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How do I determine the best candidate?

How do I determine the best candidate?

How should I approach recruitment during a recession?

Nothing a company does contributes more to its long-term success than recruiting the right talent.

Here’s our ten point plan for getting it spot on.

1. Planning: Convene a recruitment planning meeting to agree your key requirements list – the qualifications, experience and personality you seek in this candidate for this position. Minimally, this should comprise HR, the recruiter, hiring manager and a co-worker. You might also include the current position holder and a client or customer. Write a detailed job description and agree a salary level.

2. Advertising: The job description gives your recruiter the road map to write the ad.

3. Evaluation: Prepare specific questions and an accompanying evaluation form in advance of the interviews. Design open-ended questions that will encourage the candidate to open up. Beware too many successive 'why?' questions which may intimidate the more nervous into underperforming. Share appropriate questions across interviewers and prepare an evaluation sheet. For instance:  

  • Education or Training: Exceeds/Meets/Needs more/Doesn't meet
  • Relevant work experience: Extensive/Adequate/Not related but transferable/No
  • Skills specific to the role: Exceeds/Meets/Needs more/Doesn't meet
  • Leadership skills: Exceeds/Meets/Needs more/Doesn't meet
  • Communication skills (written and spoken): Exceeds/Meets/Needs more/Doesn't meet
  • Teamwork: Exceeds/Meets/Needs more/Doesn't meet
  • Time Management: Exceeds/Meets/Needs more/Doesn't meet
  • Problem Solving: Exceeds/Meets/Needs more/Doesn't meet
  • Motivation: Exceeds/Meets/Needs more/Doesn't meet
  • Overall recommendation: Highly recommended/Recommended/Recommend with specific reservations or clarifications/Do not recommend
  • Comments: as well as overall comments, allow for comments after each individual section so these can be noted as the interview progresses.

4. Prepare additional evaluation techniques. Arrange for additional evaluation tools if these are to be used.

  • Psychometric testing:  this may give a good indication of future performance and help select candidates with the skills and temperament to succeed.
  • Biodata: objectively assesses items of biographical information about candidates, scoring them on their answers against previous data to determine an overall risk level. Most useful for companies with many candidates to process. Use of biodata, like psychometric tests, needs to be handled by experts to avoid discrimination or data protection issues.
  • Work tests: these normally take the form of role plays or simulations and allow you to observe behaviour and to compare this against your key requirements. Particularly useful when candidates look very similar on paper; are new to the field or require a specific competency.
  • Assessment centres: Candidates take part in solo and group exercises, such as interviews, psychometric tests, group tasks and presentations, sometimes over a few days. Generally expensive, they tend to be used by larger organisations to make senior appointments.

5. Compile your shortlist. Reconvene your recruitment panel to draw up a table, scoring applicants against your criteria. Your shortlist should include only the number of applicants you have time to interview, allowing for no more than three to four candidates a day, with preparation and discussion time before and after each.

6. Preparing candidates for interview. You can only fairly and accurately assess a candidate who is prepared in advance for his or her interview. Confirm your arrangements and expectations in writing.

7. Holding the interviews. Before the interview begins, agree any points for to be clarified. Also agree who will make this clarification. Make the interview environment private with no interruptions. Sit around a table together rather that in a panel format. Ensure the interviewee does 90% of the talking. Aim to understand candidates, not to intimidate them. Allow time for them to ask you questions.

8. Record the process. After each interview, use your evaluation forms to compile a single detailed record. Make this an objective record of what happened and how the selection was made. Do not include subjective thoughts. Use these records to help you decide on your chosen candidate. After that, safely destroy the information. Any data you keep must be securely stored.

9. Decision time and reference check. Proper reference checking is arguably the most overlooked part of the recruitment process and yet, it is one of the most crucial. So, once your recruitment panel has decided on your favoured candidate, do thoroughly check references as well as making a job offer. An increasing trend is to supplement this with a background check which looks at information such as work history, credit check and criminal records.

10. Make the offer!

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