You only want to recruit the best people don’t you?

1.Before you even think about employing someone, make sure you write a clear job description outlining their Key Responsibility Area’s (KRA’s) that also details the Key Competencies or Skills they need to perform in their role.

A good way to test whether the job description you have written makes sense, is to ask someone else to read it. If they can tell you what the person will be doing in their role and what skills they need, then you have written a good Job Description. If they can’t tell you – then you need to have another go at getting it right.

The Job Description will help you write a good advert for attracting the right candidates to apply for the role. Make sure when you advertise the role, that you do not indirectly or directly discriminate against any protected groups as outlined by the Equality Act 2010. A discrimination claim can be brought against an employer, not just by an employee, but also by prospective employees’ if you are seen to discriminate in the recruitment process.

Finally, the Job Description will also help you to set objectives for the new person when they start. This will ensure that both parties are clear about what is expected from day 1…………….. so no surprises!!

2.Once you have a good job description, you need to prepare for the interview process. Remember the interview is a two way process, and if you want to attract good quality candidates and you don’t prepare, this will not create a good impression of you and your business and may put off the best candidates!

Think about the questions you can ask at interview, that will allow the candidates to demonstrate their suitability for the role. Ask open, competency based questions, such as “Please give me an example of when you have had to work to a tight deadline. When was this? What work was it that you had to do? Why was it important to be delivered by a certain date and what was the outcome?”  Make a list of your questions before you go into the interview, so that you are prepared. You should ask each candidate the same questions ensuring a fair recruitment process. You can then score each question, and then create a shortlist of the best candidates to invite back to the second stage interview.  The scoring process is also important because if anyone were to raise a discrimination case against after attending an interview, you can give them constructive feedback as to why they were unsuccessful using their lowest scoring questions as examples. It is also important that you keep all interview notes for at least six months as candidates can take up to 6 months to make a claim.

3.The First Interview. If possible, try to have two people from the business in the interview process. This will allow one of you to concentrate on making notes and one can focus on asking the questions. The note taker should not write their opinions of the candidate in their notes; they should simply write down what they hear from the candidate, thus keeping the notes factual and un-biased. Try to make the candidate feel relaxed at the start of the interview. Maybe ask them how their journey was this morning, or what they are doing after the interview. You want the candidate to be relaxed and at ease so that you see the “real” person. When someone is relaxed they are more likely to talk openly and honestly about themselves.

At the beginning of the interview, take the time to explain what is going to happen to the candidate. Tell them how long the interview will take, and that you are looking for them to give you real life examples of work and experiences they have had rather than theory. It’s also important that you explain the next steps to them after the first interview. Tell them how many people you are seeing for first interview and what date you will get back to them by, to tell them the outcome of the first interview. If you know what date the second or third interviews will take place, then ask them if they were selected would they be available on these dates.

Make sure that you start the interview by asking them to explain their understanding of the role they are applying for. This can be a very telling first question and if they have left out any of the major responsibilities in the role, its time for you to fill in any gaps they have about the role and what they will be doing. This ensures that the candidate now fully understand the role and what will be expected of them. You can also use this time to see if they have any questions about the role before you move into the main questions of the interview.

Once you have asked your list of questions, again ask the candidate if they have any questions for you. If not, it’s important to establish a few things before closing the first interview. Ask them what their current basic salary is and also what their expectations are if moving into another role as these two figures can be very different! Ask then what benefits they currently receive and lastly what their notice period is. These are all really important questions to ask at first interview to ensure that you can match their expectations should you wish to offer them a role.

From the candidates you have seen at first interview, you can then score each question, using the scoring system below. This will help you to create your shortlist for 2nd or 3rd stage interview.

1 = Little or no evidence shown of the skill required,

2= Some evidence shown of the skill required

3 = Good evidence shown of the skill required

4 = Excellent evidence shown of the skill required

4.The second interview should give you an opportunity to get to know the candidates better and also test whether they can do what they say they can do. You’d be surprised at how many second interviews can turn your favourite candidate into the least favourite, so its important to test what people tell you they can do in the second interview. The skills test could be designed to test their accuracy if this is important or to use a specific system that you use such as SAGE, SAP, EXCEL, WORD or POWERPOINT. If they are going to be in a sales role, then think of an everyday scenario they will be faced with and ask them to play this out either face to face or over the phone. There are many ways you can test a skill, so get creative and if you need some help, get other people in the team to give you some ideas and suggestions.

You can create some more competency based questions for the candidate to get to know them better or you can use psychometric profiling which will give you an insight into the way the candidate thinks and works which can help you to determine what further questions to ask them. Psychometric profiling is a useful additional interviewing tool but you shouldn’t use it in isolation to make a recruitment decision.

5.The offer. You have selected the best candidate for the role based on their skills and experience. You now have to make the offer of employment to them. I would always advise that this is done by telephone within 48 hours of the second or final stage interview – strike whilst the iron is hot! On the phone, just have a little chat with them before going into the actual offer itself. Asked them how they found the second interview, did they enjoy it and how do they feel about the role and the company? Have they got any questions? This will help you to gauge whether they are really interested or not. I have done this many, many times and most people are enthusiastic and excited about a role. However, on a couple of occasions the people have been so disinterested and unenthusiastic about the opportunity or the Company that I have decided NOT to offer them the role! If you get all the right signals then go ahead and make your offer. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are going to accept it. Once they have verbally accepted the role, tell them you will be sending them all the relevant paperwork by email and by post within the next 48 hours and that you will be in touch with them shortly to confirm their start date and that you look forward to them joining you.