Golden rule number one at this stage of the process is make sure you are ready, willing and able to deal with the response you get.
Essentially without “over egging” thing you are now the window into your company and the way you deal with applications will reflect on your company’s brand.
First things first - be respectful enough to respond to each and every candidate.
They have after all taken the time to apply for your job. Even if the response to your job is high, I believe every applicant merits a response, it is simple, common courtesy and you will do your brand and yourself no favours if you don’t get back to candidates. (Think of all the chasing calls you will get, people grunting in the market how you don’t respond. Finally remember some of the applicants may be your best and most loyal customers!!).
To be clear this response doesn’t have to be anything complex. For example have ready template letters and auto responders ready on emails etc. Remember even if they are not right for your business today, you may want them to apply again tomorrow – so tread carefully!
Obviously there are many merits in a recruitment marketplace or agency based solution that could be discussed here – but I want to focus on you and your activity within your business.
Now when you begin screening the candidate response the first key thing to do is make sure that this time is red penned and all parties are available to feedback as appropriate. There is little or no point in “teeing up” candidates for an interview by a line manager if they are not included in the selection process.
Moving on it is not that difficult to match a CV against your job spec, you know what skills you are looking for and if they are reflected in CV then great! This said remember the CV is not the person you will interview it is a document! So don’t rely on the CV – 90% of the people who get the job never look perfect on paper.
So the message is decide on what is your core requirement and go from there. Think too about applicants from “parallel industries”, they may not have worked in your vertical, but how transferable are their skills, an outsider with a different approach/way of doing things might be just the thing your business needs.
Now unfortunately it’s not all as straightforward as it sounds. The important thing to remember when screening applicants is that they WANT the job – and this may mean that they embellish their achievements and tweak their CV to look just so.
As such be ready to pick up the phone and check details with a candidate. A common smoke screen people put up is their salary – so make them aware that if they are called to interview you might want to see some recent payslips/commission statements.
Make them aware before they enter the interview process you will (where appropriate) be doing some or all of the following:
1) Confirming qualifications
2) Taking at least two employer reference – follow these up properly!
3) Conducting the appropriate Legal checks and Right to Work checks
4) In a client facing role asking to speak to at least two of their clients
Additionally it is worth using the web to check out a candidate. I without fail, when I have an initial sweep of candidates who I like to the look of on paper, take the time to put their name in a search engine and see what comes back! I stress here do not put too much emphasis on this – but rest assured it will help stop you making the odd howler here and there!
Now when you have selected your shortlist to invite to interview make sure that you are ready for them to come in.
1) Red pen “interview time” in all the relevant parties diaries
2) Red pen “feedback time” where you get everyone’s thoughts – my view strike while the iron is hot within 2 hours of the interview
3) Make sure you have the right environment available for the interview to take place
4) Ensure without fail the candidate knows what you are expecting from them on the day, if you want them to bring examples of work along etc let them know – don’t just assume! If it is a four part interview with tests – let them know at the outset!
Finally, do not invite the world and his wife for interview – time is one of most valuable currencies spend it wisely!
This is the third in a series of “common sense” recruitment tips. Next time we’ll be looking at the interview process itself.
Did you miss the first two articles in this series? The first article outlined how to make time to properly define the job role, then in the second article I shared some experience on where to post your vacancy. Please have a look if you missed them when they came out.
Chris Smith is the founder of yourpeoplemarket.com a game changing, free to use, fixed fee recruitment marketplace – where you can engage with agencies at a fee you set or less and only ever pay on success.
Before this Chris was Joint Founder of ecrmpeople, which over a seven year period he took from being a start-up to a £12m company.