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Recruitment - Getting it Right More Often

Aug 17, 2007
The Accounts Clerk had resigned and the Administration Manager leapt into action and placed an advertisement in the local paper for a replacement. Two weeks of frenzied résumé reading and interviews followed and a suitable replacement was found.

The Administration Manager was feeling very pleased with himself until the General Manager decided she was not getting the information she required and said they really needed an accountant. She was very surprised they had recruited another bookkeeper level person as she always intended to upgrade the accounts area when the opportunity arose. "No problem", said the Administration Manager, "she is on probation. I'll just terminate her."

What effect does this have on other employees? How professional does management look? How much has this cost? How unfair was this on the new employee? Which employees would recommend this organization to their friends?

When we run training on recruitment and ask what the next action should be after a resignation, the response is invariably to advertise. This response is indicative of organizations that do not have a process for recruiting - probably one of the most expensive exercises undertaken by most managers. The cost of losing and replacing an employee ranges from three months pay to up to three times annual salary.

This is an involved and important exercise, yet it is quite often carried out in an ad hoc way with often very serious and expensive consequences.

A process is necessary and people need to be trained in it.

The process needs to cover such issues as:

Who will be involved in the recruitment process? This may include the supervisor, internal customers and peers.

Is the job necessary? The job may be able to be combined with another job or be outsourced.

Does the job need redefining? An up to date job description should be prepared.

Is it full time, part-time or can it be combined with another job? The amount of work carried out by the job should be assessed to see if it can be restructured. New systems often change the size of some jobs. Recruitment is a good time to review this.

What type of person do we need? The person needs to be described in terms of knowledge, experience, skills and attributes.

What do they have to do to be successful? Specifically define what must they have done in the past to show they can do the job.

What type of competencies do they need? Define the behaviours they must exhibit when they are doing the job. This is how they do the job.

Where can we best find such a person? Decide on what you are going to ask for in an advertisement as "must haves".

What is the best way of reaching them? Do we use consultants or an employment agency? Is external advertising the best way? Print media, the Internet?
Are these people already in the organization? Would existing employees know anyone?

How will we know if they have what we want? Define what you want to see in a résumé. This should show they have had the opportunity to acquire the "must haves".

How do we screen the applicants? Can we screen by reading résumés and over the telephone before face to face interviews?

How do we plan the interview? The key pieces of information required should be defined with the key questions written out.

How will we make the final selection? If this process is followed, the final decision making is easier. Only those that have demonstrated the "must haves" are on then short list. Some testing may be required for specific issues.

Reference checking is a must. Who are the right people to ask and what shall we ask them?

What conditions will the person be recruited on? If you have policies and systems in place for these this will also be a relatively easy decision.

How will we know we have made the right decision? Having key measures of success in place before the appointment will make reviewing the new employee an easy task during the probation period.

While some people are good at recruitment, it needs a process that is known by all recruiters to obtain consistent results in an organization. It is unlikely you would let an employee operate expensive equipment without training. Not having training for recruitment is expensive, time consuming and sends the wrong message to current and potential employees.

If you would like a sample "Success Profile", this can be downloaded free of charge from the website shown with the author's details below.
About the Author
Paul Phillips is a Director of Horizon Management Group; a specialist human resource management consulting firm. He has over 30 years experience in HR and, while based in Australia, has worked in a number of overseas locations. www.horizonmg.com
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