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Hiring now

by editor

Finding the right staff for your team can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Employing the wrong person can cost a business dearly with loss of productivity, team engagement and even lost customers. It is critical therefore to ensure when you are recruiting for new staff you invest the time and effort into getting the right person for the job.

One employer once told me that he did not care too much for the glossy resume and number of qualifications a prospective employee has, he was more interested in the enthusiasm of the person. Attitude certainly does play a big part in selecting the right person for a job but having the right skill set is just as critical. To find the person with the perfect fit of skills, knowledge and attitude is no easy task. Many employers choose to throw caution to the wind and will employ walk-ins who show an interest in work. Whilst this can sometimes lead to engaging a valuable employee, often such a haphazard approach to recruitment ends in disaster. This is just one reason why it may be better to engage the services of a recruitment agency.

Recruitment agencies should not be confused with employment agencies, they are vastly different when it comes to the services provided. An employment service provider can provide employees on a temporary, contract and permanent basis to a potential employer. They have registered workers with a range of skills that can be deployed on short notice. An excellent option when you may be caught short on a tight deadline and require skilled workers in a hurry to meet contractual obligations.

Recruitment agencies can take away a lot of the pain associated with recruiting new staff. They have the range of experience and expertise to sift the seed from the chaff, which will free you up to focus on other aspects of your core business. Agencies do however come at a cost but if you were to conduct a time management study on the hours you may spend sorting through resumes, organising interviews and managing all the administration in setting up a new employee, the money invested in the agency will be money well spent.

The benefits of engaging the services of a recruitment agency are that they can:

• Design and refine your job description so you have a clear picture of exactly who you are looking for – so you will know them when you see them.
• Help you understand the job market for that role, so you have a realistic expectation of candidates and remuneration.
• Provide fully vetted and qualified candidates – not just people with the right qualifications, but people with the right attitude.
• Help you negotiate with your candidate of choice to ensure you are both happy with the final offer.
• Provide post placement support for both you and the person you hire to ensure your new employee hits the ground running.

Going it alone
The advantages of engaging a recruitment agency far outweigh the downside of the financial outlay. If you were to undertake the recruitment process independently the procedure would follow some variation on the following, although every employer may handle recruitment in their own way:
• Write a job description
• Advertise the job
• Receive applications from candidates
• CV sift
• Interview(s) and assessment(s)
• Make a job offer
• Monitor the new starter during their probation period

Many employers post the job description on their own website and that’s usually the first place prospective employees look, and advertising also through trade magazines, local notice boards, social media or internet job sites. The amount of detail in a job advert can vary widely, however each advert should always contain these key pieces of information:
• How to apply for the role (or how to find out more details)
• Any closing date for applications.

Analysis paralysis
When it comes to trawling through applications a great deal of time can be wasted if you do not cull systematically. Applicants who cannot follow the instructions of the job advertisement are technically time wasters and if you have a lot of applicants this is the first step to reducing the amount of time spent on recruitment. CV sifting will also sort the chaff from the seed, but don’t be fooled into a false sense of security though with a good-looking CV. There have been many employers who have hired based on the written word, only to find that the employee looks good on paper but can’t put things in practice on the tools.

Putting it to the test
Interviews and assessments are probably the most critical aspect of the recruitment process. It is at this stage that the shortlisted candidates will show their worth and whether they can ‘walk the talk’. If you are undertaking your own recruitment the interview questions should be structured to ensure that they relate to the position but also provide you with a deeper insight into the character of the potential employee. There are four broad categories of questions that will provide you with a good understanding of an applicant’s ability to meet the requirements of the position.

  1. Open questions –
    These ask the respondent to think and reflect. Theywill give you opinions and feelings. They hand control of the conversation to the respondent. E.g., If you were in our position, what sort of person would you look for to fill the role we have advertised?
  2. Organisational knowledge questions –
    This type of question is based on the applicant’s knowledge of what your business or organisation core business is. You are seeking to find out if they have a good understanding of your values, goals, and culture. For example, which aspect of work at our company are you most passionate about?
  3. Behavioural questions –
    Require candidates to share examples of specific situations they’ve been in where they had to use certain skills. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the answers “should provide verifiable, concrete evidence as to how a candidate has dealt with issues in the past.” For example, how have you handled a situation in the past where your client has changed the brief or shifted the goalposts?
  4. Technical questions –
    Are specific to the role you have advertised for, so that you can confirm the applicant has the requisite skills required for the role. For example, what soil traits must be considered before selecting plants for a landscape installation? The next step in the recruitment process is to have applicants undertake a practical assessment or trade test. This could be as simple as a work trial but in many cases, employers may request an applicant to demonstrate a particular skill or task associated with the job they have applied for. Practical assessments are a fantastic way to assess potential candidates for suitability during the recruitment process but they can be time consuming.

Preventing turnover
Once you have recruited suitable employees it is critical to retain them. Most business owners already know that employee turnover comes at a significant cost, but just how much does it cost?

One recruitment agency, Randstad, has undertaken research that explores the true cost of employee turnover and found that even some of the most conservative estimates show that losing an employee can cost your company 1.5 times that employee’s annual salary.

If that employee earns $50,000 per year, then you can expect to lose at least $75,000 when the employee decides to take a position with another company. The more money an employee earns, the more expensive losing him or her becomes. You should, therefore, focus on employee retention strategies that will help stop your talent from quitting. In return, you will save money on recruiting and training, maintain higher productivity, and avoid expensive errors.

So, recruitment is not just about getting the right person for the job, it’s also about keeping your newly acquired talent for the long term, at least three years. This requires a commitment from you the employer to ensure that you foster employee loyalty through creating a strong company culture, make your employees feel valued and provide employees with the opportunity for personal and professional growth, but that’s another story.

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