Recruitment Process Essentials

Recruitment Process
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When it comes to hiring the right people for your business, a good recruitment process is critical. Unfortunately, because many of us have not been formally trained in recruiting or HR practices, there can be a lot of guesswork and hires that don’t work out so well. These outcomes are costly for businesses and take their toll on candidates, so having a recruitment process that minimises the risk is essential.

Aim of this post

This post aims to help you build a simple, repeatable recruitment process that works. It will help you to identify and choose quality, motivated, engaged job candidates who will be an asset to your business for the long term.

Who is this for?

We recommend the recruitment process outlined here for businesses:

  • who want a repeatable, out-of-the-box solution that doesn’t require significant effort or cost to implement;
  • with between 10 and 250 staff or teams within larger businesses that need a standalone solution to a candidate selection problem;
  • where a hiring manager takes a lead role in hiring or where there is a small HR team who want hiring managers to be more involved;
  • that are hiring for graduate/junior to mid-management roles or roles that need to be filled regularly due to high turnover or growth;
  • who need to assess candidate communication styles and abilities very early on in the process.

This process is less suitable for:

  • large businesses that hire many roles at different levels and require a more adaptable recruitment process;
  • very senior or difficult to fill roles;
  • organisations who have already implemented applicant tracking systems or who need integration into other platforms.

A few points as you read through this post

  1. We’ve outlined the key stages of the recruitment process, some common pitfalls, and building a strategy that works in a general sense but may require adapting in some cases.
  2. We use I’m your new recruitment software to illustrate examples; however, it could be any software with similar capabilities. If you’re not using some form of AI capability, what’s outlined here may be less relevant to you.
  3. We don’t suggest that any of this is going to have you on the edge of your seat with excitement, but the results you’ll get from implementing it will make it worth your while! Your business will forever benefit so, please, stick with us.

The Stages of Recruitment: Plan, Attract, Shortlist, Interview, Negotiate & Hire

Stages of Recruitment

The basic stages of recruitment we look to follow are Plan, Attract, Shortlist, Interview, Negotiate & Hire. If you’re looking for a new recruitment process or the one you used last time you hired didn’t work; hopefully, you’ll find some answers here to help you rethink it.

 

Plan

A significant chunk of this article focuses on the planning stage because it’s the most important. Anyone can post an ad on a job board; that’s the easy part. However, it’s what happens before you post that counts.

Getting started

“All we need to do is find a great salesperson who’s got industry experience in our (niche) industry and who’ll work on commission only”.

This is a real statement from an actual hiring manager. Very often, when it comes to recruitment, we underestimate the degree of difficulty. A few signs this might be happening include;

  • not starting with job descriptions (Step on the brakes: We know that by mentioning job descriptions, we’ve already made you want to check your LinkedIn feed. Stick with us.)
  • writing job ads for the first time as you are posting them.
  • posting the same ads to the same job board over and over, even if that didn’t work last time. The good ‘ole ‘post and pray’ approach.
  • leaving candidate applications unattended for days or weeks or getting overwhelmed when reading resumes and de-prioritising the whole process.
  • not structuring interviews to ensure you ask very targeted, specific questions to determine if the candidate’s skills are a good match.

Many of these issues are covered in the following sections in detail. The message here is that recruitment is complex and needs a great process wrapped around it. If anyone in your business starts a recruitment conversation with “All we need to do is..”, it’s often a sign the complexity is being overlooked. There’s a reason why the Australian recruitment industry is worth about $15bn a year!

Ideas:

  1. Consider adding recruitment as an agenda item for discussion at key management meetings to help understand internal attitudes and capabilities. Be concerned if there’s even a hint of people thinking ‘as employers, we are in a position of power’.
  2. When you begin the ‘Create a job’ process in I’m your new, you can choose and edit template job descriptions or paste an existing one. You don’t have to get this right in one go; if you need to sleep on it, Save Draft and come back later. If you need help with a job description, let us know.

Job Descriptions

Writing Job Descriptions is often overlooked because the employer thinks ‘we know what we need’. While this may be the case, it’s still worth spending an hour writing down the requirements and expectations of the role. Of course, you won’t need to communicate every detail in your job ad, but a detailed job description is required later in the interview process.

Vacancies most often arise because someone leaves or there is a newly created role in the business. This is a great time to revisit the business’s needs and determine if that role stays the same or needs to evolve. Can it be absorbed elsewhere? Bear in mind that a significant number of people don’t make it through probation because of poorly set expectations. Sometimes, employers will downplay some of the less attractive aspects of the role, which almost always ends in disappointment.

