Last time I talked about technology in recruitment in my article Robot Recruitment and Big Data in HR. Now I’m looking at the other side of the coin for Recruitment.

In our rush to modernise, get online, get mobile we’ve forgotten some of the basic human elements of recruitment. At the end of the day we are hiring people – to work with other people, not machines. As anyone will tell you, it’s the role clarity, cultural fit, team fit and behaviours, negotiation and trust, that are most important human factors in the hiring process (not just the online application form).

Whilst some organisations do some things well, most never do all the things they should do to hire great people.

I’ve done a recap of things I have learned over the last 28 years – some old, some new – but still all very good practices and worth their weight in gold.

I got to up to 30 humanising things in terms of a check list.

How many do you have?

Have I missed anything?

Check list for organisations:

  1. Have a good Position Description

Important but true, and it must reflect the role and contain the key competencies. Ideally each competency having a measure and level of “competence” assigned. You can manage what you don’t measure. You don’t truly understand the role if you can’t list 5 key competencies.

  1. Take down a Recruitment Brief

More than just a Position Description, this should be mandatory for internal or external recruiters. Grab a free template Recruitment Brief (contact me). Sit with the hiring manager, pull out the top 5 competencies for the position (don’t try and cover a list of 20). Also cover off the culture, team fit, industry challenges, technical competence and salary for role.

Top tip – Do not proceed to market if the grade (salary) has not been established. You’ll be wasting everyone’s time.

If briefing an agency, it’s really important they are at this meeting and get down a good recruitment brief too (asking the right questions).

  1. Brief the Agency or Internal Recruiter well

Talk about cultural fit and team fit at the recruitment brief. What is it your best people do? E.g. work ethic or teamwork or a good communicator, innovator? Make sure you cover these factors in the initial brief before writing the advert.

  1. Consider you routes to market?

Don’t just stick an advert on Seek or your website. Identify the various sourcing channels to enable you to reach the ideal candidate pool. Be creative, use your networks and social media.

  1. Prepare a tailored, structured interview pack for each role

Every role is different and as such deserves some customisation of the interview pack and questions. A generic set will give you a generic answer and not necessarily the best candidate or outcomes.

  1. Run the interview pack past the Hiring Manager

Whilst Recruitment or HR can draft the questions they should be checked by the Manager. Make sure they write the technical questions and review the competency based questions too. Has HR got it right?

  1. Train your hiring managers in interview skills

Remember, a good candidate will also be interviewing you, the Hiring Manager. Spend at least a day on this kind of training program and make sure you cover Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and the law, the Privacy Act, Employer Value Proposition (EVP), interview structure, question types and probing techniques. Consider only letting managers hire if they have been “accredited” (trained) in interviewing. They need to be able to “sell” the role and the organisation. You are in competition for hiring the best talent.

  1. Make sure the questions are relevant

Don’t just ask standard questions, but adjust them for the core of the role. Once defined ask all candidates the same competency questions, ideally in the same order to keep you clear from bias and discrimination in interviews and above all enable you to make the best comparisons on review.

  1. Avoid non-relevant sensitive topics

It seems obvious but Hiring Managers can go astray on topics such as childcare, gender, race or religion……etc. Remember there are 19 attributes covered in most State and Federal Discrimination Acts. People making hiring decisions should make themselves aware of the law relating to these types of topics. And also try and be aware of their own unconscious bias.

  1. Don’t ask hypothetical questions

Focus questions on past activities and behaviours. Slipping into hypothetical questions is easily done but ultimately totally academic when it comes to hiring. E.g. “How would you go to the moon”? Is a very different question to “Have you ever been to the moon and how did you get there”? People can talk forever on what they would do – the trick is – have they actually ever done it? And how did they do it? Will give much better evidence of competence.

  1. Start with nice opening broad questions and then probe

The STAR, SAE or EAR are all nice probing techniques I’ve come across e.g. Situation, Action, Evaluation (SAE).

  1. Always ask about motivation

Why are they applying for the role? What do they know about the organisation? This sort of question up front will give you a good idea of their level of interest and preparation for the interview. Keep a list of questions they ask you. Are they stock standard or are they insightful, well considered and relevant.

  1. Allow time for the interview, at least an hour

Don’t try and hire people in half an hour – this could be $50,000 or $100,000 purchasing decision you’re making – so give it the time it deserves. Are you doing the “bar stool” five-minute interview? If so it could explain those poor hiring decisions.

  1. Candidate should talk 70% of the time in interview

You should talk 30% of the time in the interview! The candidates need to be answering your questions. Don’t spend the whole interview talking about you, the team or the organisation – even if the candidate is asking. You have to take control of the interview flow and format. You only have an hour to get the most information out of questioning them.

  1. Control the interview

Follow a structure (possibly WIGGS – see later) and position any of their questions toward the end of the interview (last 10 mins). After you have questioned them. Structure the interview, with 10 minutes for meet and greet, and motivation questions then 40 minutes on competencies (include some technical questions), with 15 mins at the end for your sell on the company and their questions. Wrap up by you on what happens next.

These top 15 tips aren’t new, or don’t have to take a lot of time or delay the process.

I have another 16 tips which I will share with you in my next blog post. Until then, please contact me if any of the above has sparked questions.


Copyright Hill Consulting HRS 2016

Rachel Hill (CAHRI)

Manager Director, Hill Consulting HRS Rachel Hill is a Recruiter, a world class authority, speaker and author on Recruitment Best Practices for organisations wishing to attract and retain the best talent within their industry. She helps organisations review their current practices improving the time, cost and quality of their hiring decisions.