by Robin Throckmorton, M.A., SPHR
With unemployment rates at a record low, how do you recruit and select in this market? This is a difficult question with no one right answer. The best answer is to be open minded and follow the following eight general steps:
Step 1: Defining
Before you can even begin recruiting, you need to clearly define your position. This could be your job description, as long as it is up to date. Otherwise, an effective process to go through is defining the job which includes the following components job summary, reporting relationships, key responsibilities, requirements, and personality fit.
Step 2: Sourcing
There are a number of things you should consider when identifying the best recruitment technique(s) to use to source your candidates:
- Where is your position located and what is the labor market like in that area?
- What is the level of the position?
- How much time you have to fill the position and what are your budget constraints?
- What are the pay and benefits for the position?
- What is the image the company wants to portray and how is the company portrayed in the community?
Once you are comfortable with these considerations, you are ready to begin evaluating the various recruitment techniques to determine which ones best satisfy the criteria you developed in answering these questions. Some techniques to consider include:
- Internal Job Posting
- Employee Referrals
- Newspaper Advertisements
- Trade Journal Advertisements
- On-line Job Banks / Posting Boards
- Employment Agencies
- State Agencies
- Educational Institutes
- Labor and Community Organizations
- Job Fairs / Open Houses
- Contract Recruiters
- Placement Services
- Professional Associations
- Computer Resume Banks
- Voice Mail Job Lines
- Hospitality Suites
- Point-of-Sale / Office Advertisements
- Email Blitz to Contact List
- Signing Bonus
- Referral Fee (internal / external)
- Outplacement Centers
- Local Journals
Step 3: Screening
Hopefully by the time you get to step 3, you will have a pool of candidates that you will need to start screening. Before you actually interview the candidates, you should screen through the resumes and conduct preliminary phone interviews.
To screen the resumes effectively, create three piles (A — very interested; B — possibly; C — no interest) and sort them accordingly as you review each resume for criteria such as the following:
- Does the candidate possess the skills necessary to perform all or most of the duties you identified in the job summary?
- Does the candidate meet the necessary requirements (i.e. education and experience) for the position?
- How long has the candidate been in each position and why did they leave each position?
- Are there any gaps in their employment? (don’t assume they are for negative reasons)
Be sure to jot notes down as you screen the resumes. This will help provide effective questions for you to ask the candidates during the telephone screen.
Next, begin telephone screening the candidates that made it to the pile A with a group of pre-determined questions to help you consistently evaluate each candidate.
Step 4: Interviewing
Based on the results of Step 3, you should be ready to begin the interview process. Anyone can conduct an interview but only some individuals can do it effectively. Some of the skills interviewers should possess include ability to think objectively; avoid judgments and prejudices; actively listening; communicate; control the interview; and document! Document! Document!
The typical process that an interview follows includes:
- Prepare for the Interview
- In this step, you should prepare the interview area, review the candidate’s paperwork, review the job definition, and prepare questions.
- Opening and Setting the Tone
- Be sure you always start on time and make the candidate feel at ease. They are interviewing you too. You should share your role with the candidate and provide a short introduction to the company and position.
- Gathering Information and Probing
- There are many different types of interviews that you can conduct. You need to identify the best way to review your candidates. Be sure that you ask job related questions and remain consistent from one interview to the next.
- Closing the Interview and Selling
- Always allow time for the candidate to ask questions. Also, be sure to share with the candidate the next steps in the process and thank them for coming.
- Documenting After the Interview
- Immediately following the interviewing, you should document the discussions of the interview but not on resume or application. There is no way you will remember all the details after interviewing a number of candidates. Be sure to avoid any discriminating notes.
Step 5: Verifying
Everywhere you turn, checking references has a bad rap; however, it is still an effective step in the recruitment and selection process to ensure the success of your placement. Just do it!!! Contact previous employers, supervisors, or even co-workers. Have questions prepared in advance, perhaps customized to the candidate. Listen for any non-verbals that would indicate any positive or negative influence on your hiring decision.
Step 6: Offering
An offer should be given as soon as possible verbally but be sure to follow it up with a written offer containing the details of the offer (i.e. salary, benefits, etc). Be sure to include a statement that precludes the offer from being an employment contract.
Step 7: Orienting
Your job isn’t over yet!!!! The first three – six months on any job are the toughest. Be sure to make the transition as easy as possible for the new employee. Develop a checklist of the things that human resources should cover as well as the supervisor. Also, consider assigning a mentor to help answer those basic questions about the company that come up later.
Step 8: Retaining
How much will you be willing to pay to repeat this process again? To minimize that cost, ask your employees what motivates them to stay and do it. Some useful techniques:
- Exit Interviews
- Paid Internships
- Salary Increases
- Retention Bonuses
- Sign-on Bonuses with Delayed Payment
- Relocation Payback Agreements
- Training / Education Payback Agreements
- Spot Cash Awards
- Career Counseling (Employee/family)
- Shorten Waiting Periods for Benefits
- Base Company Paid Benefits on Tenure
- Tuition Reimbursement
- Stock Options
- Subsidized Child Care
- Concierge Services
- Flexible Scheduling
- Job Sharing
- Job Rotation
- Telecom muting
- Business Casual Dress
- Diversity Initiative
- Project Celebrations
- Employee Recognition Programs
- Employee Opinion Survey
- Work/Life Programs
- Thank You, Birthday, Christmas Cards
- Employee Involvement
- Computer Subsidy or Purchase
- Educational Assistance for Children
- Management Style
- Mentors / Coaches
- Vacation Stipends
- House Cleaning Stipend
- Take Out Dinners
- Care Packages for Family
- Informal/Formal Feedback to Employees
- New Hire Orientation
- Performance Appraisals
These are just some of the basics of recruiting and selecting in this labor market. You will need to constantly re-evaluate your techniques and the effectiveness of those techniques to ensure your efforts are successful. Good luck with your search and selection.
Robin Throckmorton, MA, SPHR, a Senior Human Resources Management Consultant is President of Strategic Human Resources, Inc. (www.strategicHRinc.com). If you have any questions or wish to share your comments, you can contact Robin at Robin@strategicHRinc.com.