Preparing to hire – getting off on the right foot
For recruiters, two key things matter when we set out to hire: structure and purpose.
As recruiters, we like structure because it can enhance comparability and fairness. A structured process is a necessary part of good recruitment and generally yields better results than an informal process by:
giving candidates clarity on the role and expectations on them. This should mean the candidate pool approaches the process having already done some pre-selection, so you won’t be facing as many applications that don’t meet the requirements of the job.
giving any external recruiters you are working with clarity on what good looks like for you. You may even develop the job description after consulting them on likely pools of good candidates.
giving hiring managers and recruiters clarity on the skill-set that candidates are expected to have, and any more behavioural expectations that the hiring company has (often called “soft skills”)
allowing for more objective judgements to be made in selection against these criteria, for instance in how interview questions are structured. This will reduce the likelihood of poorly evidenced judgements that may be open to bias of all forms.
Purpose goes hand in hand with structure in making progress. It’s crucial to understand why the organisation might undertake different hiring activities, and whether they really add to the decision-making or candidate attraction process.
Good job descriptions and skills needs statements are vital, and support this purpose. They help set up structured, fair decision-making. Recruiters need to work with hiring managers to get them right. Listing 50 different skills that the perfect candidate might have is one thing, but the key is to attract good candidates who may have some, but not all of them. The good recruiter’s skill is to help hiring managers prioritise in job descriptions the things that really matter.
A good example is the idea of a clean driving license (one with no penalties at all). Years ago, many firms would ask for this even when a job involved little driving. How relevant is a minor speeding fine incurred at age 20 when someone is looking for a non-driving job aged 23? Likewise, many firms have used processes with multiple interviews, but does each one really add value?
In recruitment, your job is to create the process that is clear about the job and the priority skills needed to do it. You need to create a fair and efficient process to select the candidate and to attract the right candidate at the outset. Putting structure behind all these elements, and asking whether each part of the process you have designed is purposeful, matters.
Over to you
- What processes or structures have you seen that have worked well in your career?
- Have you ever been involved in a process that felt badly targeted? Why did it not work? Use the Comments to tell us about the good and the less successful.
Before you move on to the next step, we’ll introduce you to the REC Good Recruitment checklist. We produced this to help hirers just like you think about your process.
Take a look. You might like to use it in your work and refer back to it as you go through this week. If you are interested in the wider work of the Good Recruitment Checklist, you can visit the REC website for more support. You can also sign up to access the additional support available there.