Recruitment Tools and Techniques

In his recent article, Chris Buckley covered ‘interview bias’ and gave some very helpful tips on how to avoid this pitfall.
Recruitment is consistently one of the biggest challenges that SME businesses face, be that a sole trader making their critical first hire or a larger business looking to grow. 
Here are some tools and techniques that can be deployed when recruiting - over and above interview - to increase the likelihood of making great recruitment decisions.
Some key points to start with:
Recruitment is not an exact science
The cost of making poor hires is considerable
It is better to run with a vacancy than make a poor hire
The benefits of planning, a structured approach, and practice are high
For any recruitment exercise to get off to a good start, make sure that a detailed job description is drawn up. Be really clear about the requirements of the role - the ‘must haves’ versus ‘nice to have’ and ensure all those involved in the recruitment exercise are aligned on these. If multiple CVs are to be evaluated, adopt a simple scoring system to rate key factors e.g. qualifications, level of experience etc. so that decisions on those to progress are made objectively.
Whilst interview will always be the ‘work horse’ of recruitment, try not to rely solely on this. If you can, deploy other selection techniques, which, whilst requiring greater investment in resources, WILL increase the probability of you making the best hire possible (or, put another way, reduce the likelihood of making a poor one!). Other techniques include: presentation, group exercise, report writing, job specific tests e.g. excel, psychometrics, and personality profiling. 
I am not suggesting that every role warrants use of all of these, but by adding even one additional exercise (my favourite is a presentation task) you will be able to observe far more of the candidate’s actual skills and competence than you would be able to ‘test’ at interview. 
Not everyone performs well at interview. So, giving the candidate(s) more opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities makes sense. Whilst relying on unstructured interviewing can lead to poor candidates getting through, often, excellent candidates can slip through the net too. Adopting a more sophisticated approach also presents your business in a positive light.  
Which brings me to my final point. For many roles, it’s a ‘buyer’s (i.e. candidates) market’. In this age of social media, it is vital that when recruiting you present your business well. Even candidates that you reject should walk away with a very positive impression - they will tell others!  How well you manage candidates’ expectations, run the selection process, provide feedback etc. is really important.  
So, in summary:
Recruitment is a two-way shop window - think carefully about this
Interviewing is a skill - invest in developing it
Be very clear about what you are looking for
Above all, don’t just rely on interviewing
Dr N S Howcroft Ltd t/a The Alternative Board (Bradford West)
Registered no: 6826174