In today’s job market, recruiters may feel that they have the upper hand as there is such a large pool of highly educated and qualified applicants searching for work. While it might not be too difficult to find someone to fill a vacancy, it is much harder to find that right someone. Here are some key points to consider when looking to recruit the best person for the job.
Don’t Leave It Until the Last Minute
Start the recruitment process as soon as you know that a vacancy will be opening up in future. Don’t wait until a week or so before the current staff member leaves and don’t ever be tempted to postpone the recruitment process until after they have left. If you leave a gap to see if things run smoothly without them, it will usually rapidly become obvious that this is not a good idea. By the time you have found the right person, they may need to hand in their notice at their current job leading to weeks or even months of waiting. Having a week or two of overlap when both the old and new staff can work together will make it far easier for the new person to settle into the job and provide continuity.
If you have ignored the above rule and left it too late, avoid the temptation to rush and try to fast-track the recruitment process. This can be a sure-fire way to make mistakes by, for example, hurrying to produce a job description and leaving out vital responsibilities by skipping checking procedures. If you know that you only have a few days to choose a replacement it is far more likely that you will take less time to really assess them and may pick ‘the best of a bad bunch’ rather than holding out for the very best candidate.
One of the things that is often skipped when you are rushing the recruitment process is a thorough check of references and applicants with something to hide are usually banking on this. They may put down the names of people who aren’t really suitable as a reference, such as a primary school teacher or a relative, or a previous employer may give a reference that seems a little ‘off.’ If certain key attributes, like punctuality or reliability, are not mentioned in a reference, phone the person who wrote it. Some referees are reluctant to put their true opinions in writing to avoid legal repercussions but will be happy to give their honest assessment verbally. It is worth spending time thoroughly investigating references to make sure they are genuine and really reflect what others think of the candidate.
Some job applicants can have wonderful interview skills and charming personalities but to find the right person you often need to dig a little deeper. Social media can reveal a lot about someone and if they have put rude comments on Twitter about their current boss or have posted regular ‘hungover at my desk’ photos on Facebook it may make you think twice about making them a job offer.
Sometimes an interview goes well, a CV is perfect, and all background enquiries check out but there still remains a lingering doubt that makes you question whether a candidate is right. Don’t brush this aside but get in touch with them again to ask them about it before finalising an offer. It will be much easier to change your mind at this stage rather than running into problems once they have signed a contract.