About to employ someone? Have you asked yourself these questions?

Finding and recruiting staff into an organisation is a task that few business owners relish. From putting together a job specification to advertising the position, sifting through CVs and undertaking interviews, recruiting staff is a time consuming and potentially costly job.

By Karen Credie, KMCHR.

In fact, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) estimate that the average cost to a business of employing a new member of staff is some £8,200!

With the time involved and cost to recruitment being so high, especially if it later transpires that the new recruit does not work out, it’s important to get it right. Here are 6 questions to ask yourself before you take the plunge and offer someone a job.

Have you advertised the job accurately and in the right places?

Before you even get to the CV sifting or interview stages of recruiting a new member of staff, it is possible to get it very wrong, resulting in attracting the wrong type of candidate. Posting jobs on social media or free websites such as Gumtree is quick and easy, but is not particularly targeted. Job boards that are specific to a certain industry might be pricier, but do at least have candidates that are in the field as a starting point. A badly thought out job description can also lead to attracting unsuitable candidates; try to be accurate and specific about what will be involved with the role to increase the likelihood of finding people that are genuinely a good fit.

Are you rushing into a decision?

By the time it gets to interview stage, it is likely that you will be keen to fill the position. All too often, this stage of the process is somewhat rushed; with hasty decisions made just at the most crucial time.

If this sounds familiar, you could try to screen candidates over the phone before they make it to a face-to-face interview. This will narrow down the pool and leave you with a strong shortlist of candidates which you can then spend longer with during the interview stage.

Do those leading the recruitment have the skills to do so?

Crucially, anyone dealing with recruitment and carrying out interviews needs to have the necessary skills to do this effectively. If they have not received any training in this respect, and are not familiar with employment laws so they understand what they can and cannot ask at interviews, you need to invest in some training for them or you could be facing costly litigation before you even appoint someone!

Have you tested the candidate’s skills?

When interviewing candidates, it is all too easy to assume that what they say on their CV is true. However, embellishing facts on CV’s is fairly common; after all, people are trying to impress to get a job! Setting a practical test is one way of avoiding assumptions that could lead to problems down the line. Candidates that are keen and have nothing to hide shouldn’t have any problem with a short practical element to an interview/pre-interview test. If interviewing a large number of candidates, a practical test is also a good way of whittling the numbers down; therefore leaving a smaller but highly credible pool to interview.

Does the candidate fit with your organisation’s culture?

The fact that a candidate has the right skills is one thing, but ultimately it is their ability to fit in with and work alongside the existing members of your team that will determine how successful a recruit is in any given role. Depending on the position, it can be a good idea to set up a tour around the office to see how the candidate interacts with others or get existing members of the team involved during the interview to gain their feedback. Look for clues in the responses the candidate gives to questions during their interview; you can gain quite a lot of insight into a person’s attitude and approach if you really look (and listen) for it.

Have you fallen victim to the ‘halo effect’?

The ‘halo effect’ is a well known phenomenon in recruitment and occurs when you instantly like or get a good first impression from a candidate, therefore skewing your decision in their favour. When this happens, you subconsciously root for them and see their positive attributes, overlooking the not so good ones in your desire for them to succeed. It is important to remain impartial during the recruitment process. Having a set list of questions can help to keep things on a level playing field; as can objectively scoring each candidate’s response to them. To this end, it is advisable to interview with at least one other trusted individual – usually a senior employee or director – who can provide a second opinion and help avoid making the wrong decision.