Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Hiring excellent staff, ethically

Recruitment can sometimes be seen as slightly shady, but it does not have to be. How do we recruit the best talent and do it ethically? A friend asked me this last week; as social enterprises/businesses or charities, we want our hiring to reflect our values. Here are my 10 thoughts:
  1. Talk to existing staff first: It is so easy to hire someone without asking or informing your existing staff but it will harm staff morale and possibly lead to relationship problems between existing staff and the new recruit;
  2. Decide the type of person you need: Make a list of what this job entails (duties, responsibilities, amount of authority it carries etc.) Decide what qualifications, core competencies and personal strengths you want the candidate to have;
  3. Plan your search of candidates: Assess whether there is someone in your company who may be right for the job first. If not, spreading the job byword of mouth can be brilliant, but be careful as this can mean that the job only gets spread through certain networks and not others. Also look at whether anyone suitable has previously applied to your company;
  4. Decide how to recruit: Are you going to use a recruitment agency - if so do they have a reputation for treating candidates well? Also have a look at industry websites, social media (such as Twitter and LinkedIn) and press as well as your local media;
  5. Write a great advert: Don't only include the typical summary of a people spec and job description but sell your company. Explain why your organisation would be a great place to work;
  6. Decide on a shortlist & reply to candidates: Involve your other key staff - if you have them - in this process. Being gracious to the applicants who have failed is vital; I have seen people be rude to those they consider "nobodies". Not only is it rude but also these "nobodies" have a knack of becoming important "somebodies";
  7. Keep your promises: If you say to candidates that you will contact them by XX/XX/XX, contact them by then, even if you have to apologise for a delay;
  8. Create an outstanding interview and assessment process: Think about what the job entails, and design interview questions - and if necessary aptitude tests - to assess the people against the necessary core competencies. Bring in other people to interview with you - their feedback will be invaluable; there is no need to play "good cop" "bad cop", the candidate will feel enough pressure. Treat them fairly and you will earn their respect. Get the right person to coordinate the interview and assessment process; if you are not an brilliant administrator, allow someone who is to run the logistics of the day - it will make the candidates and you much less stressed!
  9. Give balanced and detailed feedback to those who have just missed out if they want it: Offer the opportunity for the interview candidates who missed out on the job to receive feedback. In the feedback, praise them as well as giving them constructive reasons as to why they didn't get the job;
  10. Congratulate your future employee: Ring them personally and if they are employed at the time, help them leave their current job well.

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