Top tips for recruiting the right people

A recent article in Lancashire Business View magazine highlighted that over two thirds of businesses in the region expect to take on new staff in 2014. This is great news; and a sure sign that the economy finally seems to be getting back on its feet.

By Karen Credie, director, KMC HR Consulting .

Taking on new staff is by no means an easy task, as many employers will be able to testify. A well-selected recruit who fits well with the ethos of an organisation, is highly motivated and keen to get on with the job is every recruiter’s goal.

Taking on the wrong candidate can, on the other hand, result in a big headache for employers, who may ultimately decide they have no option but to terminate the employee’s contract. This can lead to many operational problems, such as a backlog of work whilst the position is vacant, not to mention having to go through the recruitment process all over again.

A recent study by Oxford Economics revealed that the cost of replacing an employee is over £30,000!

So, how can you ensure that you employ the right person first time round? Here are some top tips to help you do just that.

Prepare properly

You may think you have a good idea of the type of person you are looking for to fill a role, but when the CVs start to come in you can easily become detracted from your original starting point. Having a written job/person specification, ideally one in bullet point format that includes both essential and desired (but not essential) criteria, will make it much easier to narrow down the applicants to those that meet your requirements.

The specification could even be used as a checklist for each applicant to be marked against.

Having a full and accurate job description is another key element that makes the initial stages much easier, as you will hopefully get applications from candidates that meet the role’s required skills and qualifications.

Know your legal requirements

Legally, employers cannot discriminate against any individual that makes an application for a job. The definition of discrimination is fairly extensive, and includes; age, sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion and beliefs.

Even at the screening stage, any candidate that feels they have been discriminated against for any of these reasons can potentially bring a claim against you, as in Kpakio v Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd (ET 1604280/2012). To avoid leaving yourself liable to a discrimination claim, have a robust equal opportunities policy in place, ensure this is understood by the individual(s) conducting the recruitment and keep any notes made during interviews on file.

Any candidate can request feedback from an interview so you need to be prepared and well-placed to respond to any requests for feedback.

Consider pre-screening

There’s no doubt that recruiting new staff can be a long and laborious process. If you are the business owner, or have a management role within an organisation, the time it takes to search for and find the right person for a job can run into weeks.

In order to save some time, pre-screening is a useful method to consider. Usually conducted over the phone, someone from the organisation (not necessarily the person who is in charge of hiring), or an outsourced individual, can whittle down a long list of applicants to a shorter pool by ascertaining certain information in advance of interviews.

Desired salary is one key piece of information that can be established in this way; something that can cause problems if only identified later down the line. A questionnaire can also be used as a pre-screening tool. Words of caution though, make sure your questions are not discriminatory.

Be known as a good employer

Always advertise vacancies internally. Employees have a way of surprising you and may have more ambition than you realise. In any event, offering promotional or lateral opportunities to your existing workforce will positively boost morale.

Alternatively, an existing employee might know someone who is perfect for the role and the best testimonial for your business is an existing member of staff who is recommending you as an employer.

The highest calibre applicants may already be in employment so, in order to attract them, you need to clearly identify the positive aspects of your business culture and go into detail about any benefits or other perks that may be available to your employees.

Get your contracts in place!

Once you have selected a candidate to offer the position to, make sure you follow procedure correctly and get the correct paperwork in place. A formal offer letter should be sent out, which should include key aspects of their employment, such as the salary and working hours. Upon acceptance of the job offer, the employment contract commences. This should then be followed by a full written statement of the terms of employment; within two months of them starting the role but preferably, on their first day. A proper induction process will also help a new member of staff to familiarise themselves more quickly with the organisation and the role, ultimately saving time in the long run.