Why a Solid Recruitment Process is Vital When Finding New Staff

With eager candidates chomping at the bit, it's never been an easier time to find skilled personal for your small business

Why a Solid Recruitment Process is Vital When Finding New Staff

It’s been so long since we first heard the term “credit crunch” that the economic boom years (and the difficulty at that time of finding good job candidates) seem like a distant memory. The recession is, of course, a difficult situation for many businesses, but at least it makes our jobs easier when it comes to recruiting, doesn’t it? We only have to open a newspaper to read about the huge numbers of skilled graduates desperately looking for work, so it’ll be quick and easy to find the right people to fill our vacancies.

Well… no, I’m afraid not. You see, after 10 years of recruiting graduates for sales positions, it’s no easier now than it was in the boom years when there were almost more jobs than candidates. It would be easy to imagine that we are living in an employer-driven job market with high-calibre candidates two-a-penny, clamouring for jobs. Yet for many employers, this isn’t the case. Despite the high number of potential employees reported in the press, employers are finding it increasingly difficult to source the right people for the jobs they have available.

Perhaps there are certain industries or certain job roles where recruitment is easier, but for general positions needing a high quality of candidate but no specific required skills, it seems as difficult as ever to find the right people. In this category, I include sales and marketing positions, for which I have been recruiting for a long time.

Whilst investigating this problem further, a number of causes have come to the surface, both within and outside of the employer’s direct control. As an employer, it’s necessary to address the internal problems, whilst minimising those external to the organisation. Recruiting can be a time-consuming exercise, during a period when the employer is covering the work of the future employee. Having a streamlined, efficient recruitment process is vital to ensure that the business is affected as little as possible during staff changes or expansion.

In this first of a series of articles looking at recruitment from the point of view of a small business, we examine some of the issues which can exist for SMEs when recruiting staff.

1: Defining the Ideal Employee

In order to recruit effectively, you first need to know who you’re recruiting. Taking some time to define (or redefine) the role, profiling past employees, and researching with other business contacts for the “ideal” candidate description is the first step towards finding the perfect person for your job. You should consider everything from skills set to temperament to level of ambition, and come up with a profile with which you are completely satisfied before going to the market with the description to find your new colleague.

2: Attracting the Right Candidates

As an employer, you’re looking for the best candidate for the job. The best candidates are looking for the best jobs for their careers. Taking some time to make both the role and job description attractive will help ensure that a higher calibre of candidate applies. Seeing recruitment as a win-win solution for both the employer and the candidate can lead to many years of service, improved business continuity and reduced recruitment costs. Do you advertise locally? Is it better to use a job site such as Monster, or spend a little more and use a recruitment consultant? Do the additional costs bring any added benefits? There are many options for recruiters, and finding the right one for you can make the process much easier.

3: Screening the Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Name: Neil Shorney
Current employer: Naturally Sales Ltd
Relevant skills: extensive knowledge of astrophysics, fluent in mandarin and accomplished ballet dancer

Yes, I’m afraid that bending the truth on a CV is not only easy, but quite common. It might not surprise you to learn that I know nothing of astrophysics, have two left feet, and my mandarin is a little ropey. If you’re a plumber recruiting for an assistant, it will be fairly easy to identify whether the skills listed on the CV are real. But what if you’re a web designer recruiting an accounts person? Or an Estate Agency recruiting a web designer? If the role for which you’re recruiting is outside of your sphere of expertise, it can be hard to establish the credibility of a CV.

4: Interviewing Techniques

More important than the CV, the interview gives an employer the greatest chance of identifying the best employee for the job. But it’s not all plain sailing – which questions should be asked? What answers should you expect? How can you be sure the candidate is performing at the same level in an interview that they will in the job? We’ll look in some depth at various interview techniques as well as the pros and cons of a multi-stage recruitment process, to give you the confidence that you’re seeing the real potential of the candidate before making an offer. If you find the “perfect” candidate with the right skill to do the job, have you considered how well this new employee will integrate with the existing team? It’s vital to consider the personalities, career ambitions and interpersonal skills of both existing employees and new recruits. We need to ensure that harmony is maintained and existing high performers don’t feel the need to look elsewhere if there are personality clashes with the newcomer.

5: Ensuring long service and motivated staff

So, you’ve found your perfect employee. Well done! Now you have to keep them in the job. Ensuring that the job they find themselves in matches the job you described in the interview is a good place to start, but there’s so much more that can be done to keep staff motivated and contented. Long-term career planning, training for staff, and effective performance appraisals can all pave the way for a harmonious employer-employee relationship.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll examine specific areas in more detail, to give you, the employer, the tools to recruit effectively and with a long-term vision for your business.

Neil Shorney is the director of Naturally Sales Ltd.

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