There is no time like the start of a new year for getting your stuff together. A lot is riding on 2020 being a great year for everyone – given that it’s a new decade, it really is all about starting afresh.
Recruitment has changed considerably over the past decade. Gone are the days of printed advertisements and long-winded interview processes. In fact, how many companies still base their hiring choices on a candidates’ GCSE grades? “O” Levels? What are they?
If you’re in a pretty niche industry like Marketing, I’d expect to see a need for successful completion of an apprenticeship, professional qualification or an appropriate degree. However, we’ve slowly seen a rise in companies hiring purely based on experience and personality. To me, years of experience and the right attitude far outweighs qualifications from 20-odd years ago.
If you’re planning to recruit for marketing roles in 2020, why not put in place the process of all processes? Completely streamline your recruitment strategy so you can save money and time when hiring someone new.
Devise a Recruitment Plan
Forget your interview process for a second. Let’s focus on how you plan to recruit for your new position. Today, the popularity of specialist recruitment agencies is soaring. I mean, who doesn’t want someone else to do their job for them? Recruitment agencies are extremely popular, but they do come with a pretty hefty price tag and ultimately you still have to interview the candidates they send to you.
It’s so easy to get an agency to handle the initial recruitment process for you. But, it’s a good idea to evaluate the role that you’re hiring for and the kind of candidate that you’re looking for, and ultimately do the entire recruitment process yourself. You’ll potentially save yourself thousands of pounds and, although you’ll lose some time, you’re more likely to find a candidate better suited to the business and the role, and you can be in complete control of the process.
Know Your Audience
Recruiting the ideal candidate is tough; especially if you’re looking in the wrong place. Although you can’t be prejudiced in your hiring, you need to know your audience in order to limit the amount of rubbish CV’s you’ll be sent.
Evaluate the position that you’re hiring for. It’s easy if you already have a great pool of employees that are currently working in the same role. Have a rough idea of experience needed, the type of personality that would fit in with the culture of your company, and the expertise that you need them to have. From here, to save a bit of cash, pop your job advert onto some free job boards. It’s likely that you’ll be sifting through some awful CV’s by doing it this way, but hey, it’s free.
Secondly, you need to decide whether LinkedIn is the avenue for you. It’s always a good idea to ask your employees to share the job spec on LinkedIn, however, do you want to use LinkedIn’s service to post it? We’ve posted our job ads with LinkedIn a couple of times in the past, and do you know how many hires we’ve made from it? Zero. The platform is pretty costly to post on, and like the free job boards, you do get an awful lot of shit. In my opinion, it’s a waste of time.
By knowing your audience, head-hunting is your best bet. It’s extremely time consuming, but costs nothing in terms of actual cash. This is where Linkedin shines. By filtering down your search area and searching for key terms within your industry, you’ll find an abundance of LinkedIn profiles to search through. In addition, LinkedIn has a service especially for recruitment. It’s a really handy platform to use, however it does require you to have a premium account – so it does cost you.
Is your job ad calling for a graduate or apprentice? If so, your audience will be those about to leave school or university. There are many Facebook pages for school and uni graduates that act as a ‘portal’. Request to join these and you’re able to get your job spec in front of the right people. Many universities will also have their own job portals that are free to post on, utilise those available from universities local to you.
Creating a Job Specification
Your job spec needs to be to the point but fun and inviting. If you want to attract great candidates, showing your company’s character through a job spec is ideal. Don’t make it boring and long-winded. People these days want to believe in the company they work for, a job isn’t just a way to earn some weekend pocket money anymore, appeal to their wants and needs and make your business stand out.
Long gone are the days of lengthy application forms, but if you have very specific questions that you’d like applicants to answer, include a short questionnaire with your job spec. These are easy enough to create with tools like Google Forms and such things can really help you make a more informed decision.