Ideas:

  1. The I’m your new platform has job description templates to get you started, or you’ll find plenty of free job description templates with a Google search. If you can’t find what you need, ask us. Rest assured, you won’t need to start from scratch.
  2. When writing job descriptions, too few requirements can mean you’ll attract a lot of unqualified candidates. On the other hand, too many conditions can scare good candidates away. We generally try to have two bullet point lists, one outlining the role responsibilities and another summarising the required skills and experience. We try to limit each list to around 5-7 bullet points; otherwise, these lists can become very long on a mobile screen.
  3. Expand on essential requirements and be specific about the skills required to ensure success from day one.
  4. Some JDs read, ‘we’re throwing you in the deep end, don’t mess it up’! As with the job ad, think about whether the language in the job description is inviting and indicative of a supportive environment.

Assess the competition 

At the time of writing, around 38% of employers were recruiting, and 52% reported recruitment difficulty. Naturally, for some industries, it’s worse than others. So, given that you could be up against many of your competitors and potentially other businesses with more recognised brands, what can you do to attract more candidates.

Ideas:

  1. Before you advertise, search for jobs that target the candidates you want. Examine how other companies have presented their opportunities and what they offer regarding working conditions, salaries, and perks.
  2. You’ll often find a lot of market intelligence around wages on the job boards, but there are also ways to get more detail. There is no point in advertising a role with some arbitrary salary that doesn’t match what the market is paying. As obvious as it sounds, it happens a lot, but it’s just a waste of the cost of the job ad. I’m your new can provide guidance if you’re not getting what you need.
  3. Be easy to deal with. If candidates don’t know your business, they will do their Google’s, so ensure that it’s as easy as possible to find out what you’re like as an employer. Provide good information on your website and your LinkedIn page as a starting point.

 

Attract

When looking for staff, you need to go where the candidates are, and in Australia, there are a few job boards that have done a great job of bringing candidates and employers together. That said, we’ve all experienced the disappointment of not getting the results we expected, so it’s good to understand why that is.

Position the opportunity

Job boards are mass, double-sided markets that make it easy for businesses to post jobs and for candidates to apply for them. While these sites can be straightforward to use, they don’t have control over every aspect of the process. For example, companies can post job ads that don’t do a great job selling the opportunity. (We’ll sum this one up very simply with the popular expression “Garbage in, garbage out.” ) In addition, candidates can apply for jobs in seconds with profiles or outdated resumes stored on file, sometimes without adequately evaluating whether the job is a good fit for them or not. A candidate can easily apply for twenty jobs in five minutes, creating a lot of noise.

Ideas:

  1. Consider whether your ads are well written. You’re selling an opportunity, but you may accidentally be scaring good candidates away. Your choice of words may be communicating that you’re a slave driver, or you may be using language that makes highly qualified females less likely to apply. If in doubt, we’re happy to give you some independent feedback.
  2. Create a process for engaged candidates to follow. Okay, this is controversial because many people will say that you should make it easy to apply. We agree with that, but introducing a simple ‘next step’ for candidates to follow helps start the filtering process. With I’m your new, the next step is to invite candidates to register on your recruitment platform. This will 1) give them another opportunity to read your job description and 2) facilitate uploading an up to date and, if they wish, tailored resume. Completing this task takes less than a minute, but it will filter out candidates who are not 100% interested in the role. A handful of engaged candidates competing for the job is better than dozens of candidates who might not fully understand what they are applying for.

The candidate market

At the time of writing, the market is an issue. There are almost 50% more job advertisements than pre-pandemic, and hardly anyone applying for reasons we have covered in a previous discussion.

Ideas:

  1. This will turn around so be patient and keep an eye on market trends.
  2. Optimise all of the other parts of your process to ensure you’re making the best of it.

Timing

Recruitment is all about timing. The perfect candidate may start looking the day after you’ve given up hope of finding them. You may need to post ads across several job boards and more than once to get you in front of enough suitable candidates.

Ideas:

  1. Think about allocating more budget for job advertising, not just for one ad or job board but for many across the year.
  2. Consider using multiple postings as an opportunity to do some a/b testing of your ads – avoid posting the same ad repeatedly if it’s not driving results.
  3. Think of job ads in the same way the marketing department thinks of customer ads. If it’s not selling your business, it’s not doing you any favours. 

Passive candidates

Not everyone you’ll need to get your opportunity in front of will be searching the job boards. As can often be the case, the best candidate might not be looking at all. Most hiring managers know their industry pretty well and will have a good idea if passive candidates are worth approaching.

