Attracting the right candidate

Attracting the right candidate

Hiring the right candidate is crucial to any successful business. This article offers a series of tips you can implement to ensure that you select the best individual for your job.

1.    Fully explain the job.

Should the candidate’s perception of the job not match reality, it is probable that the employee will become disillusioned and leave soon after becoming employed. This is ultimately costly and time consuming as you will have to redo the entire process. As employers, you should be careful to fully explain the job to the candidate during the interview and verify that they have understood both the role and your expectations. Remember that interviewing is not just about selecting excellent staff, it is also about making sure people really want to do the job that you are interviewing for.

2.    Develop a proper job description

The first step to helping the candidate understand the roles and responsibilities of the job is to develop an effective job description. Often, employers neglect carefully tailoring job descriptions to the roles and responsibilities of the position. In many cases this is bad practice because a candidates’ decision may be based solely on the responsibilities detailed and how the position is communicated or ‘sold’. Simply put, if the job description is too vague, it will fail to attract the right candidate. Also, careful attention should be paid to the job title, keeping it simple and in accordance with salary and job description i.e. ‘Cleaner’ rather than ‘Hygiene technician’

3.    Selecting the interviewing team

A set of experienced employees should be involved in the interviewing and decision making process and in many cases this can even include people who will actually be working with the selected candidate. Current employees who serve in a similar / same position will be able to relate to the prospective candidate so please encourage them to contribute to your decision regarding his/her compatibility. This will be invaluable to ensuring your existing staff feel motivated and involved.

4.    Fully prepare for the interview

It is essential that you determine the right selection process and assessment criteria to be used for each role you are recruiting for before you begin meeting candidates. Essential elements such as interview structure and communications are paramount at this stage of the process to avoid discrimination. The interview questions should be based on the job requirements and should not discriminate on grounds of sex or race.

5.    Conduct a professional interview

There are many interview strategies available and with a little research you will be able to identify the correct format for your role. In most interviews you should apply the 75/25 rule, this means that you should try to encourage the candidate to talk during 75% of the interview. You as the interviewer should try to talk for roughly a quarter of the interview guiding the interviewee through key points that are crucial to the role. Ensure that your interview starts on time and that you have prepared adequately for the interview, such as reading the candidates CV prior to the meeting.
6.    Communication

One of the biggest frustrations felt by candidates is lack of communication. You must consider that every applicant to your role is forming a first impression of your company. Make sure that you communicate with applicants throughout the process and at the earliest opportunity. Inform both the candidates that you have selected as well as the candidates that have not been successful. Give feedback to unsuccessful candidates to help them in their job search. They will be disappointed that they have not been successful but if your feedback is constructive then they will view the experience in a positive way.

7.    Employ caution when shortlisting

Employers should avoid being overly harsh when shortlisting. You should have your selection criteria in place which will not shortlist people who are obviously not suitable but will also allow candidates that ‘tick most of the boxes’ through the initial screening. If your shortlist is too small you may find yourself in a situation where you end up with only one or two candidates and, should one of them prove unsuitable, or refuse the job, it will limit your options in the final stage. Provided you have conducted a broad advertising campaign, you should always have at least three candidates for the final interview.

8.    Undertake structured inductions

Having selected the best candidate, provide him or her with a detailed induction to ensure there is enough information to be productive. Do not expect new employees to become great performers on day one. On average it takes over 3 months for them to become fully effective.

9.    Start a probation period

All of your new staff should start under a probation period. This helps the manager / business with a period of ‘grace’ in which the candidates skills can be tested to ensure that the abilities highlighted at interview stage are at the required standard. The Probation Period can give both parties an easy way out should the employee fail to deliver in the expected way or the job fail to live up to the candidates expectations. Probation periods vary in lengths but are usually between 3 and 6 months. You may want to start employees on a lower rate of pay or hold off giving full benefits before they have successfully passed the probation period.

10.  Follow up

Once the employee has accepted the position, follow up promptly with the required paperwork. When following up, it is important to discuss any possibly contentious issues during the last stages of the interviews so the candidate has no unexpected surprises. Salary, probation periods, benefits, should all be discussed throughout the recruitment process. Some examples of simple things that are often left vague at this final stage are start time and dress code for day one.