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Plan Your Recruiting to Ensure Successful Candidate Selection

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Do you select new employees based largely on an attractive resume and the candidate’s performance at the resultant interview? If so, you are missing the opportunity to use additional recruiting and screening methods that will ensure a superior hire.

A good looking resume is often professionally prepared, or, at least professionally reviewed. A positive interview leaves all participants excited about the potential new employee. But, do these steps ensure a successful hire? An employee whose performance will exceed your expectations? Not likely.

In The Most Common Hiring Mistakes - and How to Prevent Them, Peter Gilbert states, "In a University of Michigan study titled 'The Validity and Utility of Alternative Predictors of Job Performance,' John and Rhonda Hunter analyzed how well job interviews accurately predict success on the job. The surprising finding: The typical interview increases your chances of choosing the best candidate by less than 2 percent. In other words, flipping a coin to choose between two candidates would be only 2 percent less reliable than basing your decision on an interview."

This number is not encouraging when you are attempting to recruit and hire a superior work force.

So, what will bring you superior hires? You need to start your recruiting process with a planning meeting. At this recruiting planning meeting, you need to follow a specific agenda and make a plan to recruit your new employee of choice. The steps agreed upon in this meeting will ensure that more than a resume and an interview are considered when you evaluate the likelihood of each candidate's success in your open job.

You can conduct this planning via email, but a face-to-face meeting may yield better results. You will also find that you need to spend significantly less time when you are hiring new people for the same job for which you have already created a recruiting plan.

Recruiting Planning Meeting Checklist

  • Determine the need for a new hire, develop a job specification from a job analysis and a job description. Schedule the recruiting planning meeting with the appropriate attendees, minimally, the Human Resources recruiter and the hiring manager. Other attendees can include successful coworkers; an indirect, but interested, manager; and internal customers of the position.

  • Using the job specification, which may also be revised during this meeting, and your experience of other employees who have worked successfully in a similar position, rank the most important qualities, experiences, education, and characteristics that your successful candidate will possess. This ranking allows your HR recruiter to use these characteristics to write the classified ad, post the job online, and screen the arriving resumes. (The HR recruiter will use the complete job specification, but the prioritization is helpful.)

  • Now that you have the important requirements prioritized, determine where to advertise the position to develop the most exhaustive candidate pool, including asking for internal referrals.

  • Determine who will interview the potential employees and the qualities of the candidates they will need to evaluate. For example, one interviewer needs to consider technical skills, another, cultural fit, a third, customer orientation. Assignments depend on the qualities and characteristics you seek in the new employee. Plan the interview and follow-up process.

  • Decide upon the candidate screening questions for the HR recruiter and/or the hiring manager whomever will perform the telephone screens.

  • Assign interview topics and questions to the employees who will conduct the interviews. These questions should be behaviorally-based. You can also write scenarios, or brief role plays, and ask the candidates to tell you how they would solve a particular problem, resolve a common work situation, or improve a work process. Ideally, each interviewer will assess a different area of the potential employee’s qualifications: cultural fit, technical capabilities, experience, ability to communicate, interpersonal effectiveness, and so forth.

  • Decide if testing will assist you to select the best candidate for the job. As an example, you may want to give a writing test to a customer service candidate who will communicate with customers chiefly through email. You can ask a technical writer to produce a writing sample for you. You might ask a developer to program a simple task. (You need to make sure that every candidate for the position receives the same test at the same point in the selection process; generally test only your finalists.)

  • Identify the appropriate questions for the candidate post-interview assessment by each interviewer. In addition to several generic questions, these should comprise a checklist that closely mirrors the characteristics you have determined are most important in the person you hire.

This planning meeting and the recruiting activities that result from it will improve your employee selection process. An improved recruiting and selection process ensures that your organization is selecting candidates who will succeed and star as members of your superior work force.

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