Wednesday 25 April 2018

The six ways to hire the perfect candidate for work

As growth continues to speed ahead, many companies can find it tough to find the best calibre of employees. Louise Campbell has written a quick checklist for employers.

Hiring activity in the Irish market increased steadily throughout 2014
Hiring activity in the Irish market increased steadily throughout 2014

Louise Campbell

Bolstered by the strong economic growth in Ireland last year, one of the strongest in Europe, we saw both foreign multinationals and domestic businesses investing in growing headcount, irrespective of sector.

We are now seeing an increase in candidate scarcity among skilled professionals to the point where we are looking abroad, as well as domestically, to meet demand.

Hiring activity in the Irish market increased steadily throughout 2014 and it looks like this trend will continue in 2015. Employers are once again competing to attract and retain the best talent in the marketplace.

Hiring can be one of the biggest challenges in growing a business and many organisations underestimate the time and effort needed to invest in this activity.

While not exhaustive, this list may act as a set of best practice guidelines to follow when making hiring decisions.

1) Defining the job

It is essential to formalise a job description at the beginning of the recruitment process.

If possible, create a bespoke one for each particular position rather than using a generic one from existing files. Alternatively, tweak a current one to focus on your key requirements for the role. Think about what skills are essential rather than desirable so that you know what the deal breakers will be when it comes to considering potential employees.

Points to consider

What level of experience do we require?

What are the existing skill sets within this team?

How will our new starter compliment these skills?

What are the day-to-day activities they will be doing?

What's the budget for the hire? Is it relative to our existing staff?

Is this a permanent position or could we hire a contractor?

What does success look like for this position?

What are the reporting lines and career progression?

2) Candidate attraction strategy

There are numerous candidate attraction strategies for employers to utilise when targeting job seekers:

l Internal referrals - Ask employees if they know people with certain skill sets who would be suitable for a position within the company. This can be a very successful and cost-effective way to recruit, particularly at graduate level.

l Recruitment companies - A good recruiter will have access to a bigger pool of candidates and can cast the net further by approaching individuals who may not be actively looking in the market at that time.

l Advertising - A well-written advertisement in a national broadsheet or trade specific magazine can prove effective in targeting the passive job-seeker, particularly if you are looking for someone with a niche skill set.

l Social media - Post the job on your company LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts to ensure it reaches a wide and diverse target audience.

l Internal applicants - Is there an employee within the organisation who could move into the role?

3) The interview

Hiring organisations are competing with each other to hire the best talent in the market.

It is vital that your company is portrayed in the best possible light throughout the interview process. Investing time in training your interviewers and streamlining this process can make a huge difference in securing the best candidates for your company.

Ideally, you will have a number of people interviewing the potential employee from both the HR department and relevant line management. Make sure that these individuals are capable and trained in the art of interviewing.

Prior to the interview, define the competencies needed in this role and create a set of questions around these competencies.

Ask all potential candidates the same questions so that you can benchmark their answers. Ensure that you take detailed notes throughout the interview as they will be needed when giving feedback to the candidate at a later stage.

Ensure that you are screening against skills, experience and competencies throughout the interview, leaving any personal bias aside that may influence your ability to identify the best candidate for the job.

4) The offer

Once you have identified the best person for the job, give them a verbal offer of employment that details basic salary and benefits, such as bonus/overtime/annual leave/healthcare/study support.

This verbal offer should be dependant upon references from both previous employers and educational qualifications. Once you are satisfied with their references, draw up a contract without delay.

Be prepared for counter-offer situations, which are on the rise as organisations attempt to retain their top talent.

Discuss the situation in detail with the candidate to minimise the chances of them changing their mind. Offer support and constant communication throughout the resignation period, which can be a difficult and stressful time for many people.

Once the candidate has accepted the offer of employment, reject all other applicants either verbally or in writing, thanking them for their time and effort and giving interview feedback where appropriate.

5) Onboarding

Upon commencing employment, it is critical to ensure that the new employee is given all the support and guidance they need to settle in quickly.

Ensure that your new starter is given the tools to do their job through either a formal training and induction programme or by applying a less structured on-the-job approach.

Give clear communication around objectives and expectations for the role and maintain regular meetings and follow ups, providing support and guidance where necessary.

Probationary periods are there for a reason. It is important to document their progress and ensure that you are happy with the employees' performance before passing their probation.

People are the lifeblood of a company. Getting the hiring process right is crucial to building a successful business and key for any company seeking to grow their employer brand and maintain a competitive advantage.

Louise Campbell is managing director at Robert Walters Ireland

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