We first blogged about hiring advice back in 2015 and it is still among our most popular posts! As we enter a new decade, we thought it might be useful to offer more up to date recruitment advice for employers for 2020.
In 2019, the UK’s employment rate reached an all-time high– that’s great, right? Well, not necessarily. This peak in employment meant that searching for top talent has been tough.
So, how can employers ensure they get the right candidate for the job when the demand for tech skills is so high?
Truthfully, you’ll never really know how well a candidate will perform until a candidate is fully settled in. However, there are steps you can take to minimise the risk of a bad hire. Here are our top ten pieces of recruitment advice for employers who are looking to hire this new year:
Top 10 Pieces of Recruitment Advice for Employers This Year:
1 – Make Your Job Advert Crystal Clear to Attract the Right Candidates
Essentially, if you make a job advert too vague or too broad, your applicants will be broad and unspecialised. Take time to communicate exactly what your job role involves and make sure your requirements are clearly stated.
Certainly, using simple, everyday language will make sure you reach the right candidates with your job advert.
Furthermore, list the technologies you expect candidates to have experience in and the level of experience you expect. This will make sure you only receive applications from the most relevant candidates.
2 – Promote the Benefits of Working for Your Business
If your business is in a position to, it is worth reviewing your benefits package. In the current job market, competition is fierce. A good salary alone is not enough to attract top talent.
It’s important to remember that not all benefits are monetary. For example, one of the most attractive benefits to employees is flexible work hours. This can be implemented relatively easily, without too much disruption to your business. But to candidates, will make your offer much more attractive than saying the job comes with no benefits at all.
3 – Establish a Strong Employer Brand
Employer branding sounds like it could be expensive to implement, particularly for small businesses but it doesn’t have to be. Simply start by making your message consistent across your website and all your social media channels.
For example; You want to promote investment in the health and wellbeing of your staff but you only have a team of five. You can still post pictures of fruit bowls on the desk on Instagram. Or how about Tweeting about joining the Cycle to Work Scheme?
4 – Ask The Right Interview Questions
During an interview, it’s easy to have a nice conversation with an interviewee. If you get along, you come away with the conclusion that they are a great fit for your business. Unfortunately, having a great personality and being able to hold a conversation is no indicator of someone’s ability to do the job.
To avoid situations like this, you need to have a clearly defined interview process. This is often something new hiring managers find daunting but it’s actually quite straightforward.
Before you start the first round of interviews, identify the skills you need your new employee to have. Next, compile a list of questions that require candidates to give examples of how they have used these skills previously. Asking the same set of questions to every candidate ensures consistency. Also, it eliminates discrimination whilst weeding out the candidates who don’t have the experience your business needs. Furthermore, it enables you to compare answers and establish who the strongest candidate for the job is.
Often, employers find asking awkward questions a struggle. If that’s the case, you can always leave the first round of interviews up to a recruitment consultant. This way, they can ask all the awkward questions you may not feel comfortable with. Then your final round can just be used to identify a good culture fit. Which leads us nicely to our next point.
5 – Hire Candidates Who are A Good Culture Fit
Of course, skills are important but so is personality. This is particularly important when hiring for a small team where one bad apple can upset the entire cart. That’s why, as we pointed out previously, a clear set of questions you ask all candidates consistently is so important.
To give an example of how this might work in reality, consider why your last employee left. Or if it’s a new team, the most annoying person you have ever worked with. Maybe they had a bad habit that was hard to tolerate. The questions you ask don’t need to be as direct as ‘do you ever pick your nose at your desk?’ But could be more along the lines of; ‘If I was to ask your friends about you, what do you think they might say?’.
6 – Telephone Screen Candidates
Pre-screening candidates by phone is a valuable way to save time in wasted interviews. Once you have a candidate shortlist, conduct a pre-screening stage by telephone.
Be consistent in asking questions around key topics. For example, let’s say travel is an issue at your place of work. Be sure to ask every applicant how they will travel to work on a daily basis. This may sound simple but it will give you a much clearer picture of exactly who you should invite to interview.
Where you have criteria candidates are expected to meet as a minimum requirement, recruiters can save you bags of time. Most consultants will pre-screen candidates for you using a set of interview questions prepared by you. This avoids wasting your valuable time interviewing irrelevant candidates.
7 – Always Ask for References
It might sound obvious but it is not uncommon for employers to employ a candidate without first asking for references. Therefore we strongly suggest the following recruitment advice for employers:
References are valuable for a number of reasons. They give an employer an idea of what they are going to get when they hire an individual. A reference provides background into a candidate’s work ethic from someone with experience of working with them.
By not asking for references you miss out a crucial opportunity to gather valuable insight. Your referee will supply essential information about an individual’s work ethic. References can help you understand whether a potential employee is likely to perform well or give you a human resource nightmare.
8 – Consider Outsourcing your Hiring Process to Recruitment Specialists
Recruiting is a time-consuming and demanding task. Enlisting professional help to take care of your recruitment process will free up valuable time. Professional employment consultants are proficient in weeding out less suitable candidates whilst pinpointing the right ones.
In addition to the regular, well known, job boards, recruitment consultants often subscribe to lesser-known, niche job boards. Advertising on specialist job boards doesn’t reach as wide an audience but those viewing your vacancy will have more relevant skills.
9 – Be Open-Minded
Right now, there is a worldwide tech skills shortage so employers can’t afford to be too picky. Rather than using interview tactics that will screen unsuitable candidates out, try implementing tactics that will instead try screening them in. What we mean by this is that instead of embarking on a round of interviews with a list of things you don’t want in your next hire, go in with an open mind about the benefits diversity can bring to your business.
OK, so your ideal candidate might be a Computer Science graduate who’s achieved a 1st. But have you considered the benefits of hiring a self-taught developer without a degree but is keen to develop their skills? The latter might not have a piece of paper to prove their ability. However, their level of commitment to their own development could be extremely valuable to your business.
10 – Don’t Wait For The Perfect Candidate
In the past, hiring managers may have waited until they had 10 suitable CVs before shortlisting the best candidates for interview. Another familiar scenario is conducting a round of interviews and taking the weekend to consider your options. Considering the aforementioned tech skills shortage, our advice for hiring managers would be to act without delay to avoid losing them to your competitors.
New Year, New Outlook
Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to hiring the best calibre of candidate.
The individual recruitment advice we offer for employers will, of course, vary widely according to the needs of your business. Recommendations we make could be affected by factors such as the time of year, the sector the job role falls into and the economic climate at the time of recruiting.
For more specific advice, please don’t hesitate to give one of our recruitment consultants a call. Alternatively, you can send us a vacancy. Once we have the details, we will be able to offer you more specific advice based on the vacancy you are trying to fill.
In our next blog post, we put ourselves in the employee’s shoes and consider the best action to take if you are unhappy at work. The answer may not be as obvious as you think.
Is there a particular topic you would like to see covered in our blog? Please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below.