or recruitment team once the Manager has scoped the role is invaluable (and this doesn’t mean just completing the myriad of HR forms to commence the recruitment process). Equally, accessing HR’s knowledge of the labour market and the best forms of sourcing should be an important part of the campaign up front.

3. Put the time aside –  Recruitment can be a time consuming activity – from the initial scoping, through to interviews and reference checking and then moving to induction and onboarding. Hiring Managers should make sure that there is sufficient time in their diaries up front. Candidates can tell when interviews are being squeezed in amongst a Hiring Manager’s day job.

4. Managers to be properly trained – Your HR or Recruitment Department should be able to provide Hiring Managers with access to good recruitment training that develops skills in behavioural interview techniques and other forms of assessment. The training should also include the legislative environment; including discrimination and other issues as well as what questions to ask and how to ask them.

5. Use the available tools – Interviews alone are one of the least reliable indicators of successful placement of a candidate. There are many other tools available that complement the interview and build the picture of the candidate – assessment centres and psychometric testing are some examples. Speak to your HR Department about what’s appropriate for the role.

6. Reference Checking – If the Company policy allows for it – make sure that the Hiring Manager is able to conduct at least one of the reference checks. And remember it’s often what people don’t say that it is as important as what they do say.

7. The Importance of Culture – The candidate might be perfect on paper – but will they fit in with the culture? And if not, why not?

8. Gut feel and instinct – In amongst the legislatively restrictive world we live in, we often have to be so careful to abide by the ‘rules’ that we forget to consider what our gut is telling us throughout the recruitment process. If you’re getting strong signals that the candidate is not right – take the time to consider why you’re thinking those thoughts. Sometimes it is just that the person is different to the pre-imagined perfect candidate – but often it is a warning bell to look more carefully before you make a decision.

9. It’s a two way street – The best recruitment process is one that goes both ways – the candidate is looking to assess the organisation as much as the other way around. Take the time to consider what messages the candidates are getting from your recruitment process. How are they being treated throughout the process? Whether they’re successful or not; remember, these people can be powerful advocates for your company if the process runs smoothly and professionally. For those unsuccessful candidates that might be promising in the future – think about ways to maintain contact with them.

And finally ..

10. Recruitment doesn’t stop with the Offer Letter – So, you’ve made an offer. What induction and onboarding has been put in place to successfully integrate the new employee into the organisation and give them the best chance of succeeding in the role? Again, take some time to think about this before the employee starts.

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