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How your selection process should plan for success

July 5, 2019

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How your selection process should plan for success

Most companies have some type of selection process in place for filling vacancies, but are you making the best use of each step? By its very nature, the employee selection process has to have prerequisite steps to identifying and hiring the best candidates

But this is where we can get lost. If we try to have a single, generic approach to recruitment, we can end up making poor hiring decisions.

Each company and every role will have sub-steps that are necessary to identify the best candidate on the shortlist. But in the urgency to attract top talent and get the position filled, many recruiters overlook important opportunities to ensure that the best person gets the job offer.

The secret to successful hiring and a long term employee retention rate is to know upfront what you’re looking for. When you know exactly what you need, you can devise a means to find it. When you’re unsure, you could miss a candidate’s potential and key skills. 

What are the six steps in the selection process?

No matter the company, department or the role, six fundamental steps that have to be followed to fill a job. These are:

  1. Placing a job advert
  2. Screening applications
  3. Candidate interviews
  4. Verifications and references
  5. Final selection
  6. Making a job offer

At a glance, these steps look more than adequate to get a job filled successfully, but looks can be deceptive. The selection process is far more involved if you want to employ the best candidate who’ll fit the role, embrace the company culture and also be a stayer.

Identify top talent for your environment

No matter how great a candidate is on their CV, behind the profile is a person. It’s the individual that will make an excellent employee. 

Don’t make the mistake of hiring someone because their brilliant job history blinds you, or maybe just because you like them. What if they don’t fit into your environment? Even if they could do the job with their eyes closed, if someone’s unhappy at work, they’ll leave sooner rather than later. The opposite is true if someone’s happy at work; even if things about their job are tough, they’ll stay and try harder rather than leave. That’s what a stayer does!

If you’re inclined to want to follow the shortest selection process possible, think again. People aren’t tangible objects, and often all that glitters won’t be gold for your company as it could be elsewhere. According to analysts, the average person will spend 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work. That’s a lot of time, so little wonder we want job satisfaction.

Harness technology

How will you recognize a rough diamond or fool’s gold if you don’t know what you’re looking at? Luckily, as recruiters, we’ve got a host of tech at our disposal to tell a candidate who’ll be a good fit from one who won’t. But to be successful in our quest to hire the right candidates we have to make use of the best recruitment tools available.

If you’re not online with an ATS yet, it’s time to step-up! An ATS brings your whole recruitment process into one space in real-time, so all role players know what’s happening right away. Data-driven recruitment intervenes to automate the mundane and eliminate those pesky biases we all have.

Today you can’t afford to recruit with manual processes and gut-feel decision making. Neither can companies afford to make poor hiring decisions if they’re going to stay competitive. Data-driven recruitment leads to hiring success. But you can’t leave it all up to technology either. Recruiters need to be excellent communicators, networkers and analysts, among other things.

What a successful selection process looks like 

Know what you’re looking for

Qualify every vacancy before you begin your selection process. Things to consider upfront are:

  • Can the job be filled internally?
  • Why did the last employee resign?
  •  Has the role evolved since it was last filled?
  • How has the environment changed?
  • Has the management style changed?
  • What requirements are not negotiable?
  • What would the perfect employee profile be?
  • Write a job description that meets that profile.

Plan a suitable employee selection process

Once you’ve identified what you’re looking for, you can begin to put a selection process in place. Ask the following:

  • What’s the ideal hiring timeline?
  • What’s a realistic hiring timeline?
  • Who must be on the hiring team?
  •  How many interviews will be necessary?
  • Does the job require skills tests or assessments?
  •  What will attract this type of candidate?
  • Where are you most likely find this type of candidate?
  • What salary and benefits can your company afford to pay?

Put out the word that you’re hiring

Now that you know what you’re looking for and how to go about finding the right candidate, you have to make it known that you’re hiring. Put in every effort to ensure that you reach the right type of candidates. This is how to do it:

Screen applications

This is where automation is excellent! Pre-screening questions and even basic assessments can eliminate applicants who aren’t suitable and provide an up-to-date short list of the best applicants. But here’s a word of caution: don’t leave screening entirely up to automation:

  •  If you’re using keywords, using too many can eliminate suitable applicants.
  • If you overdo pre-screening questions, you can also lose out on talent.
  •  If you have too many assessments, applicants can abandon the process.
  •  If you are too vague, you could end up with a lengthy shortlist of mostly unsuitable applicants.
  •  If your job advert doesn’t clearly list job requirements AND project your employer brand, many candidates won’t apply. 