Ideas:

  1. Is there an opportunity to use your network of contacts or staff to uncover some other candidates who might be considering a move?
  2. These days, there are some pretty clever ways to target candidates using online networks and automated tools. Again, if you’re going to go down this path, the offer needs to be convincing for someone who is probably pretty happy where they are.
  3. If your search for staff continually comes up short, it might be time to look at other options such as proactive outreach or engaging a good recruiter. If you’ve had poor experiences with recruiters in the past, you’re not alone; however, there are some excellent people to partner with if your budget permits.

 

Shortlist

After you’ve read a few resumes, they can all start to look the same. It becomes difficult to tell one from another. If you’re not using a system to manage applications, there’s a good possibility that they’ll sit in a job board list or your Inbox, status unread.

The issue is that the volume and noise can put you off, and qualified candidates receive the same treatment as unsuitable candidates. With I’m your new‘s process, much of the difficulty has been taken out of the shortlisting process using quality AI software developed over many years.

Ideas:

  1. Think about using AI technology to read resumes. Most of us lose interest in the recruitment process after reading a few applications. AI resume matching software will read them all and rank them in order. This happens on the fly, so if another candidate comes in a week later, they all get re-ranked again. Remember, you don’t need dozens of candidates; you only need a few good ones.
  2. Resumes are only a starting point and candidates don’t always get them right. Great candidates can undersell themselves in a resume but really shine when it comes to presenting. 

 

Interview

Even a well-written CV doesn’t give you a feel for the person, which is why interviews quickly become essential. Video interviews, phone screens, Zoom meetings or face-to-face catch-ups are all options at this stage. Of course, as human beings, nothing gives us better insight than watching a person communicate, but interviews aren’t always fruitful either.

Have you ever been in a situation where you arranged an interview and the candidate hasn’t shown up? What about where they show up, but you realise a few minutes in that they are not the right fit?

Phone screens have always been a popular option. You get to ask some questions and hear the candidate speak. However, you still miss out on critical non-verbal communication such as body language, eye contact, gestures and facial expressions.

Ideas:

  1. We’re big believers in sending a pre-recorded video interview to candidates. Of course, some candidates won’t do them, but some won’t show up for face to face interviews either. Again, a candidate who wants your role will follow your process. A recorded interview allows you to see the candidate in full flight, and multiple people in the business can watch and give their opinions. It also means that no calendar synchronising is required at this stage.
  2. Following on from the above, video interviews may not be suitable in every case. In these scenarios, some I’m your new plans allow you to customise the video interview experience, which we highly recommend. Very senior or specialised roles are best managed personally. You don’t have to video interview if it doesn’t sit right or if a star candidate comes up and you want to bypass the entire process and make an offer.
  3. When it comes time to face to face interviews, consider the questions you’re asking. A quality interview will include questions that very specifically target the skills and experiences needed. Think of it this way, are you going into the interview with a sound set of questions, or have you been stuck trying to make up questions on the fly?
  4. For candidates that have conducted an I’m your new video interview, you’ll also have the option to generate an AI-derived Personality insights report. This will give you some additional ideas around how the candidate is likely to behave in the workplace.

 

Negotiate & Hire

By now, you’ve got a shortlist of candidates that you’re feeling confident about. If the recruitment process has worked as it should, your shortlisted candidates:

  • have had multiple opportunities to gather a clear understanding of your business and the expectations of the role;
  • understand what their KPIs and goals are at a granular level and are comfortable with these ;
  • have acknowledged their agreement with the salary package on offer and believe it to be in line with expectations;
  • have followed your process to signal their interest in your role, specifically.

The process, although simple, will have filtered out a lot of the noise that you would have otherwise had to deal with and allowed you to focus your attention on quality candidates.

Ideas:

  1. Consider how your business manages each step of the process. All are important because, as well as helping you identify a quality candidate, a mutual understanding across all of these areas means less likelihood of your new staff member leaving during probation due to a mismatch of expectations.
  2. Sometimes, there is a temptation to end the recruitment process by hiring a candidate even though it may not feel right. This is understandable but often doesn’t end well. Now that you have a repeatable, less time-consuming process, resist the temptation to hire. Instead, re-start the process until the right person comes along.
  3. If using I’m your new, certain plans allow you to extend a role indefinitely so you can keep adding more and more candidates to the same job, ranking and interviewing as you go. This can be useful you are going to begin the process again but want to keep some of the current candidates in the mix.

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