This article will help you recruit the right person, with less effort. You got a number of people applying for your role and you want, to choose the best one, with the least effort. Many small firms quickly scan the applicant’s CVs, select the better ones and “look forward to” a day of interviewing; that’s not the best way to save time on recruitment.

Recruitment is about filter out the dregs, quickly!

This is part of a series on recruitment, tackling screening or filtering out poorer applicants.

Before even thinking about recruitment ads

It goes without saying that you have thought about the role carefully, the needs of your firm (both now and in the near future) and you are not simply looking for a replacement for the person that just left. There sits one of the biggest opportunities of somebody leaving, to fine tune the skillset (and culture) of your firm.

Learn how to attract, recruit and retain the RIGHT staff. FREE webinar on 23rd May. Click for more details

Let’s hear it for application forms

It is really easy to tell people to send in a CV, but it’s not normally the best approach. It’s easy for a candidate to complete the CV in their favour and you don’t end up with the information you want, at the very least don’t end up with comparable information between candidates.

What do you want answered, and how do you want it answered? Put it on an application form, whether they’re trivial little points, or things that will help you later; things like:

  • Describe a time when…. (e.g. some of the competency based interview questions). The nice thing about this is that you’re able to start testing for the things you want, before even speaking to them (and it gets rid of time wasters).
  • Why are you uniquely suited to this role? It makes them personalise the application to your role, rather than just blanket sending out unsuitable CVs.
  • Can you work overtime? Comes in useful during January!

There are plenty of other good questions you could ask on the application form, to help improve the recruitment process from your perspective, but don’t overdo it!

Screening that pile of application forms

Before you start chucking out the ones that look rubbish, set some clear criteria. Write them down and be clear on them. It could save you some discrimination issues; but more importantly, it makes you think about what you want. What do you:

  • need – if these things are missing, there is no point in speaking to them.
  • want – these skills or experiences would be great, but you would recruit without them
  • not want – things that would rule out the application, before speaking to them. This list, of course, doesn’t discriminate (age, ethnicity, gender etc.).

How about discussing that list with your team? After all they’re the ones who have to work with your new recruit. What would they add, or remove?

Background checks

The wonderful thing about the internet is how you can review people before you talk to them. Does their LinkedIn profile reflect what they’re telling you (it’s harder to lie online, in public)? Is their Facebook profile (the public parts of it) in line with what you think? Do these profiles help you with understanding their personality?  Can your team, or specific members, help here?

An interesting tool, if they’ve got a complete LinkedIn profile, might be “Crystalknows“. This LinkedIn app it reviews their LinkedIn profile and gives some pointers about their communications preferences. I wouldn’t recruit, or not, on the basis of its’ results, but it could help with the interviewing.

Your employees are involved in recruitment

I’m not suggesting handing everything over to your team, but you could involve them in some of the screening. It will save you some time, but more importantly, they have a stake in the prize! Thin about it, it’s your team who will complete the recruitment process by doing the induction and working with your new recruit. If your team are involved in the selection (in some way), they are more likely to make it work.

Know your culture

Before you even start to think about interviews, what is the culture in your firm? What is the mix of personalities like? One firm recently brought a very traditional pair of junior accountants into a very non-traditional firm. It was hard, but really helped the firm after that. Don’t just recruit on the basis of fits easily in! A firm full of “me too people” doesn’t help deal with your weaknesses, however much fun it may be.

What else do you do, before speaking to a single applicant?

Other articles in this series include

Learn how to attract, recruit and retain the RIGHT staff. FREE webinar on 23rd May. Click for more details

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access

Photo used under creative commons licence. For more information, click here.