The Ultimate Hiring Guide

A bad hire could cost a company over £100,000, and the financial impact isn’t the only issue. Additional potential fallout can include a negative impact on staff morale and productivity too. That’s why making the right hire the first time around is so fundamentally important for any organisation. This guide will take you through all the key steps of setting up and executing a successful hiring strategy. If you’re new to recruitment, you can use it as a starting point for developing your own hiring process going forward. If not, it can be a handy refresher, and could perhaps offer some new insights or approaches to incorporate into your existing recruitment toolbox. If you’re looking to get hiring asap, also make sure to read more about how JobLookup can help recruiters and employers find the ideal candidate. 

A magnifying glass searching for the ideal candidate.

 

1. Deep Dive The Job Spec


Whether you’re coming up with the actual job specs yourself, or having them delivered from a client, taking the time to really dig into what a role is about is a fundamental first step. The information about the role and expectations from the job spec will help you start putting together the bigger picture when it comes to what your ideal applicant looks like, and what skills they’ll need.

you’ll have a clearer understanding of where this role fits into the wider team and organisation as a whole, and what essential qualities might be needed from a successful candidate. 

This may require a little research, or speaking to colleagues or the client in-depth, but it’s groundwork that will pay dividends later. 

It’s also important to identify whether the role is best suited to temporary, permanent, or contract staff. Align these values as early as possible – having a hotshot contractor might be an excellent short term solution to get an isolated project up and running, for example. On the flip side, they won’t be the best option if you want to find someone who can be trained, and invested in the company long term.

 

2. Conceptualise The Candidate


Now you have a clearer picture of what kind of skills, experience, and qualifications are likely to be essential for the role, you can start to buildup a concept of the ideal candidate. Having a read-through of the JobLookup guide on how to find the perfect candidate can also help identify the general qualities that are likely to be beneficial for almost any role.   

 

Once you’ve got both general and more specialised skills, qualities and experience locked down, give some serious consideration to soft skills and personality types as well. Is the role you’re hiring for one that would suit an extroverted personality type, or should you instead consider hiring an Introvert, for example? 

Considering how and why you should hire neurodiverse candidates for a role can also be very valuable – not just in terms of inclusivity and the promotion of diversity, but because doing so ends up promoting a much better candidate experience for everyone, regardless of whether they’re neurodiverse or neurotypical. 

A recruiter considering some potential applicants for a role.

3. Refine Candidate Experience


There’s a very strong argument to suggest that you should be thinking about candidate experience before you even start looking at a job spec. That’s true (as we explain in our article about why candidate experience is essential), but it’s also important to consider how you can tailor and refine the candidate experience for each role. 

While sticking to these basic five steps to a standout candidate experience makes for a solid start to any successful candidate experience, don’t be afraid to constantly tweak and refine the process to make it as individualised as you can. This will really help enhance your whole recruitment process from a candidate perspective. 

This is important because whatever the outcome for a candidate, they will walk away with a lasting impression of your company or agency. A positive experience is not only a powerful way to promote your brand, but it also keeps the doors open for applicants that might be great for another role in the future. Why burn bridges when you can build them?

 

4. Write The Job Description


Now the foundations for your hiring process have been carefully laid out, it’s time to tackle one of the most controversial aspects of hiring and recruiting – the job advert. Bad quality jobs ads are one of those things everyone in the industry is aware of, and yet we still see them all over the internet. 

There are reasons for this of course – writing a good job description isn’t easy – especially given that copywriting isn’t necessarily a skill prioritised by recruiters and HR. Luckily, most of the common problems with job ads are easy to resolve – just following our guide on how to engage potential candidates effectively through your job ad will get you off to a solid start. 

One thing to keep in mind is that while using some role or industry-specific slang might be unavoidable, it’s better to keep any potentially alienating phrases or terminology to a minimum. Almost 70% of UK jobseekers want clearer job adverts, (as discussed in our guide on why you should jettison job post jargon from your ads). 

This means that in the end, using too much slang and jargon may have the opposite of it’s intended effect – attracting the right applicant. 

 

5. Engage Your Networks


Now your excellent (and jargon-free) job ad is ready to read, it’s time to consider how and where to push it out there. Job boards and job aggregators are generally a good first port of call, given that around 70% of UK jobseekers use them when job hunting. 

Starting off by using your ATS to post to a mixture of generalist boards like JobLookup (check out our bitesize guide to ATS integration with JobLookup for more info), and more specialist boards, makes for a good starting point. 

As mentioned in our guide on three ways to optimise your online job posting, make sure to take the time to fill in your company profile on any job boards you use – it’s a great way to maximise value.   

Social media is also a crucial part of any recruitment strategy. The simple fact is that today, social platforms are second only to job boards when it comes to popularity for jobseekers. Some research suggests that around 80% of applicants use socials while job hunting. 

