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Filling vacancies with the correct people takes time, especially if you want to get it right the first time around. The first step in any recruitment process is to clearly define the job requirements and person specification. This will outline who the "right" person is in terms of experience, qualifications, skills and qualities.

Other recruitment options available are unpaid positions, such as voluntary roles or work experience. Review your job specifications and you might find a paid position is inefficient. Younger members still in education will find voluntary or work experience roles extremely beneficial. However, remember that their time might be restricted by their educational timetables. 

You can undertake the recruitment yourself or you can choose to pay a commercial recruitment agency to do it for you. Alternatively, you could pay an Employment Agency to provide you with someone for a period of time without having to employ them directly through your own business.

Employing for the first time

Before you dive head-first into recruiting new team members to your business, take a step back and consider which solution will best meet your needs. It’s better to take the time to reflect on what recruitment option is best for your company before committing the time and resources to hire someone new.   

Another topic to consider is your legal obligations towards your employees.

Your legal obligations as an employer include things such as:

  • Registering with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) 
  • Operating a PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system to deduct tax and National Insurance from your employees’ wages and pay employers National Insurance 
  • Providing your employee with a Written Statement of Employment (an employment contract)
  • Paying your employee correctly: No less than the National Minimum Wage and including the correct information on payslips
  • Understanding sickness, maternity and paternity pay, Working Time Regulations and annual leave entitlement
  • Health and Safety legislation

How to begin

It can be extremely easy to ignore the recruitment process and go right ahead and bring someone on board "on a handshake" because you were focused on just a single candidate. This might result in problems down the line that could have been identified sooner via the recruitment process.

This recruitment challenge doesn’t have to fall on just the manager's shoulders. The people with the best idea of who will do well in the vacant role will be the existing team. They may have a different opinion on what will work, or why recent recruits haven’t worked out.

Another important aspect to think about before recruiting a new staff member is to consider how the vacancy came about. If the vacancy is due to someone leaving their position, it’s vital to understand why. Sometimes people might just need a change of pace and move jobs. However, if they moved due to how the company operates in any way, shape or form, then you need to fix those problems before recruiting. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a similar position later down the line.

Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are an opportunity for you to understand why an employee has decided to leave their position. Make sure to do the exit interview at the point the employee resigns, because sometimes you can address the reasons why and they then may decide to stay – avoiding the time and cost-intensive recruitment process. 

Exit interviews need to be done discreetly and professionally. There cannot be any conflict of interest with this process, so it might be better to have an impractical third-party member conduct the interview with the member of staff.

Job Descriptions 

Whenever a person exits your business, or you decide to appoint a new person to the position, it’s important to review the requirements of the business and define the role as best you can. If you don’t take the time to do this, then you could be in a similar position in the future with the new employee!

Although some jobs are quite broad and the responsibilities can be complex, mapping out what is essential to success in the role in a simple document is critical to do at the very beginning. This will inform the entire recruitment process.

First of all, start with the job title – this will be important to both the job holder and the existing team because title denotes seniority. Next, explore the purpose of the role. This is a brief statement which should answer the question “What do you do?” Key accountabilities should be a list of things the employee has to do in order to fulfil the responsibilities of the role.

Next ask yourself, which skills and abilities are essential to success in the role? In a difficult job market, you need to be prepared to invest in training and spending a bit of time developing the new recruits. However, look for core qualities which can be built upon rather than aiming to "train in" abilities which do not exist. Competencies are a good way of defining what is important about HOW someone operates as well as WHAT they achieve. 

Promoting your vacancy

There are a variety of ways to promote your vacancy. For example, there are numerous online advertising sites dedicated to job vacancies, most of which are extremely popular! If you find yourself overwhelmed with applications, be strict on removing those who don’t meet the following:

  • Your essential and desirable criteria
  • Those who live local to your work location
  • Have any additional experience or skills which may be beneficial as the company grows
  • Provide cover in times of sickness or holidays

Selecting the best candidate

After spending a lot of time on the recruitment process, it would be a shame to fall at the last hurdle and end up selecting a candidate that isn’t the best for the job. Prior to meeting your candidates, there are two tasks you can complete to help narrow down your choices:

  • Telephone interviews - These are especially helpful if your vacancy relies on good communication. You can assess their ability to listen and respond to questions accurately
  • Practical tests - Before the main interview, you can prepare a variety of aptitude, ability, key skill and pre-prepared scenarios for the candidate to complete as part of the interview. These will give you a front-row seat to how the candidate deals with a variety of challenges, often requiring them to use their intuition to solve problems quickly and effectively

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