Article on Recruitment

August 6, 2014

Recruitment concept in word tag cloudIt’s often recognised by employers that staff are their greatest asset, so following the correct recruitment process is essential to you recruiting the right person to the right job. If the process doesn’t go as smoothly as possible the effects can lead to huge costs for the employer, for example, increased employee turnover, inflexible employees and a low morale throughout, not to mention the typical costs of a vacancy.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) estimates the cost of turnover as £6,000 per vacancy. Analysis from Oxford Economics suggests a figure nearer £30,000! This covers administrating the termination; recruitment and selection costs, including administration; covering the post during the period in which there is a vacancy; induction training for the new employee; and lost productivity in ‘getting up to speed’, for which the Oxford study allows 28 weeks.

Let’s take the recruitment process back to the very beginning. You’ve received a resignation from an employee and you’re now left scratching your head thinking “How do I start to recruit for the role?” Whilst there is no right or wrong way to recruit to your vacancy there is a best practice approach, and whilst on occasions you may have a friend or relative who will be able to fill the gap in the short-term, a quick fix will often end up not working.

Here’s a brief guide on what to consider when you need to recruit a new member in your team. So, what should you consider first?

Is there a true vacancy?

With organisations changing so rapidly, consider if the role has changed since your last appointment. It could be very clear the role hasn’t changed at all, but it may need to be redesigned dependent on the needs of the business. The devil is in the detail: is the role temporary, part time, for a fixed period of time? What are the hours? What is the salary? These are all details you need to consider before you start the next stage of the recruitment process.

Once you’ve clarified the details of the job and established there is a true vacancy to recruit to, the next stage in the process is to prepare a job description.

What is a job description?

As the label states, it is a description of the job. First of all is the title of the job: it’s important to get this right and not mislead candidates. The job description should:

  • State if there are any people who report to the vacant post and. If so, how many people are to be supervised.
  • Be an accurate list of the duties and responsibilities that the appointed person will be required to perform on a daily basis. ‘Duties’ are tasks the job holder will carry out themselves; ‘responsibilities’ are tasks that will most likely be delegated, but for which the job holder remains responsible.
  • Consider including a ‘catch all’ sentence that states that duties maybe liable to variation as job descriptions can so quickly become out of date.

The next stage in this process is to complete the person specification

What is a person specification?

This is where you identify the ideal person for the job. When preparing a person specification you should consider and include the following:

  • The essential qualifications that you require the person to hold.
  • The essential experience that you require from the candidate to perform the duties.
  • The essential knowledge and skills directly related to the job that the person should hold.
  • Any special factors: if you need that person to drive this should be stated.
  • State the desirable qualifications/knowledge/skills too. Take the approach of ‘must have and nice to have’.
  • The importance of fairness – ensure that no discrimination occurs. Equal opportunity is a must.
  • Familiarise yourself with the 9 Protected Characteristics and follow them.

Following this approach will allow potential candidates to assess themselves against the main duties and responsibilities. Self-selection (by the candidate) is the least expensive shortlisting process (provided the candidate gets it right).

The advert – what should be included?

The advert is the first impression of the company and is what attracts candidates, so you must ensure it is right. The cost of advertising is expensive, but the cost of an incorrect advert could be terrible. Consider the following points when preparing your advert:

  • The timing. Is it holiday season? Will the advert get missed by individuals being on annual leave?
  • Where are you going to advertise the role: newspapers, internet, radio, nationally?
  • Make the advert clear and nicely presented.
  • Target your audience.
  • Keep the advert concise and clear, explain what the main aspects of the job are.
  • The specific details. Salary, hours and contract length will allow candidates to decide whether to apply, saving you time reviewing unsuitable candidates.

Where to advertise?

Today, most people seeking a job will look online. Online advertising is relatively inexpensive (in comparison to a local newspaper, for example) and some providers offer easy tools for shortlisting and responding to candidates.

Depending on particular circumstances there may be local opportunities, such as supermarket boards, that would be suitable for advertising some care sector jobs.

Opinions do vary about the value of using the Job Centre, but those who actively seek to work with you may be better prospects than those who, however gently, are pushed.


To complete the process you’ll need to choose the selection tools that you plan to use. A structured interview remains the preferred choice, but you may want to consider some of the following methods:

  • Assessment centres: these can be invaluable in assessing social skills.
  • Presentations: in which you can assess confidence and ability to communicate.
  • Practical tests relevant to the duties.
  • Psychometric testing for qualities of compassion, for example.

Ensure that whichever processes you decide to follow, follow them fairly. Give every person the same opportunity to display their qualities to you.

Malcolm Martin of Employer Solutions – QCS Human Resource Expert.


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