Effective hiring – 9 handy tips
Every company has their own recruitment strategy and processes that they adhere too. Some will be deemed successful, others will manage to just yield the bare minimum, and a lot will fail. It is implicit that you don’t want to be in the third category, while mastering the art of successful hiring can be a tedious process without the proper structure and guidelines. For this reason, we have collected a few handy tips to help you and your organisation optimise the hiring process and avoid any potential pitfalls.
1. Clear Communication and Planning
From the outset, make sure you understand and lay out the actual time frame of the hiring process; that is from the moment an open position goes live, to planning an actual appointment with a candidate. Subsequently, communicate the timeline you have set with all parties involved; HR, hiring managers, and, of course, the prospective employee being invited for an interview.
By simply adhering to a time frame and communicating it effectively, you can plan all future hires well ahead of schedule. The more transparent you are with said planning, the higher the chances of ensuring a smooth and bump-free process. Don’t shy away from informing the candidate about any specifics, such as the case of a two or three stage interview, the dates and timeline of these interviews, or any other requirements that might come ahead during the screening process.
In this way, you can also minimise any potential pitfalls. Often enough, it can be the case that the person you are interviewing will be approached by one of your competitors for a similar opening. Interviewing someone and then providing feedback on their interview a few weeks or even months later can often put you at risk of losing that candidate and even receiving negative reviews on Glassdoor or other portals. Needless to say that the latter will have a harmful impact on your organisation’s reputation too.
2. First Impressions Count
When inviting a candidate for an interview, make sure the interview is well-planned, properly coordinated, and an enjoyable experience for the candidate. Make sure the people who need to be present at the interview are not late. Have a structure of how you will conduct the interview, and make sure the candidate is aware of this structure beforehand.
Remember, it can be the case that the person you are interviewing already has a job in which they are happy and doing well. You are trying to headhunt this person to join your organisation, so if you come across disorganised, you probably won’t get a second chance to see that candidate again. Both the hiring manager and the candidate probably have busy schedules, with the candidate probably having taken time off from work to attend the interview. By preparing and conducting the interview smoothly, not only you showcase trustworthiness and integrity, but you also demonstrate the value you place on everyone’s time.
3. Body Language
As much as it’s imperative for a candidate to be aware of their body language during a job interview, you as the interviewer must express effectively your interest in the person sat in front of you as well. Putting your phone on the desk and looking at it every two minutes throughout the interview, or even receiving a message or a phone call and walking out of the room to answer, is bad etiquette.
Apart from the obvious ‘don’ts’, such as no eye contact, folded arms, yawning, or looking at your watch, just remember that right at that moment you are representing the whole company, so one single bad experience of a candidate could be extremely damaging to your organisation. That same candidate could end up working for a potential client of yours or could have colleagues that you are very interested in hiring. If word of mouth regarding one bad interview experience spreads, it can be very hard to correct and repair your organisation’s reputation, especially if you get reviewed on Glassdoor.
4. Don’t lose the candidate’s interest
Many candidates start to lose interest in joining a company after the third interview, especially if the interviews have been dragged out over a period of months. So if you are struggling to hire people and have a lengthy recruitment process, then we would strongly advise that you revisit your strategy. A hiring process that runs on for too long can be detrimental to both an organisation, as well as those seeking new employment opportunities. Remember, there are other companies out there who are also interested in employing your applicant.
5. Don’t be egotistical
You may have recently launched a new venture. Or you are the pioneer in some cutting-edge technology that has never been seen before. Everyone seems to be raving about your company. This is of course all amazing but can often lead you into becoming a bit egotistical and lazy in your approach to recruitment. Don’t forget that you still need to promote the values and culture of your company and put the candidate first. It is your future employees that will ultimately make your company a success or a failure, so it makes sense to remain humble and invest in your people as much as you can.
6. Realistic Expectations
Every company wants to hire the perfect candidate; someone who ticks all the boxes and has all the skills/experience requested, but, in all reality, these people often don’t exist. So rather than waiting for that perfect employee to come along, focus on identifying which skills are actually essential for the job and which ones can be learnt and developed in the process. In that way, you will open yourself up to a much wider audience and have much higher chances of filling the opening.
7. Too many cooks spoil the broth
Having lots of people involved can often slow down the recruitment process due to non-availability/location conflict, and numerous other factors. Whilst it is always nice to have buy-in from your peers, always remember to ask yourself: Is this involvement essential for the position you are hiring for, and are these additional interviews productive?
If you need three or four people to speak with the candidate, combining these interviews into one morning or afternoon on the same day works best and is a lot more cost-effective than dragging these interviews out over a period of months.
8. Setting KPIs
It is oftentimes that the hiring process might become second to the business, when work is piling up. Setting up a time frame can get out of focus, as you push interviews further back, and before you know it you are suddenly a couple of months into the process, but not close enough to securing the prospective employee.
For this reason, it is strongly advisable that one person takes control of the scheduling to make sure everything stays on track. Before you begin the interview process, set benchmarks for you and anyone else involved in the hiring. If you know that by X date you need to have completed your first round of interviews, and by Y date you need to have narrowed down your options to your top three candidates, it is even more imperative to keep things moving and preventing your hiring from extending on for months on end.
9. Offer Stage
Unless it is a senior appointment, once you have decided who you want to hire, let the candidate know and aim to get an offer out within 2-4 working days from their final interview. Taking weeks to send an offer will often put doubts into the prospective employee’s head and give them more time to be approached by other companies/headhunters.
Keep the hiring procedure as short as possible. With all the various software platforms out there for video conferencing and interviewing candidates, there should really be no excuse for a lengthy interview process. Unless you are appointing a senior executive, it is recommended that a two- or possibly three-stage interview process is the maximum a company should conduct over the period of two to four weeks.
Always put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and remember to keep the hiring process an enjoyable experience for the candidates involved. If you are really struggling with your recruitment, then reach out to an Executive Search firm and appoint them to recruit the people you need. Key benefits are that the timelines are locked in, that there are key deliverables all throughout the process, and, most importantly, more often than not you come out with the key hire you were seeking.
This article was written by Ian Stammers, Head of New-Space and Satcom Recruitment (NSSR) at Sapienza Consulting.