Recruiting a new member of staff is time-consuming and costly process, not just in the actual hiring but in the resources invested in training and development, particularly in the initial months of employment. It pays to ensure you get the best person you possibly can. Pressures on budgets and time mean that it can be tempting to cut corners when recruiting, but this rarely pays off in the long run. We’ve picked out some key areas of the recruitment process worth reviewing:

Recycling job descriptions and person specifications?

Are you re-using job descriptions and person specifications from previous hires or your outgoing employees?  Roles, teams and business needs change over time, meaning that you’ll be hiring against outdated and incorrect criteria. Vague and imprecise job descriptions make shortlisting difficult, increasing risk of more unsuitable applicants and difficulty in preparing suitable interview questions to use.

Recruiting is an ideal opportunity to review a role’s responsibilities:

  • reshuffle duties around the team, creating internal progression opportunities?
  • split up overstretched roles into more than one job, this could also open up the potential for part-time and job share options?

Automatically rejecting over-qualified candidates?

When shortlisting candidates, it can be tempting to take out any candidates who exceed the required experience as there can be the concern that they may be applying for the role as a ‘stop-gap’ or ‘foot in the door’, leaving you recruiting again for the role in perhaps another 6 months.

There can be many advantages to taking on someone with more experience and extra skills. By ensuring a thorough interview process is undertaken it provides the candidate with the opportunity to demonstrate why they want to take on less senior role and their suitability.

Waiting for the perfect candidate?

Particularly in a candidate-driven market, waiting to hire a jobseeker who matches every requirement may leave a role vacant for a longer period, which isn’t good for business needs, nor for existing team members covering which could lead to further issues.

In reality, perfect candidates are so rare that it is usually more efficient to hire on potential: someone who meets as many of the ‘essential requirements’ as possible and who has the capability to be trained in the ‘desirable skills/experience’ elements. This also creates the opportunity to build loyalty and productivity, and to potentially harness other qualities they can offer.

Not asking the right interview questions?

With pressures on resources, it can be difficult to have the time to prepare properly for interviews. This may mean that interviewers can end up asking superficial questions about previous experience and not really probing a candidate to see how well they will do in the job on offer.

Not preparing detailed questions in advance also makes it much harder to compare candidates objectively avoid bias, as well as opening the potential for asking illegal or discriminatory questions.

Missing the opportunity to sell your organisation?

Whatever the market may look like, candidate-rich or candidate-driven, it is vital to share the merits of joining your organisation. Whilst you would expect the candidate to have undertaken their own research, this is your opportunity to bring to life what it is like to work here, the people they’ll get to work with, the training, support and development on offer.

Not recruiting for a cultural fit?

Whilst employing candidates externally can mean fresh ideas and styles being brought into the organisation, it is important that any new member of staff fit in with the rest of their team. Their personality has to mesh with others and it’s important they understand your company’s working culture, ethics and working practices.

Relying solely on an interview?

The interview is one of the most effective tools in an employer’s recruitment process, however decisions on hiring should not be made purely on that basis. There are numerous types of supporting material which should be considered such as CV, application form, covering letter, references and personal recommendations.

Assessments are also highly effective, if relevant to the role being recruited for, and can provide valuable input into the interview questions.

Mishandling rejections and not supplying feedback?

Probably the most common mistake made and biggest cause for upset and frustration is lack of feedback or communication for those who have not made it through the selection process. Whether it is an email confirming receipt of application and polite rejection, or more detailed and constructive feedback for those candidates who have invested considerably into the process both in terms of time and energy it will go a long way to support your employer brand.

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