Posted on: Jan 30, 2015
It’s important to follow a structured process when hiring a new employee, to ensure you get the right person for the job. A thorough recruitment process should include the following five items which are expanded upon below:
- Job review– identify key responsibilities, skills and experience required
- Advertising – usually online and/or in local newspapers, social media sites, etc.
- Gathering information – application form, CV/resume screen, phone screen, interview, assessments/presentations, reference checks
- Offering the job – provide details e.g. pay, start date, hours/days of work etc. If subject to a trial period make this known at the time of the offer! Send out letter of offer and employment agreement – ensure this is returned and signed before the employee starts work
- Decline unsuccessful applicants
Before any recruitment can begin, it is first critical that the employer identifies exactly what the job involves. This requires a thorough job analysis, and the creation of an accurate job description.
The purpose of a job description is to summarise the intent and requirements of a job. A job description has personnel and human resources implications for an individual and an organisation, as well as legal implications when it comes to determining the duties required as part of an employment agreement.
A job description should define:
- The purpose of the job – this specifies the reason why the job exists.
- The dimensions of the job – this identifies the measurable aspects of the job. It may provide a basis for assessing the number of direct reports, annual budget, and authorisation for expenditure.
- The nature and scope of the job – this should provide a clear and concise overview of the position. It will incorporate the place of the position in the organisation, and information about any direct reports and their activities.
- The principal accountabilities of the position or KPI’s – these could be linked to performance based bonus incentives.
- Core competencies required to perform the position – behavioural-based skills that are essential for success in the role, e.g. time management, communication skills, business acumen, etc. Identifying these will greatly assist the recruitment process as they can be easily assessed via a behavioural-based interview.
- Required skills, qualifications and experience – can be separated into essential and desired categories, again these will greatly assist the recruitment process and can easily be assessed through CV and phone screening.
Most positions these days are being advertised solely online, but some positions continue to benefit from print-based advertising (newspapers/magazines). With online advertising being a cheaper and instantaneous option it is easy to see why this is now the preferred media for job vacancies. These listings can also be shared via social media sites so it’s easier to spread the word about the vacancy and increase the audience.
A normal application would consist of a CV/resume and covering letter, but it is also recommended that you have an application form completed to declare things such as criminal convictions, health issues (that could impact on the candidate’s ability to perform the role), conflicts of interest etc. The application form can also request information about the candidates work history, seek referee details and provide consent to contact referees. Importantly, an application form will also provide a declaration that the candidate has been truthful on their application, and has not withheld any potential relevant information from the employer.
Do not ask questions that are discriminatory in application forms. When designing an application form, remember the privacy principles covering the collection of personal information.
Reviewing the applicants’ CVs will allow the recruiter to assess their skills, qualifications and experience, to determine if they may be suitable for the position. You can compile a shortlist of those applicants you think may be suitable for the position, and rank them in order of suitability. It helps to make some simple notes on your shortlist to remind you of the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.
Phone screening is a highly valuable and often under-utilised part of the recruitment process. By speaking to someone briefly on the phone you can quickly ascertain their communication skills for one, which is often a core competency for many positions. You can also ask some background information like “why did you apply for the role”, which provides an insight into someone’s motivations, as well as how much research the candidate may have done into the organisation. Importantly, you can also ask for the candidate’s salary or wage expectations, which can quickly filter out some candidates and narrow down your shortlist. Other useful things to ask are: their availability to attend an interview, and how much notice they are required to give if they are currently employed.
At Paul Diver Associates, we follow behavioural-based interviews, which focus on assessing the candidates’ abilities against a set of key competencies required for the role. Behavioural-based interviews involve asking the candidate questions about their previous experience, and focusing on what they actually did in particular situations. By understanding how a candidate has behaved in the past, the interviewer can assess how they are likely to perform in a similar situation in the future. If they can demonstrate the ability to perform adequately by providing specific examples of what they have done in the past, it shows they have the capability and transferrable skills to perform in the role that is being recruited. After the interview, the competencies are rated against a scale and each person can be compared against each other to identify the leading candidate.
Below is a list of some sample interview questions:
Opening Interview Questions
- What motivated you to apply for this job?
- What did you like most and least about your last job?
- What will you miss about your present/last job?
- What were your most recent performance targets and did you achieve them?
- Are you willing to relocate?
- This position involves travel (national/international), and spending time away from home. Do you have any issues with this aspect of the role?
- Do you have your drivers license (nb: ask only if needed for the position)?
- Do you have any questions for us?
Behavioral Based Interview Questions
- Tell us about a time when you built rapport quickly with a new or existing business relationship under difficult conditions.
