Many organizations struggle with attracting the right staff with the competencies and behaviours that fit their company’s culture.  An organization can improve their success rate by adopting a rigorous recruitment process.

A rigorous recruitment process for external hires needs to include the following:

1. Pre-Screening of Candidates: The purpose the resume review is to screen out applicants who do not meet the basic requirements for a position (e.g., minimum experience or education, willingness to relocate, salary requirements). The use of social media during this screening process is a growing trend.For example, social media can provide a snapshot of applicants’ professional personas. Do they belong to professional organizations? What type of volunteer activities are they involved in? What type of other organizations do they align themselves with? Will they represent your organization well in the community?

2.  Telephone Screening Interviews: A typical pre-screening telephone interview lasts 20 to 30 minutes and includes questions designed to eliminate candidates who do not meet the qualification criteria. Examples of questions include the following:

  • Is the salary range for this position within your acceptable range?
  • Why are you searching for a new position?
  • What are the top three duties in the job you now have or in your most recent job?
  • What is your educational background?
  • What do you see as your strongest skills, and what are your key challenges?

3. Preliminary Assessment of Candidates:  This can be performed through an in-person interview process, structured panel interview, video interview; or a combination of the three.  During a typical one-hour interview, there is time to ask 10 to 12 interview questions.  It is critical to examine the usefulness of each interview question, answer the following questions about each one: What is the most likely response to this question? Does that answer give me concrete data that will help me make a hiring decision? If either test falls flat, the question needs work. If both tests fail, toss out the question, and start over. The best questions are behavioural based interview questions that give the candidate an opportunity to provide a specific example of a past situation where they applied the specific competency.

4. Pre-employment Testing of Top Candidates: The purpose of employee testing is to help the employer predict how well an individual will perform on the job. Hiring the wrong people can be expensive, and selection errors can have a negative impact on employee morale and management time, waste valuable training and development dollars, and reduce employee productivity and a company’s profitability.  By selecting a few pre-employment tests aligned with the competencies required in the job, this greatly increases an employer’s success rate in hiring the “right fit”.

5. Verification Checks: This involves verifying the employment history, educational credentials, and performing reference checks.  It is recommended that this be performed after a conditional offer has been extended.  The condition, of course being, that the candidate’s information is verified as accurate.  The most common exaggeration that job candidates make concerns their educational credentials.  These are best confirmed with the educational institutions directly.

Hiring on top talent is not an exact science.  It requires an understanding of the company’s culture, an accurate job description with specific competencies and desired behaviours, and a posting process that attracts as large a candidate pool as possible.