How to get recruitment right

The beginning of a new year always sees a lot of recruitment activity. Companies start planning for their growth and the feeling individuals get of needing new challenge sees them moving on and leaving vacancies to fill.

If you’re in either of these positions though; growth or replacement, what are the key things you need to be thinking about? I’ve put together list through 10 of the steps to help you provide a fantastic recruitment experience.

Job description

Before you start to draft a job advert you need to review the existing job description, or draft one if there isn't already one in place. Very often job descriptions can become outdated, especially in growing companies where new and additional duties are absorbed by individuals. By not carrying out this process you can easily miss out key duties that need to be carried out and you risk not recruiting the right person with the right skills. The best way to get accurate information about the job is to review the existing job description with the current jobholder and their manager. You should also think about how the company is changing and what else you might want the new recruit to carry out.

Person specification

Once you’ve carried out the review of the job description and you have exactly the right list of tasks you can start to think about the type of person that you need to fill the role. What qualifications, skills or experience will they have to bring to the role. This is a step in the recruitment process that many organisations, even larger organisations fail to do. They think they know what they want but writing it down can provide a lot more clarity and makes the sifting process a lot less laborious. You can of course split these qualities into essential and desirable.

Job advert

This is very often the first taste of your company that a job seeker gets so this needs to grab their attention straight away. When preparing your job advert you need to get into the mind of a job seeker. It’s very tempting to describe your company first then talk about the job and then describe the person but with a huge proportion of job seekers now looking online for their next position you need to grab their attention really quickly. So start by describing the job and it’s tasks, then the person you want then finally if they’re still interested, they’ll want to know who the job is working for. You really need to get across the culture of the organisation here as well so that you can get the right type of people applying. Think about the tone and the language you’re using to really ‘speak’ to the right demographic. Remember when drafting the text of the advert, you need to make sure there are no elements of discrimination here. Don't use words that would alienate a certain group of people from applying i.e. mature, young etc.


Once your advert is written you need to get it ‘out there’. Posting a job online isn’t enough anymore. Within a few hours or days your job posting online will drop down results and it will be tomorrows chip wrapping (if you’re using a printed media). You need to keep the vacancy alive for the duration of the application period. Use every possible medium you can think of and get really creative! Of course you need to use social media; facebook, twitter, intranet, internet, blogs etc but when we talk about creativeness think wider, radio, vacancies on sandwich bags at the local sandwich shop? What approach you take here will depend on the vacancy, the availability of the right people and the culture of your organisation but there are tons of ideas outside the normal box.


For some jobs you’ll receive tons of applications and you need to be very skilled at getting through these quickly. You need to look for keywords in peoples CV’s and this is where you need to refer back to the job description and people specification to get the criteria and keywords that you’re looking for. Think about whether you’re prepared to tolerate any errors in CV’s too. Generally I’d say no but you might be prepared to overlook typo’s if the job isn’t secretarial or administrative staff etc.


Consider some telephone screeing in your recruitment process to really ensure that you’re inviting the right people for interview. I often call this a self-selection phase. I’ll leave countless messages at first and those that are interested will call you back. I occasionally give people a second call but no more than that. Then you really get to see who’s interested in the job and who are just bashing out applications without thought. You can also use this opportunity to really ensure that you’re matched with a candidate on fundamental levels. Ask them what their salary expectations are; there’s no point spending an hour interviewing someone and thinking you’ve found 'the one' only to realise at the end of the interview that you’re poles apart on salary expectations.


This is when it starts to get interesting. You’ve hopefully selected a handful of candidates who, on paper, are well matched for your position. You need to think about the structure of the interview, what you’re going to ask to test the skills and draw out the best from the candidates. Ensure that this part of the process sells your company correctly too. First stage interviews don’t really need to last more than an hour and you need to structure the interview accordingly. Ensure that there’s enough time at the beginning to introduce the company; without giving away any of the answers to the questions and that there is sufficient time for the candidate to ask their own questions too. Make sure you’re asking questions that are relevant to the duties of the job and the skills the candidate needs to have. Additionally, make sure you listen carefully to the answers and probe on any answers that aren’t clear, need further clarification or just don’t stack up with the CV or previous comments. You need to ensure that the structure of the interview is the same for all canddiates and that all candidates are asked the same questions, except additional questions are required for probing or clarification purposes.


You won’t always need to test individuals but do consider setting tests or assessments if you feel there are key skills that you’d really like to see. You can set these as pre-interview work so that there’s something tangible that they bring to an interview (either first or second stage) or quick tests that they carry out before or after interviews. For example you may want to test typing and computer skills for administrators, ask for social media campaigns to be prepared for marketing candidates and 100 days plans to be created for management and strategic roles. Additionally, you may wish to consider psychometric tests for management roles or individuals who need to work closely in teams etc.


Make sure that you communicate well at every stage of the recruitment process. Turn on auto-responders for email applications so that each one is acknowledged and they know when they are likely to hear from someone, use this time to divert applicants to your webpage and social media so they can learn more about the company and engage with your brand. Ensure that you send rejections to each candidate, again these can be done automatically but certainly ensure that you follow up with individuals who attend for interview. It reflects very poorly on your organisation if people take the time to prepare for interviews and they never hear back from anyone.


The most exciting part of any recruitment campaign is when you find the right person to come and join your team. Now, firstly a word of caution. Don’t offer to anyone until you’ve seen everyone in the process. I have seen organisations get badly burned in this situation, they think they’ve found the best person and the one remaining candidate can’t possibly beat this one so they offer to that candidate. The final candidate turns out to be streets ahead of the one you’ve offered to and now you’ve got yourself in a mess. What do you do? Miss out on this amazing person. Retract the offer to the person who you jumped the gun with an ruin their experience of your company and elicit negative press for your organisation? There’s no good way out of this. Even if you offer and cancel the final interview, it still reflects really badly on your company.


To get recruitment right, it can be a time-consuming and costly process. With agency fees typically at 20% - 25% for a basic administrative role you can be looking at a £3500 fee on top of the time that you have to spend in sifting CV’s and interviewing. What if you could save yourself time and money in your recruitment, offer a fantastic service to the candidates, would you want to know how?

PeakHR offer a recruitment service, acting as your internal HR department, not as an agency. We’ll carry out all of the above steps and be there with you all the way through. We do all this for a fixed fee and take care of everything letting you concentrate on running your company. If you’re interested in learning more, get in touch.

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*Please note our blog posts contain general information and are intended as guidance only and should not be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. Please ensure that you obtain advice tailored to your individual situation before taking action. These posts apply to the UK only.

#recruitment #vacancy #newstaff #jobadvert #jobdescription #personspecification #interviews #candidate #humanresources #smallbusiness #growingbusiness

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