Screen each candidate on the shortlist

Now that you have a candidate shortlist, it’s time to let go of automation and do what recruiters do best: communicate! Carefully check every CV and application and then screen them. Screening interviews are:

  • Mostly by telephone or online and are brief.
  • Have pertinent questions ready beforehand.
  • Respect the candidate’s privacy and ask when you can call.
  • Listen carefully to how the candidate communicates.
  • Listen carefully to their attitude (yes, you can hear attitude).
  • Beware of excessive of hesitation, it can be an indicator of dishonesty. 

Candidate interviews

Screening interviews done, you now have a shortlist for in-depth interviews. It’s time to get the hiring team on board and prepare the candidates. As a recruiter, it’s your responsibility to manage everyone’s expectations. Make sure you cover the following:

  • Confirm interview dates and times with the hiring team.
  • Confirm interview dates and times with candidates.
  • Ensure that candidates have an outline of how the interview process will proceed.
  • Brief hiring team members on each candidate before each interview.
  • Meet every candidate when they arrive and recap the interview process.
  • Take charge of the interview process to ensure that it flows well and keeps to the time set.
  • Know when to step in if the interview is veering off course.
  • Figure out how to politely end an interview if it’s rapidly going south. (Occasionally we get two strong-willed people in the same room, and that can lead to verbal sparring. It’s negative and unpleasant; stop it sooner rather than later.)
  • Walk the candidate out of the interview to thank them and tell them what the next steps will be.
  •  Arrange for quick feedback from hiring team members so that candidates can be updated and the process can continue.

Assessments, skills tests, verifications, and references

Arrange for assessments and skills tests for candidates who’ve made it to the final round of the selection process. Here are some do’s and don’ts:

  • Do always conduct past employment references because if done correctly, they’ll probably reveal the most about a candidate’s skills and attitude.
  • Do always verify qualifications, especially for senior positions and roles that carry a great deal of responsibility. (Unfortunately, professional status doesn’t mean people are beyond lying about their credentials.)
  • Do opt for a psychometric test if the hiring team agrees that although a candidate looks good, there’s “something”, either positive or negative, that no one can pinpoint; you’ll get your confirmation. 
  • Don’t conduct unnecessary tests and assessments of any kind. Candidates might find them intimidating and yield weak (but inaccurate) results. Only do what’s necessary.

Final selection

Based on the past employment references, verifications, skills tests, and assessments, you’ll now be left with two or three candidates from which to make a selection.

  • Meet together as the hiring team and assess each candidate carefully.
  • Recap on your agreed salary and benefits budget and confirm it’s within each candidate’s range of expectation.
  • Decide if you want to see each candidate again, or if you’re ready to make an offer.
  • Decide beforehand who’ll make and negotiate the job offer. In some cases, it’s better to have the hiring manager discuss the offer directly with the candidate.
  •  If you opt for a final interview, don’t regret anyone until you’ve made a job offer and it’s been accepted. Never assume that a candidate will definitely accept your job offer, no matter how keen they seem.

After the job offer

Once the offer has been made and accepted:

  • Contact the remaining candidates and genuinely thank them for their participation.
  • Decide up front who’s responsible for onboarding and compile an employee onboarding checklist.
  • Keep in touch with the successful candidate throughout their notice period and make sure that they have all mandatory documentation before their starting date.
  • On their first day, be sure to meet them at the reception and welcome them.

The selection process definition

Always remember what the selection process is all about. It can be defined as:

A planned process of sourcing, selecting, interviewing and vetting candidates to find the person who has the right skills, experience, attitude and values for the job and your company.

As a recruiter, your job is to act in the best interests of all parties involved, free of bias and with honesty and empathy. To achieve that, you have to actively communicate with all role players to meet hiring managers’ expectations, improve the candidate experience and maintain your employer brand reputation. 

Bev has enthusiastically worked to match top employers and candidates for almost twenty years. An endless curiosity of the human mind, HR tech development, how to help people reach their goals and the ever-evolving hiring landscape is what keeps her fired up.
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