The Value of Recruiting Smart

August 18, 2015

Fall Recruiting

As organizations prepare for the fall it is a good time to review and perfect recruitment and selection tools. Many organizations lose track of the importance of using systematic, regimented recruitment strategies. Some employers bungle the process entirely, having leading applicants return too many times, without any recruiting plan or clear purpose. This article will examine my favorite recruiting tools, with an eye to ensuring that your recruiting results in the best candidates and meets legal standards.

An effective recruiting plan combines both strategic planning and a multi-faceted approach – one that enhances your reputation internally and externally. This combination will make sure that your recruiting identifies high-potential candidates that complement and enhance your organization’s culture.

The Top Twenty Recruiting Tools

Here are my top twenty recruiting tips. I’ve included the basic as well as the often overlooked tools that will aid in the success of your process.

The Planning Stage

        1. Create a snazzy job description. A top-notch job description takes some care to prepare.  You want to have a comprehensive understanding of your business needs. Make the job description real. Make it exciting. Make it clear.
        2. Be open about the interview process. It typically takes longer than you’d think to interview applicants; you are best to be conservative about the estimated schedule that you tell the candidates.
        3. Plan the right interview questions. Help your managers plan insightful questions that will identify the right candidates. In addition, ensure that the managers do not ask inappropriate or illegal questions that may violate EEO laws.
        4. Use social media, such as LinkedIn. Creating a profile on one of these websites facilitates communication between you and potential candidates, while allowing you to instantly view the applicants and their credentials. Always be careful to avoid using the information you find to unlawfully discriminate against job candidates.
        5. Note the “Ban the Box” law in New York City. Most employers within NYC may no longer inquire about an applicant’s criminal background until a conditional job offer is made.
        6. Use the employment application. Don’t rely solely on a résumé. Have every serious contender complete the standard employment application. The application contains important questions and legal language about omissions or commissions regarding the candidate’s credentials and experience.
        7. Be careful about pre-employment testing. Other than typing tests, most tests need to be validated under the Uniform Selection Guidelines, which mandate that statisticians “validate” tests to ensure they are not discriminatory.
        8. Conduct “stay interviews.” Interview current employees to find out what they enjoy about their job and what they are less enthusiastic about. This can help tailor your search of the type of individual you are targeting for a particular position, or it can give you a chance to improve the qualities of that position to attract the best candidates. 

The Interview

        1. Listen to the applicants. Don’t drone on about the organization. Make the interviews about the applicant and the attributes he or she brings to the table.
        2. Look for applicants with a strong track record of success in similar operations. Be careful in hiring an applicant who is not used to the size, complexity, or culture of your workplace.
        3. Have members of the team meet the leading candidates. This is often overlooked. It is critical to get input from members of your team.
        4. Convey passion about your operation, its successes, and your vision for the future. Use the recruitment as a golden opportunity to publicize your organization’s mission.

The Selection

        1. Choose individuals with real talent. Don’t hire inexperienced people with the hope of training the candidate in skill areas he or she doesn’t have.  You want to make sure you hire the person with the right talents and skills.
        2. Be open with the top candidates. Let them know they are promising candidates, so that you can keep them warm and interested.
        3. Honor your promises. Get back to the final applicants when you said you would. Also, contact other applicants to inform them when the position has been filled.
        4. Be creative in compensation. If you have a salary compression issue, consider a hiring bonus or a six month review.
        5. Check references.  Always check at least three references. A lukewarm response to specific reference questions is likely to be a danger signal that that you have a weak candidate.
        6. Prepare “offer letters” that contain the conditions for employment. A thorough and clear offer letter is critical. It needs to include a reference to the position, the salary, and the manager. And you need to ensure that all pre-conditions to employment will be satisfied (i.e., drug test, background check, satisfactory references, authorization to work in U.S., etc.).

The Transition

        1. Create a plan for success. The first 90 days are critical – maximize the feedback and iron out any issues.  Utilize a 60 day appraisal to ensure you made a good hire.
        2. Arrange for proper mentoring. Have a system of training or mentoring the “newbie” so that you can ease the transition.

Lasting Impressions

Turnover is very expensive. Replacing an employee who was a “bad hire” stalls business operations, and requires searching for and training a new candidate. By utilizing all of these steps in a systematic fashion, you will ensure only the highest quality candidates will be hired and will be comfortable growing with your organization.

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