Recruiting - checklist

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It's vitally important to get it right when taking on staff to make sure you hire the right person with the right skills to fill company needs. Read how to recruit successfully.

  • Identify any current gaps: areas where you are underperforming owing to inadequate personnel, areas where you lack key skills or where employees have left or are about to.
  • Use your business plan to anticipate changes in the number of employees needed or the skills they require (eg expansion or new technology).
  • Set up recruitment procedures and ensure those responsible understand legal issues such as discrimination and employment contracts.
  • Prepare a job description for any vacancy you have, including key tasks and responsibilities and who the individual will work with and report to.
  • Prepare a person specification with the skills, knowledge and attitude required - include 'soft' skills such as problem-solving or ability to work in teams. Identify what is essential, and what could be developed later and give each a weighting.
  • Review what the job is worth to you, and what pay competitors offer.  
  • Consider whether outsourcing the work would be more cost-effective.
  • Advertise the vacancy internally. Look for opportunities to train, develop and promote existing employees.
  • Establish where you will post your vacancy. Where will likely candidates be looking for vacancies like yours? Consider online recruitment platforms, agencies, print publications and other sources such as schools and colleges (for trainees).
  • Prepare an advertisement; explain who you are, what is attractive about the opportunity, what you are looking for, location, salary, how to apply and the closing date.
  • Decide whether you want to receive CVs or an application form. Application forms can be easier to read but may mean you overlook good candidates if they are badly designed. CVs allow applicants to sell themselves but may include irrelevant information.
  • Consider using an agency, the local Jobcentre or an online recruitment site; choose one with experience in your sector, provide a clear brief and negotiate a clear contract.
  • Be clear on what descriptions and questions are legally unacceptable in job advertisements and interviews and of your obligations under discrimination and data protection legislation.
  • Ignore personal details such as age, gender, race or marital status when sorting through applications in order to avoid discrimination or any unintentional bias.
  • Use the job description and person specification to shortlist and interview applicants; focus on evidence of how they meet your requirements.
  • Deal with applicants promptly and aim to reply to every applicant, not just those shortlisted, to thank them for their interest.
  • Offer the job to the best applicant; be prepared to reconsider what you are offering and looking for if none of the candidates is adequate.
  • Send polite rejection letters to other applicants.
  • Plan the new recruit's induction.
  • Periodically review how effective your recruitment is at delivering good candidates who perform well and stay with the company.

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