Add in the fact that according to additional research, over 70% of recruiters said that using socials was effective at decreasing time to fill non-management roles, then it’s easy to see why getting your job content on social platforms is essential. 

That said, not all platforms are equal. LinkedIn for example, is arguably the best overall option for job posting, but that’s not to say that other platforms can’t be useful too. 

Our guide on using socials as part of your recruitment strategy goes into more depth on how to get the best value and reach across all platforms, so make sure to give it a read to consider all your options fully. 

 

6. Review Applicants


Once the CVs start flooding in, even with the help of screening systems, individually assessing each CV is perhaps the hardest part of the recruitment process. 

That said, knowing what to look for greatly increases your efficiency. It’s one of the reasons doing the groundwork on the job spec is so important, because you’ll already have a good idea of what qualities are essential when it comes to going through CVs with a finer eye. It’s important to note here that while there will be an obvious focus on education, qualifications and experience for the most part (read through our four key factors for spotting true talent when assessing these areas too), don’t overlook soft skills.

Things like empathy, communication skills, emotional intelligence, and willingness to learn can be extremely valuable attributes. They are generally excellent indicators of how a candidate will develop, contribute, and shape company culture in the long term, and in some cases these qualities are arguably more important than experience.

However, applicants are much more tech-savvy these days. Some of them, unfortunately, try and game the system as a result (This is one of the reasons in fact, that despite the advances in AI and machine learning in recruitment, there are other good reasons why AI won’t be replacing recruiters any time soon).

The best way to combat this by keeping your eyes peeled out for clear red flags. If a CV is excessively long, or very short for example, then they could be indications of underlying problems – bad organisational skills, or an inability to communicate well in the case of an overly long CV, and lack of experience, or inability to showcase talents, in the case of a short one. 

Checking our guide on five CV warning signs to watch out for will give you some insight into what else you should keep your eyes peeled for. 

Once you’ve whittled down strongest contenders for the role, it’s always worth taking one final look, at the applicants’ CVs, to be as sure as possible you’re spending your valuable interviewing time wisely. 

Two interviewers and a candidate in a job interview.

 

7. Interviews, Tests and Assessments


From a candidate’s perspective, interviews are without doubt the most stressful part of the recruitment process. Psychology and science is increasingly showing us, however, that stress-inducing interviews where candidates are grilled are completely unproductive for both the applicant and the employer. 

When considering how to interview your candidates, keep the overall candidate experience in mind. Are you interviewing anyone that has any special needs, for example? If the role is one that requires specific skills, is it worth including a practical test of these skills at some point before, or during, interview?

Rather than simply follow a standard template for interviewing, adding nuance based around the types of candidates you are going to be meeting, the demands of the roles itself, and the company culture, are all ways to make sure you conduct the most effective job interview you can

Testing is also a great way of bringing out certain skills or qualities. It’s easy to overlook a superb candidate that might not be able to talk themselves up. Giving them a test to prove what they can do is an excellent alternative. 

Gamified psychometric testing, and other tasks, can also be completed outside or before the interview if preferred. This can not only help to prevent overloading a candidate on the day of the interview, it also offers you as a recruiter some additional insight into your applicants before you meet them face to face.  

 

8. Follow Up


The right candidate has been found and an offer made – but the role of the recruiter isn’t over yet. Following up with both the successful applicant and unsuccessful candidates is something you should not overlook.

As with everything else during the recruitment process, following up ties in with the overall candidate experience, and can give you some valuable insights. Asking how successful candidates found the experience can help you find out what was good (and perhaps not so good) about their overall experience. 

Ghosting candidates if they’re not successful at any stage of the process, on the other hand, is damaging for a few reasons.

Firstly, it leaves them with a bad impression of you as a recruiter or company. Secondly, it makes them much less likely to consider applying for a role with you again. 

By sending a short follow up email thanking the candidate for their time, and encouraging them to follow your company or reach out if they are looking for additional opportunities, you gain two things:

  1. A positive experience that translates into free word of mouth marketing
  2. A candidate on your books that might be perfect for another role, thus making your job easier in the future.

 

9. Learn Lessons, Rinse and Repeat


Now is the time to reflect on your overall recruitment process, and any feedback you received from the clients, managers, and candidates. What worked? what didn’t? 

The trick to optimising your hiring process comes down to being able to build solid, but flexible, foundations. There’s almost always something to learn. By ironing out problem areas while reinforcing the successes of your strategy, you’ll end up with a streamlined and adaptable framework that can quickly fit with any new hiring challenges or client requirements.  

If you’re looking to put a new hiring plan into action, then make sure to see what we can do at JobLookup to help you find those crucial candidates. You can also check through the JobLookup employer FAQ if you’ve got any questions or queries. 

We hope you found this guide helpful, and if you’ve got some excellent insights you think we missed, let us know

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