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How to Recruit the Right People

By: Lisa Koning - Updated: 7 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Staff Recruit Manager Interview

When thinking of how to recruit the right staff many of us think of recruitment agencies, or interviewing techniques, or psychological testing, but getting the right person for the job starts long before the interview process even begins.

Understand the Job

You won’t know you have the right person if you don’t know what that right person looks like. Put simply, you need to understand who would be best suited to do the work.

The first step is to understand what is required by the person doing the job. This consists of skills: qualifications, knowledge and experience, and also includes more softer abilities: such as influencing and negotiating.

Try to picture the perfect person for the role. How do they behave: do you need them to take initiative? Do they need to have strong team skills? Consider the environment the employee will work in: do they need to work independently or are they required to work frequently with other staff?

Be specific with the job requirements. You will only know if you have a good match with a potential employee if you have a list of attributes to measure against.

Finding Staff

How do you go about finding staff? You may have a recruitment division as part of your Human Resources function, but if not, there are likely to be guidelines for hiring people. Recruitment organisations are very popular because they take away some of the time consuming elements of searching for people. But don’t believe everything they tell you; it’s in their interest to get you the right person, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be tempted to over sell people sometimes.

Look around you; have you considered some of your existing staff or other staff from across the business? Have you made others aware of the available position? Have you actively encouraged others to consider the role? It may also be that they know of possible suitable candidates.

The Recruitment Process

As the hiring manager it’s up to you to manage the recruitment process. It’s possible that you will receive many resumes for a role. It may seem tempting just to meet them all after a quick perusal of the resumes, however this is not a good use of your time. Be selective and read the resumes well, go back and ask further questions if you want to clarify any details.

You may want to consider involving others in your function in the interview process. Sometimes it is helpful to have rounds of interviews so that you only see those that have been recommended to you by your staff. If you do involve other employees in the interview process ensure that you have thoroughly explained the job requirements to them.

Measure, Measure and Measure

Finding the right person is more than a gut feel. You might like someone straight away and think they’d be great to work with, but does that make them the right candidate? Probably not.

To ensure that you use a fair process, giving all applicants an equal opportunity to try for the position, it’s important to measure against the job requirements. Remember the list we prepared earlier listing all the necessary skills: including technical and softer skills? This is essential to our measuring. Each candidate can be measured according to how well they deliver against each required skill.

The Interview

So what happens if someone measures up well against the list of requirements but from the interview you just don’t like them. Should you ignore you feelings? Definitely not. You need to consider why you didn’t like them? Was it their attitude that was a problem? Perhaps there was something about their behaviour that concerned you. It is important to understand where your concern came from and perhaps you need to review your job requirements to add further skills: perhaps you hadn’t considered friendly and easy to get along with as a skill, but if the person is required to work with other staff, it may well be a necessary skill.

Getting the right staff is essential in your role as a manager. Critical to the task is understanding what you need in the role and being as detailed and specific as possible. Once you truly understand the role, the right person will hopefully become obvious once you've checked their abilities against your job requirements.

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