- Describe a situation when you were able to strengthen a relationship by communicating effectively. What made your communication effective?
- Describe a situation where you felt you had not communicated well. How did you correct the situation?
- Describe a situation in which you were able to positively influence the actions of others in a desired direction.
- How do you schedule and manage your time? What processes have you put in place to help manage time?
- Tell us about a time you had to manage a high volume of work. What processes did you put in place to help manage your workflow?
- What techniques and tools do you use to keep yourself organized at work?
- Give me an example of an important goal you have set and explain how you achieved it.
- Tell me about a job/task that was boring. How did you deal with it?
- Tell me about a time you had to change procedures to solve a problem. What did you do?
- Give me an example of a time you had to make a decision without consulting your boss. What did you do?
Motivation, Personal Style & Career Aspiration Interview Questions
- Do you prefer working with detail or are you a big picture person?
- How would you describe your work style? i.e. do your prefer to work alone or with others; do you prefer direct supervision or total autonomy; do you like variety or structure; etc?
- What sort of working environment appeals to you? i.e. working alone, as part of a team, quiet or noisy office; open plan or private office etc?
- What are you looking for in terms of career development; where do you see yourself in 5; 10 years?
- How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
- What appeals to you about this role? How does this role fit in with your goals and life aspirations?
- Where do you see yourself in five years time?
- What do you look for in terms of culture — structured or entrepreneurial?
There are various tests available for an employer to utilise during the recruitment process. These include psychometric testing, personality profiling, ability tests (for example numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning), as well as role-specialised tests. In addition to these off-the-shelf type products, employers can develop their own tests for candidates to perform. For example, for senior positions candidates could be asked to present a business case (written, orally or both), administrators may be asked to perform a word processing task, or a chef may be asked to prepare a sample meal. The key with tests is to ensure that they are termed as a pre-employment assessment, that the candidate will not receive any remuneration for performing the test, and that no offer of employment has been made. Keep any test short in duration and only require the candidates to undertake “mock” work-related tasks. Employers must carefully tailor the tests so that candidates are tested on particular tasks central to the position.
It is really important before offering someone a position that their references have been checked. The purpose of reference checking is to enquire with previous employers to see how suitable the candidates are, how reliable, competent, co-operative and so on. Asking former employers if they would consider re-employing the candidate and whether the candidate left of his of her own accord are really key questions. Regardless of how this question is answered if you hear hesitation in the previous employer’s voice it is a good indication there may have been some issues. If this occurs the person conducting the reference check can probe into areas of concern. It is also important to check if the information given by the referee is consistent with that on the application form, e.g. the position title and length of service.
To avoid liability under information privacy principle 2 (the requirement to obtain information from the person concerned) only contact referees with the express consent of the person applying for the job. Do not contact a present or past employer without first consulting the individual concerned. When seeking information from referees, ask the referee whether the information being provided by the referee is to be disclosed to the applicant, or if they would like it to be kept confidential. The referee’s wishes must be recorded.
Below is a list of some sample reference checking questions:
- Please describe the applicant’s role and quality of their work performance, were there any performance issues?
- How quickly do you think the applicant would get up to speed in a new position?
- Please describe the candidate’s ability to work in a team environment, what was their relationship like with superiors and co-workers?
- How much supervision/direction did the applicant require/accept?
- What were the applicant’s key strengths?
- What were the applicant’s weaknesses and areas for further development?
- What was the applicant’s attendance record like?
- What was the candidate’s reason for leaving your employment?
- Would you rehire the applicant?
Once the final selection is made, offer that person the position. You may choose to do this by telephone initially and follow up with a formal offer/letter of appointment if this is appropriate.
Important note for employment subject to a 90 day trial period – ensure that at the time the offer is made (verbally or in writing) that the offer is subject to a 90 day trial period, and explain that it means for the first 90 days of the employment, the employee may be dismissed on notice, and if that occurs he/she is not entitled to raise a personal grievance in respect of that dismissal.
Notify Unsuccessful Applicants
Send out letters/emails to the unsuccessful applicants. All candidates should receive some form of communication in response to their applications, otherwise it will reflect badly on the organisation. It is sufficient in such a letter/email to merely to state: “Thank you for your recent application for the position of XYZ. There were many well-qualified and good calibre applicants for this position and unfortunately on this occasion you were unsuccessful”.
Don’t forget that there are a number of legal requirements that have to be taken into account when undertaking recruitment. Of particular importance is the need to avoid acting in a discriminatory fashion and to ensure personal information is kept private. It is important to review all job specifications, advertisements and application forms to ensure they do not contravene the law.
This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.