HR · 12 January 2016

The small business recruitment checklist: a review of the essential processes

small business recruitment checklist
SMEs are expected to recruit half a million new employees this year

In this series of articles, we have broken down the small business recruitment process into its essential steps and explored the critical success factors required to ensure that you identify precisely the role you have available and therefore the ideal profile of the candidate you need to recruit.

Following this advice should allow you to attract and shortlist good candidates, select the right person, and then engage positively with your new recruit and get them productive early on.

As with many things in life, the more you put in the more you will get out. There are many problems that can arise from getting it wrong. Problems with this process could mean you will miss out on hiring the best talent, that your new recruit will not perform to the best of his or her capability, or could lead to conflict in the team, in which case motivation will suffer.

This will have a negative impact on the customer experience and your bottom line, so we thought it would be useful in this final article of the series to leave you with this handy checklist summarising the key factors to help you make sure your next recruitment campaign is a success.

First, prepare to take on your first employee:

(1)   Ensure that your job advert and the process do not discriminate on any grounds.

(2)   Set a competitive salary and ensure that it complies with the National Minimum Wage and, from April 2016, the National Living Wage.

(3)   Set benefits that are in line with competitors and what candidates actually want.

Next, advertise to find suitable candidates:

(4)   Develop duties and responsibilities for the position (job description).

(5)   Produce a job advert that will entice, but keep it realistic – include the role, what you are looking for in the candidate, salary, benefits on offer, job location, brief information about the company and how to apply.

(6)   Choose the most appropriate media for your advert: job boards, papers, social media, your website, etc.

Then, create a shortlist of candidates to interview:

(7)   Sift through advert responses.

(8)   “Regret” candidates that do not match the essential criteria required for the role.

(9)   Run through the desirable criteria and grade the candidates. “Regret” those with the least good fit until you have the desired number of candidates to interview.

(10)  Communicate to candidates that you have regretted – remember your actions in the process represent your brand and the knock-on effect of a poor process can be significant. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

Next, interview to make sure you choose the right candidate:

(11)  Arrange interviews and get confirmations from interviewees.

(12)  Prepare standard interview questions for the role, including behavioural (about past performance) and situational (about future performance) topics.

(13)  Define the interview process, for example, telephone first then 1:1; group interview; just 1:1 interview, etc.

(14)  Conduct interviews asking each candidate the same questions.

The final step is to get your new employee up and running:

(15)  Make offer, send letter and send “regret” notifications.

(16)  Prepare the induction programme and communicate the new appointment to the business, and externally as appropriate. Order any necessary equipment, assign a “buddy”, etc.

(17)  Once the candidate starts, review the induction programme and probationary periods.

The checklist illustrates that recruitment is not just about the interviews; there are many other component parts to get right before and after the interviews. But a good interview will always play a key role in getting it right and helping you to make a considered, rational decision that is far removed from a decision based on a mere gut feeling.

The interview itself is all about probing to make sure that the candidate not only has the required experience and competencies, but also that he or she is the right fit for your business.

SMEs are expected to recruit half a million new employees this year. That’s a lot of people, and will require a lot of probing.

Throughout the process, look for a good work ethic, ensure the candidate is motivated, has a positive attitude, and will strive for excellence, delivering their best work consistently, and that he or she can take constructive feedback and learn from it.

Remember that no one gets small business recruitment right every time – but following the above will ensure you have done all that you can to achieve success.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Margaret Keane is the managing director of Outsourcing HR, an HR consultancy that helps businesses succeed by providing practical, cost-effective human resources management and recruitment services. In addition to being an experienced HR professional, Margaret has a successful track record in general management roles. As a result, Margaret is focused on ensuring that HR contributes to the bottom line.

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