How to put the romance back in recruitment

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As Valentine's Day approaches, how do you ensure that Cupid doesn't misfire when selecting and appointing the ideal employee for a long, happy and productive relationship?

Matchmaking

Matching the right person to the right job starts with thoroughly analysing the job requirements and defining the role by examining the desired duties, responsibilities, skills and outcomes. Too often, employers skip this critical step when writing a job description, or fail to understand the required skills in sufficient detail.

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For a professional match made in heaven, don't neglect to involve key employees who may be managing or working closely with the new person. Make sure to pinpoint specific skills and duties and compile a checklist of essential and desired attributes, which should be aligned to your company objectives.

Speed dating

For high volume recruitment, the tactics of speed dating may be required - involving pre-screening candidates. Initial telephone interviews can be very effective and if you work to a prescribed questionnaire, the activity can be delegated to a less experienced colleague.

If you have carefully defined the specific skills, you can also make light work of checking masses of CVs by seeking keywords and looking out for relevant experience.

The first date

Success at the pre-screening stage should enable you to narrow down a shortlist of no more than five candidates for a face-to face job interview. If you're recruiting for creative talent, then it might be appropriate to ask a candidate what biscuit he resembles and why, but this type of questioning could well unnerve interviewees and raise their stress levels. Better to establish whether they can meet your detailed requirements - keeping questions relevant to the job specifics - to make them feel as relaxed as possible. A test of essential skills is also recommended.

You expect your candidates to be prepared, so the same goes for you. Work to a questionnaire and take time to discuss the roles of the interview panel. Who is going to chair and take notes, who will ask which questions? How will you ensure a consistent approach? What criteria will you use to reach your decision?

Who is going to chair and take notes, who will ask which questions? How will you ensure a consistent approach?

Keep your emotions in check

When selecting your ideal match, don't let your heart rule your head.  Don't stray too far from your checklist and allow emotion, such as sympathy or 'gut feeling', skew your judgement.

Second dates

For those making it to the ultimate shortlist, you may want to set additional tasks, such as a presentation and a second interview. This will help you make a more considered judgement, particularly when making senior hires. Once you've made your decision, don't neglect to undertake thorough background checks, including references.

The 'honeymoon' period

With your ideal partner in post, the 3-6 month probationary period is critical in building the relationship and checking that it's working. Too often, organisations neglect performance management during this phase - failing to communicate expectations and address issues in a timely manner. Regular reviews should take place, ideally starting in the first month. Effective communication is especially important during this time - beyond which, there should be at least an annual appraisal.

Everyone should know how well they're doing and be offered the opportunity to address poor performance, or be recognised for good performance. People thrive on recognition and it's important to praise and reward them for a job well done, or for effort. This might be a simple and heartfelt thank you at the appropriate time, or a reward that will motivate the individual concerned. After all, champagne and red roses won't win everybody's heart!

Need more help with recruitment?

Our team of HR consultants are on-hand to offer advice guidance and support along every step of the recruitment journey, from managing the entire process, to interviewing, inducting or training. For an informal discussion on how we can help you achieve the outcome you need, call Jason Morris on 07818 514 842.

Also, members of EEF are eligible for significant discounts on recruitment services through our Advantages program.

Author

Senior HR Consultant

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