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Top recruitment tips for employers

2015 is looking like a year of growth for many small businesses. A recent report suggests that 54% of SMEs in the UK are looking to recruit in the new year*. Read these top tips to give you the best chance of finding the right employees for your business.

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Write an accurate job specification

Lose the generic job specification and ensure that it is relevant to your business needs and specific to the role in question. Ensure the targets that need to be achieved by employing this new person are promoted through the specification.

Be realistic about what is essential and what is desirable

Emphasise the ‘musts' and be clear about the ‘wants'. You're unlikely to find a candidate that ticks every single box, so remember which skills are necessary from the start and which can be developed over time.

Identify an individual person specification for each role

What are the base skills you require; how is the applicant's written and verbal communication? Are they a team player; is it about the business or about them? They need to be both motivated and driven; do they really want your job or just any job?

Be sure what you're looking for

Do not change your mind about what you're looking for in a candidate during the interview process based on applicants' feedback. However, do take time to review your processes to ensure you do not make any rash decisions.

Consider outsourcing

Speak to a specialist recruitment organisation and build a strong relationship with them. Understand the current recruitment market and source advice from the human resource departments within businesses in your network.

Work to a standard interview process

To be fair and consistent, you should use the same interview process for every applicant. This might include telephone screen, psychometric test, first interview, second interview, include a related test for that role i.e. presentation for sales people. Telephone screens show if applicants are professional, clear and precise. An informal first interview should start the process and filter the applicants down.

A second interview should be more formal with an increased number of interviewers to see how the applicant demonstrates themselves under pressure.

Use an application form

Ask all applicants to complete a standard application form and provide copies of all qualifications and ID prior to arranging any interviews. This is an opportunity to see if the person is qualified to the standards required to fulfil the role successfully. You also need to check they have the right to work in the UK, find out more about preventing illegal working.

Forum members can download a free recruitment template bundle, including sample job application, job specification and interview process.

Use competency based interviews

During each interview, ask plenty of competency based questions. What has the applicant achieved in their current role? What have been the career highlights? Establish their weaknesses and what they have done to overcome the weaknesses.

Get references

Before appointment, take a minimum of two written references. One must be the last and most recent employer. Ask for character references if the role involves a lot of trust. Try to gain a full understanding of that person; will they fit in with the team and can they fulfil the role in the long term? Forum members can download reference letter templates here.

To find out how the Forum can help you with recruitment and managing your employees, with an expert helpline, practical templates and insurance, call us on 0845 130 1722.

* British Chamber of Commerce, 2014

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