Whether you're replacing a departing colleague or filling a new role, finding the right person goes far beyond posting an ad on SEEK and taking the first person who can spell the company name.
So here are some basic, but effective, ways to improve your hiring process - along with expected results.
While you might not have known an individual was going to leave, you should be aware that few of your staff will stay forever. Have a plan and process in place for filling all roles, but also get specific input from individuals leaving their roles. They know better than most what their replacement will need to hit the ground running so make the most of them as a resource.
Have a social strategy
Announce job vacancies on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, at least. By connecting positions to the people who already know and like (or follow) your company you’re expanding your talent pool and potentially finding people who are already passionate about your company, product or services. Increase these connections before job openings come up so that you have the necessary contacts and resources in place to help you find the right person.
The right job description
Getting your job description right is not only key to finding the right candidate, it also clarifies for you and your company exactly what you’re hoping to get from a new hire. Mark Clark, from the American University's Kosgod School of Business, said: "Managers say, oh, I know what I'm looking for. But the fact is that's the worst way to hire."
Culling the herd
“As soon as you receive the first stack of résumés, you should start looking for reasons to cut individuals from consideration,” Dave Anderson from Canada's Learn to Lead said. Depending on the position, things like spelling mistakes in resumes or unprofessional language can help to eliminate applicants right away – and it’s always a red flag if someone doesn’t follow the directions in the job ad.
Phoning it in
You don’t need to talk to every applicant, but you can make a short list of 20 to call before deciding who to interview. A phone interview can confirm whether the candidate can complete the basic tasks required in the job, as well as whether they will be able to work certain hours and locations. And while you’re making calls, don’t forget to check references. It’s a step that is frequently skipped, but it’s a key way to get more information.
Prepare your interviewers
Make sure all those involved know what the process will be before and on the day, what their role is and what they are looking for. Each person should have a specific purpose in the process – this isn’t about getting six different opinions, it’s about using the expertise you have on hand to get the most information and make the best decision.
This is a legal as well as a practical issue. By having exactly the same process for every applicant you defuse any accusations of discrimination and ensure you’re judging candidates on the standards that matter, rather than using instinct or mismatched criteria.
Create a comfortable atmosphere
Job interviews are stressful for anyone, and judging someone based on their response to an interrogation is unlikely to give you the best results. Help candidates relax by telling them the process ahead of time and making sure their interview is streamlined and efficient.
Introduce candidates to the direct supervisor or team
No man is an island – the person HR hires will work directly with specific people so it’s worth introducing candidates to these people as part of the interview process. While it won’t provide in-depth knowledge of how well they will work together, a basic rapport and compatibility should show by the end of the conversation.
In a world where social networks can amplify a single voice, make sure you leave even unsuccessful candidates with a positive feeling about the company. By sending a follow up message or making a final call you can maintain a good relationship that could encourage positive word of mouth or even a future working opportunity.