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How to recruit well in business

Diane Hall


Selecting potential candidates for recuitment.

The costs to recruit a new member of staff may seem insignificant, but once you consider recruitment agency fees (if relevant) and/or advertising costs, not to mention the time it takes to write out a job advert, shortlist candidates and hold interviews, you’ll see how they can soon add up.

Of course, this cost would be easy to stomach if the person you gave the job to excelled in their role and remained with the company for decades.

Sadly, this doesn’t always happen, for a myriad of reasons, such as:

  • The job was only a ‘just for now’ position for the candidate

  • The wrong person was selected from the talent pool available at that time

  • The talent pool didn’t contain anyone that was best suited to the role at that time

  • Despite best intentions, the company and the candidate just weren’t a good fit

There’s not much you can do about the range of people available who may wish to apply for the job when the vacancy goes live, and whether any one of those candidates is perfectly suited to the role—unless you opt for a passive recruitment/headhunting strategy to find the most suited employee.

You can, however, do something about the other three points. Here are our top tips on recruiting the right person for your business…

Don’t just opt for the ‘nicest’ candidate

At interview stage, it may be tempting to choose the one you have the most rapport with, the nicest candidate, the person you believe you will get along with the most. Try to be clinical about the decision and remove emotion from your decision, looking only at who is the most appropriately skilled and experienced in relation to the responsibilities and tasks associated with the vacancy.

Of course, having a good rapport or connection with the successful candidate would be fantastic, but it’s not the main priority. It’s sometimes helpful in business to have someone who may challenge you every now and again if they believe something can be done better; a ‘yes’ man/woman is great for your ego, but it’s not necessarily good for the growth of your business if they agree with every decision you make.

Searching for talent or looking for employee concept using magnifying glass and wooden cube with people icon

Searching for talent or looking for employee concept using magnifying glass and wooden cube with people icon

Make it clear what you’re looking for

No doubt you’ll be specific when it comes to detailing the practicalities of the role, but it’s a good idea—either in the job specification or interview—to also talk about the culture of the company, what a typical day/week may look like in the job, how the company offers flexibility to its employees, etc., etc.

The more you detail what you’re looking for, the more a potential employee can decide whether this describes them, or if they’re leaping from a job into a cauldron of complications, because there are aspects of your company/the position they don’t agree with, or expectations they may not be able to meet. If everything is out in the open from the off, there’s no room for confusion and the right person for the role should naturally find their place.

Have an open mind

In any recruitment process, it’s not a good idea (nor fair) to apply bias of any kind. So…the person walking into the interview may not look like the ‘perfect person’, they may have a distracting habit when nervous, or a couple of their responses may seem a little odd…try not to make assumptions about them. Instead, put any prejudice aside and concentrate on what’s important: can they do the job? If an answer they gave rankles with you in some way, explore the topic more deeply, ask more questions on the subject. It’s a nerve-racking experience, being interviewed, and people cope with such anxieties in their own way—it doesn’t make them strange or any less capable.

Speak to referees

I worked with one colleague who was allowed to write her own reference; naturally, she said she was fabulous at everything. She over-egged her abilities and set herself up for failure in the role she went on to, which resulted in a period of frustration for everyone involved.

Rather than send a written form to referees for them to complete, try and talk to them by phone/video chat. You’ll get a much better picture of the person you’re planning to hire and a more accurate and honest portrayal of what they’ll be like as an employee.

If all else fails…

There’s no point trying to force something if it isn’t happening. If the new employee isn’t taking to the role after training, mentoring and other forms of support, cut your losses. This is why there should always be a trial period from the off—it gives both parties the opportunity to find out if they’re going to be able to work together wonderfully…or not. If it’s not working, don’t be afraid to start formal proceedings to let them go. You will likely be doing them a favour in the long run; they’ll be free to find a job that IS perfect for them.

Recruiting isn’t an exact science, even if you employ these tips. On paper, someone could appear absolutely perfect for the role, but there are so many variables involved that things may not go smoothly. On the whole, however, if you incorporate these points, the process should be much easier and effective, and you should be well on your way to having a great team behind you as go from success to success.

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