The Recruitment Process: 5 Considerations
The recruitment process is hard to get right because there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits all solution. Different roles and companies have different needs, and so naturally their recruitment processes vary. However, there are general factors to consider, which we’ve narrowed down to 5. These are Appropriateness, Variety, Difficulty, Cost and Cycle Time.
These factors can be applied when thinking about any step in the recruitment process, whether requesting a CV, psychometric testing, or final interviews. Remember that there’s a trade-off between many of these considerations; a good recruitment policy will balance each of them appropriately.
So, without further ado, here’s 5 things to consider.
Appropriateness. Does the document or exercise demonstrate useful qualities for this role?
Take a moment and reflect on the skills needed for the position. Are you looking for an independent thinker, excellent communication skills, or someone with specific expertise?
Build a detailed profile of the ideal candidate, then use this to develop your criteria for success. For example, a difficult numeracy test probably shouldn’t be part of the application process for a cleaning position, where qualities other than maths skills are more important.
Variety. Has what we’re measuring already been demonstrated satisfactorily?
The right staff will need many qualities to be successful. Therefore, it’s important that our tests cover a wide base. There shouldn’t be two tests focused on writing for example, unless the work itself is heavily involved in this area. Think about ways to shake things up and challenge applicants broadly.
Difficulty. Is this test particularly difficult to pass or time consuming to complete?
The number of candidates rejected at each stage should roughly correspond to the appropriateness of the test.
As an example, suppose you’re recruiting for an accountancy position. Your manager, who unfortunately for you happens to be both a salsa dancer and somewhat mad, has decided that your recruitment process should have two stages.
The first is an excel task performed under examination conditions, and the second is an expressive dance routine.
If you had the power to decide the pass marks for each exercise, which would you make the more difficult?
Intuitively, it must be the excel task, because it’s far better to have accountants with great excel skills and poor footwork, than disillusioned dancers, no doubt confused existentially and lacking necessary experience.
So in general, try to consider which tests are the best indicators of future performance, then make these the most challenging. In practice, this will normally be your final interview, with a pass rate of perhaps 10%.
Cost. Is the exercise too costly to include?
Because profit margins are usually more slight, and because economies of scale play an important role in recruitment, this consideration is especially relevant to small businesses.
Assessment days and formal internships are particularly expensive, and may need to be adapted or disregarded to reduce cost.
For the same reason, face-to-face interviews are usually only reserved for the best candidates. Low cost stages include telephone interviews, psychometric tests, and CV parsing.
Cycle Time. How long does the exercise take to complete?
This factor relates closely to cost. In general, stages that take less time save companies money for a few reasons.
Firstly, exercises that take longer to process use up more staff hours, interviews and assessments days being good examples. The time it takes to organise and administer these events is considerable, leading to an increased wage burden. A 3-month recruitment process may also mean 3 months spent without a key member of staff, and revenue will be lost because of this.
Finally, evidence suggests that a drawn out process makes candidates less likely to accept job offers. Both because circumstances change more over time, and because applicants can be more easily poached.
Therefore, it’s important to know how long a stage in your recruitment process will take before deciding to include it.