Don’t hire in a rush – 5 ways to improve your recruitment decisions

5 min read | Nick Deligiannis | Article | Recruiting Conducting interviews General

Don’t Hire in a Rush – 5 Ways to Improve Your Recruitment Decisions

Hiring managers are under a lot of pressure to hire well and hire fast. It is not always possible to do both. Nick Deligiannis explains how the right approach can save more time in the long-run.

Recruitment decision-making: Key Insight

  • Professionals, leaders and hiring managers are busier than ever. So much time is taken up in meetings, emails and day-to-day responsibilities that recruitment can suffer. Hiring managers often report being too busy to hire, or too busy to hire well.
  • Saving time by hiring the first available candidate is a false time-economy in the long-run. It is better to invest some decent time in making the right hire, who will be more productive and demand less of your attention in the future.
  • A good recruitment strategy has five steps:
    1) Clearly define the role. Be clear about what you really need from the new hire. Reconsider old job specs and look at how the role may have changed over time.
    2) Advertise the above in a clear, detailed job description that will attract the right sort of candidate.
    3) Work with a recruiter who can take some of the pain out of the process.
    4) Plan your interviews well - in a way that will give you an objective comparison of candidates without bias.
    5) Follow up with a good induction. By settling your new hire in well, you will reap the results once they find their feet.

Rushed recruitment: Background

We are busier at work than ever before. It is estimated that more than 281 billion emails are sent every day worldwide. Meetings also suck up a vast amount of time. There are said to be as many as 36 to 56 million meetings taking place every day, taking almost half of upper management’s time. This figure only drops to around 35% for middle managers.

When it comes to recruiting new team members, most hiring managers have one of two problems.

  1. They are so busy that they find it hard to find the time to prioritise hiring
  2. They are so busy they simply can’t wait to find a replacement for a recently departed employee, as swiftly as possible.

Both scenarios can lead to an unnecessarily rushed hiring process. A rushed hiring process can often result in the wrong person being offered the role.

If you’ve found yourself in desperate need of a new team-member, resist the urge to fix the problem right now with the first available candidate. Instead, take a more strategic approach to your recruitment.

Here are the steps a busy hiring manager must take

1. Clearly define the role

Begin with a question: what are you looking for? Now is the perfect time to reset and re-evaluate what you need from the vacant role.

Use this precious time to reassess what you actually need from a new hire. Given thought, you may realise that there are tasks on the incumbent’s job description that no longer adds value to the business. Or, maybe more of the basic tasks could be automated, freeing up time for the new hire to perform higher-level responsibilities.

Think the same way about qualifications. How imperative is it that a candidate ticks specific boxes? Could relevant work experience and a great attitude prove more valuable? Which transferable skills would make a candidate suitable?

2. Craft a strong job description

With a clearer idea of need in place, it’s time to detail those requirements in the job description. But remember that word – detail. Don’t simply update an old job spec. Instead, tailor the advert to stand out to your ideal candidate.

Start with a description of your business. Remember, recruitment is a two-way process – if you want to hire the best, you have to sell your organisation’s qualities. Describe the services or products your organisation offers, list success stories, explain your growth plans. Crucially, convey the culture of your organisation and the type of person that thrives in your workplace. By thinking through the latter, you’ll identify the essential soft skills your new hire requires to succeed within your organisation.

Provide an overview of the job before focusing on the core responsibilities of the role. List the essential technical and soft skills that would be an advantage, and detail any previous required experience. Don’t forget to mention the benefits you offer, including any training and developmental opportunities.

Avoid jargon and cliche where possible – ‘progressive’, ‘open and collaborative culture’, and ‘sociable team’ are just buzz terms and have little meaning in the real world. Notice how we didn’t advise you to ‘think outside of the box’ earlier? Such terms mean far less to prospective candidates than genuine openness, integrity and personality.

3. Work with a recruiter

If you are a time-poor hiring manager, building a close working relationship with a recruiting expert will really help.

Communication is key, and part of our role will be to ask the right questions of you as well as the applicant. The right consultant will help you to streamline the hiring process – not least by boosting the pool of ideal candidates.

4. Plan your interviews

To avoid rushing into the wrong decision, it’s essential that you take the time to conduct detailed interviews. This may take more time in the short-term, but it will save you much more hassle if you can hire the best person for the job.

Before the interview, spend half an hour creating a list of questions that you’ll ask every candidate. When writing these questions, think about how they will inform or benefit your understanding of each candidate’s competencies. Don’t forget to add questions to assess their soft skills and cultural fit.

Stick to your list of questions in the interview. Don’t skip any, otherwise you’ll be unable to objectively compare the candidates, and there will be a greater chance of unconscious bias creeping in. This is another way of reaching a poor decision. Make sure you schedule enough time for each interview too – you don’t want to rush this crucial part of the recruitment process.

Lastly, review your notes after each interview. Summarise your thoughts on each candidate. This will help ensure each individual stays fresh in your mind, especially when you are busy and under pressure.

5. Don’t stop work once the hiring is done

Now that you have put in the time and effort required to find the perfect candidate, you can rest up a little, right? Well, no… not quite. The first impression you make as a manager has a big impact.

Take the time to set up a thorough, informative and engaging induction process. Send all details to your new starter before they join your business. Ringfence the time to coach and bring the new hire up to speed with their responsibilities. Organise regular check-ins to find out how they are getting on, and if there are any concerns or training needs to be addressed.

No matter how busy you are, it’s important to realise that by spending focused time with your new hire when they first start, you will save a lot more time going forward. The new team-member will find their feet more quickly and you’ll feel more confident in delegating tasks to them. Not only does this free up your time, but the new hire will feel far more engaged, valued and more likely to stay in the long run.

Getting recruitment right: Next steps

I hope I’ve outlined to you how prioritising time and really focusing on the recruitment process, creates a framework for future recruitment success.

About this author

Nick started at Hays in 1993 and has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business. In 2004 Nick was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors, and was made Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.

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