Companies often wonder why they aren’t getting a great deal of candidates applying. This can be to do with not understanding your audience, but it’s mainly due to the salary. My biggest pet peeve with job specs is companies not including the salary. And, I’m sure I’m not alone on this. You’re not gaining anything from it. In fact, you’re losing out on some pretty good candidates.
There are a few reasons a company won’t post a salary range; either they think it’s pretty poor, it will give them more power to negotiate, or they think curiosity will entice people to apply. Nope. While this may work in some circumstances, if you’ve researched the role properly and you’ve fully understood what it is you’re asking for in terms of the candidate and expertise, the chances are that the salary range you’re offering is appropriate.
It’s estimated that a job ad with a salary range gets approximately 30% more applicants. And while you may not want it to be the main focus for your ideal potential candidate, 62% of applicants also listed it as the most important factor when applying, according to research by Glassdoor. While it’s not everything, salary is a big deal to people.
People don’t want to go to the effort of applying for a job to find out that the salary is too low. Likewise, you don’t want to waste any of your own time going over a CV to find you can’t offer what they’re looking for. No matter what remuneration you’re offering, be transparent and include the bloody salary on your job spec!
Google Forms example
Streamline the Interview Process
So, you have a list of candidates that you’d like to interview. How do you go about your interview process? Perhaps you invite each candidate for an hour long interview. Or, maybe you hold group interview days. Nothing is wrong with either process, but you could probably streamline this and create a process that can be applied for every type of position.
We’ve tried and tested many ways of conducting our interviews over the past few years and the one that we’re currently using seems to stick and offers the best results. This is how we do it:
Phone Interview – 1st stage of our interview process
In our industry, time is extremely important. This is why we want to whittle a list down to a small amount of candidates without spending an hour interviewing each person. To do this, we start by conducting a phone interview with each candidate. These tend to last around 15-minutes to half an hour, and will usually be conducted by the head of the department that we’re recruiting for. In this phone interview, we go over the candidates CV and ask them any questions regarding their experience and expertise that we want to know a little more about. During this time, we get a feel for the candidates confidence and personality, too.
Assessment – 2nd stage of our interview process
After the phone interview process, we then decide upon the candidates that we’d like to interview in person. As we conduct a phone interview beforehand, we have a better idea of who is more suitable for the position. Usually, by this time, we’ve already managed to reduce our interview list by half.
Our main interview is an assessment. We start by having a short chat with the candidate and we then set them a few tasks to do. These tasks will be related to the position that they’re applying for and will be work that they’d be required to do on a daily basis. We tend to sneak a few trickier tasks in, but this is purely to see how much they actually know rather than disqualifying them for not being able to do it.
These tasks are to be completed over a set time period and will be held in our office. We do this so we can monitor how the candidate is doing, as well as see how they get on with the rest of the team. When they have completed the tasks, we then look over the work and sit down with them for a debrief before they leave.
We find an assessment to be extremely beneficial to our interview process. While the candidate is doing their assessment tasks, we can get on with our work, resulting in very little time being lost. We also find that the tasks help us decide whether the candidate can do what we need them to, instead of them just telling us in their CV and interview that they can do it – trust me, it’s not uncommon for that to happen and the proof is in the pudding so they say!
Long Term Results
Having an assessment stage means we very rarely need to go to a second stage face-to-face interview. We can often decide which candidate is most suitable for the position and the company as a whole at assessment. As a result of the steps we take, our staff retention rates are very good and attrition rates are very low considering the industry we’re in. So, it definitely pays to make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for, and what suitable candidates are looking for in return.
That’s not to say our recruitment process is always the same; sometimes positions are just too difficult to fill – in which case we’d look to use an agency. But, this process seems to be what works best for us and there’s been very few occasions where we’ve needed to reach out.
There is no harm in playing your recruitment process by ear, depending on the type of role that you’re looking to fill. But, there’s also a lot of benefits in having a clearly defined process. If you’re planning to recruit new staff in 2020, streamlining will not only save you time, but money too.