Streamlining your recruitment process

Streamlining your recruitment process

Recruitment can be a huge piece of work, from designing the role, advertising, shortlisting, interviewing to finally making the decision and getting your new hire on board. It’s a daunting task to start, especially when you’ve other work that needs doing too!

But don’t worry – we’ve put together a guide on how you can streamline your recruitment process and save yourself a good chunk of time.

  1. First things first: define the role

You might be recruiting because a member of staff is moving on so you need someone to come in and take the reins or it might be that your business is growing and you need an extra pair of hands to share the workload. In these situations it’s quite easy to work out what that role needs to be.

But sometimes, particularly in smaller organisations, it might be that you’re designing a brand new role – that’s a little trickier to define. It can be tempting in these situations to leave the job description open and see what applications come in – you never know, you might get someone incredible who can come straight in and tell you exactly what you need!

Or what’s far more likely is that you get a real mixed bag of applications from people who aren’t 100% sure what they’ve applied for, you struggle to know what to ask at interview and you end up either making a hire you’re not completely happy with or you’re right back to square one, re-advertising the role.

In order to make the recruitment process as painless as possible then, it’s important to put real time and thought into what your business needs. Do your research – look at what staff structures organisations similar to yours have, think about conducting a skills audit on your existing team, identify the specific gaps that need filling and goals that need reaching and, if time is of the essence and you need someone in ASAP, consider bringing in a consultant or a freelancer to make a start and help you design the role.

It’s a planning heavy process but, in the long run, you’ll save yourself time and you’re much more likely to get someone through the door who can hit the ground running and help your business thrive!

  1. Prioritise the skills and qualities you need

You want the best for your organisation. You want to hire someone with a strong range of relevant skills and the experience to back it up – and that’s not an unreasonable ask.

But it’s important to be realistic and think about what compromises you’d be prepared to make. That doesn’t mean settle for a candidate who isn’t at the level your business needs but it does mean spending some time thinking about which skills and experiences are absolute must-haves, which would be nice to have and which, in reality, aren’t all that necessary.

Absolutely still look for the candidate who ticks all of the boxes but set your expectations and save yourself some time by making it easier to shortlist, easier to interview and, ultimately, easier to pick the best person for the job from the people who’ve applied.

  1. Create a communications strategy for every vacancy

We’ve all been there. You put your job ad out into the world, excited and optimistic when stacks of applications land on your desk, but ultimately wind up disappointed and frustrated when only a small handful of them have any relevant skills and experience. Reviewing applications is a time-heavy part of the recruitment process so wouldn’t it be better to receive fewer but higher quality applications? That’s not just a pipedream.

For every role you recruit for, it’s worth thinking strategically about where and how you advertise it – it’s not always appropriate to get it out as far and wide as possible. Are there any specialist job boards that only recruit for the type of role you’re advertising or the sector you work in? Can you sponsor your ads to really target people with the skills and experience that you need?

Think about the job ad itself, too. Be as unambiguous as you can be, making sure that the job description and person specification are clear so that candidates know whether or not it’s the right job for them to apply for. It can be very challenging to shortlist if you’ve got multiple interpretations of the same person spec!

  1. Plan your process and pre-plan your candidate comms

Make yourself a recruitment checklist with timeframes and include what you need to tell candidates and when. Not only will this make the process easier to follow, leave less opportunity for mistakes and help you manage time and responsibilities within your recruitment team, but it’ll also help minimise any back and forth between you and your candidates.

You might also want to consider if you can automate anything. If you use a CRM or an applicant tracking system, you can automate some of your communications with candidates and save yourself a bit of time there too. It’s best practice and good manners to let candidates know if they’ve been unsuccessful anyway but it’ll also save you time in responding to direct enquiries from hopefuls!

  1. Think about virtual interviews

If you’ve had a lot of strong applications, you might want to consider conducting some quick phone or video interviews before you spend large amounts of time on any face-to-face interviews.

Phone or video interviews don’t have to be long – they can even be as short as 15 minutes – but they can give you a real opportunity to ask a few vital questions and find out which candidates do or do not meet the absolutely essential criteria on your person spec. This means you can save the longer interviews for the candidates you know are more suitable.

You might also think about ditching face-to-face interviews entirely, depending on the role you’re recruiting for. Interviews via video-conferencing have proven to be a quick and effective way of meeting and speaking to applicants and, using digital scheduling tools like Doodle polls, you can even save yourself time in booking the interviews in. What’s more, virtual interviews remove the reliance on the entire interview panel being in the same venue at the same time – if your business operates across different sites, you could book in interviews over the course of a few days and offer flexibility to your candidates, removing some of your scheduling challenges.

  1. Be time efficient with appropriate questions

An interview is a relatively short space of time to get to know a candidate so you might, on first draft, end up with reems of questions you want to ask your interviewees! Sometimes, this might mean conducting a couple of rounds of interviews but have a think about if it’s really necessary for the role you’re recruiting for. It may well be appropriate for some roles but, for others, you might be able to prioritise your questions.

Are you asking any questions that you already know the answers to? For example, if they’ve explained in their application that they understand certain software, is it necessary to ask it again in interview? Could you ask a question that would demonstrate more than one of the criteria you’re looking for?

The more you can get out of one interview, the less likely it is you’ll need a second and the more likely it is your candidates will see your process through to the end.

  1. Finally, contact Reed Screening for help with pre-employment screening!

At Reed Screening, we can certainly help you streamline your recruitment process by taking some of the workload off you!

We offer a range of checks to help get your next hire through the door safely and efficiently. We can build bespoke packages to suit your organisation’s needs and give you peace of mind, knowing you’ve got the best person for the job.

Browse our pre-employment A-Z directory here to find out more about the specific checks that we offer; take a look at our pre-built pay-per-candidate screening packages here; and get in touch to build the right screening package for you.