Ideal Recruitment Process

It’s that time again when you have to start a recruitment process to find a new employee and you’re thinking ‘not again!’ You have your day job to do so recruitment is only ever going to be a painful additional extra on top. All the more reason to follow this advice and ensure you have the process in order so it goes as quickly, smoothly and painlessly as possible.

1.     Have the job description written and all headcount approval signed off

  • A company can get a dreadful reputation in the market by starting a recruitment process, finding a suitable candidate only for approval to take weeks, months or even never happen. Word spreads and it won’t take long before the top talent don’t want to waste their time applying to your jobs.
  • Not having a job description makes life harder for any applicants when coming for interview at your company. You may feel this is a good thing as it ensures the applicants must think on their feet but, if your competitors are providing thorough job specifications, the applicants will feel they are putting more effort into the process than you are.

Finding talent for your company is competitive and a two way process. Not only do you have to beat your competitors in finding strong enough talent but you also need to ensure they ‘want’ to work for your business more than any other.

2.     Have all the timescales written into your diary

  • Set the timescales for the whole recruitment process, blocking out time for 1st and 2nd interviews in advance.
  • Do this by working backwards from when you would ideally like this person to start, calculating the applicant’s probable notice period, time to get an offer letter to the applicant, 2nd and 1st interviews, time to choose from initial CV shortlist, and time to be presented with the shortlist.
  • Depending on the level of role, you need to expect a 4 or 12 week notice period as standard. You may be fortunate enough to find someone immediately available but that is not to be expected.

For example:
You need someone for a junior role in place in 8 weeks.
Allowing a 4 week notice period means the offer needs to be accepted in 4 weeks.
Allowing 5 working days for the offer to be written, sent to the applicant and accepted means you have 3 weeks to have completed all the interviews.
If it takes 10 working days to do 1st and 2nd interviews for a number of applicants, you have one week before you need to begin interviewing.
Therefore you need to start the process for this hire immediately in order to get CVs in the next couple of days and get 1st interviews arranged for next week!

Suddenly 8 weeks isn’t far away in terms of getting a new employee on board.

  • Block out specific times/ days in your diary for these interviews and be strict. Don’t book something else over them thinking they can easily be rearranged.
  • Ensure whoever is involved the interview stages has the relevant times/ days blocked out in their dairy as well. Often it can be your manager that slows down your recruitment process.
  • A good recruitment/ career consultancy will be able to deliver to these timescales whilst applicants will appreciate the definitiveness and professional delivery of the interview process.

3.     Deal with any internal applications first

  • This is a similar situation to not having headcount approval. Applicants, like yourself, do not want their time wasted, particularly if they are having to fit interviews round their current job. It is particularly frustrating for them to go through a whole interview process over a 3 week period only to be told there is an internal person who has now been offered the job. Could this not have been done at the start?
  • See any internal applicants before going externally. Understandably, you may want an external benchmark to compare your internal person/ people against but do this once you have decided who the top internal applicant actually is.
  • In this situation, be honest with all parties, external and internal, about what you are doing.
  • You will also not need to meet the same number of external candidates as you would have if you were only going externally. Just meet 2 or 3 maximum and don’t waste your own time.
  • However, if you genuinely think the best internal applicant isn’t right for the job, you should treat the situation as a normal external recruitment process.

4.     Pitching an offer at the right level

  • Most applicants will expect a pay rise of some description when they move jobs (normally 10-20%) but, if you ask enough questions at interview, you will know enough about the person to know if there are any buttons to press to help you secure their services cheaper,
    e.g. If they are desperate to leave their current employer, you may not have to offer more than they are currently earning.
  • Use external help if you are using a recruitment/ career consultancy. They will have also met the applicant and will have received feedback from them throughout the interview process. They should have ‘closed’ the applicant on their salary expectations after the final stage interview so you should be able to get a pretty accurate figure from them as to the level the applicant will accept at.
  • All this should build a picture of the salary you need to offer in order to secure the new recruit. Don’t try to save money by offering a low figure and thinking you can negotiate upwards as you will only dampen the applicant’s enthusiasm for your job whilst hugely increasing the risks of them being counter-offered by their current employer or flatly turning your offer down rather than trying to negotiate.
  • Whether you negotiate on an offer is your decision, however, what is important is trying to find a point where both parties are happy. If you don’t want to negotiate, don’t come in low. Come in at a slightly higher level and stand your ground making it clear of your stance when delivering the offer.

Know your budget and, if an applicant wants more than you can afford, walk away remaining on good terms – you never know what may happen in the future. Don’t break the bank to bring them on board as you may upset others in your organisation if word gets out.

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