Where you have an opportunity to recruit, time must be well spent to attract the most appropriate candidate. The requirements of the job must be clear not just on the job description, but in the mind of the people manager. It is important to not just think of the job as a series of duties that need to be completed, but consider the type of person that is needed to perform it.
I have seen some appalling job descriptions that are not only out of date but barely go beyond ‘Please turn up between 9 and 5 every day! If you have nothing to go on from a bad job description, you will be inclined to make up the words of the recruitment advert which may themselves be out of sync with the business need. But if the job description is already completed, comprehensive and up-to-date, you simply have to lift the words. Consider whether it is just full of stereotyped descriptions or whether it will really help the right person to find the job. Make sure there is no reference to ‘Must be able to work under pressure’ though! You will not attract good, intelligent, experienced people with such words. Yet so often, these words appear.
‘Join us and we guarantee to make you sweat, to give you a hard time every minute of the day. No relaxation for you to plan your workload, we crack the whip from 9 to 6 – and those are just the hours we work – you will work much longer than us!
If there is pressure, then this may be a reflection of poor management. If pressure does exist, then perhaps the recruitment advert should say: ‘the main current short-term objective of the role is to determine how to remove the pressure!’
The recruitment advert for a job should, as most but not all do, demonstrate the key responsibilities and accountabilities with a clear distinction between the two.
This is an extremely difficult activity to carry out and get right. A lot of people managers either can’t be bothered, just don’t think they can do it, or plainly don’t see the point. Similarly, if the process is not explained to individuals, they too will not see the point and just want to get on with their jobs or what they think their jobs are – and that is the whole point!
Equally, there is often pressure from the business to get the recruitment under way, get the person hired as soon as possible in order to relieve the pressure, and more than likely to dump a lot of the mess onto the new hiring.
Yet the benefit to be realised from this simple process is that if everyone is adhering to the tasks out of the current objectives, which are in sync with the job description, which has been written with accurate consideration for the genuine responsibilities and accountabilities of the role, the performance plans have a greater chance of being achieved as will the business goals.
It is therefore important to make sure that it is made clear what will be expected from the person on a day to day basis. They are unlikely to be under pressure every day or having to stick to deadlines either. However, they may be filing every day, entering data on the computer etc. Put more emphasis on the day to day tasks.
It is so important to think about the right person to fit the role. Consider whether there is someone doing the job at the moment and what they are like and whether they have the right personality for the job. Consider what features they have that make them right or wrong for the role and try to incorporate that in the job description.
It can be a worry that you may not pick out the right people for interview based on the CV’s or application forms. Make sure that you try to read between the lines and past all of the required jargon to get a clue as to the personality of the applicant. Obviously you will need them to have certain skills and so can narrow it down by eliminating those that do not. Do not be afraid to choose a lot of candidates to interview as only then will you be able to get a proper idea of what they are like.
The interview itself is also very important. If there is someone doing the job at the moment, ask them to come along. Make sure that there are representatives from the team there or video it so they can watch. They will then be able to see whether they think they will fit in with that person. Think carefully, not just about whether the person has the right qualifications or work experience but how they will fit in with the team.
It can be difficult to think of what questions to ask, but in a way it is not that important. You should be able to get a sense of the person’s personality from the way that they answer any question. It can be a good idea to show them the place where they will be working if you can. Get the team to talk to them and ask questions and get them to do the same and it will help you to get the idea of how well they might fit in.
Do not be afraid to do follow up interviews if you cannot make your decision straight away. It is so important to make sure that you get the right person for the job that you need to give yourself the best chance of finding them.