Top tips for Recruitment: insider tips from a chartered occupational psychologist

Be clear on what you want Have you defined what the successful applicant will need to do? The job needs to be defined to include purpose, duties and responsibilities and a person spec. You should split the criteria into essential and desirable. Create an advertisement Target the people who are most likely to be interested. Will it be national or local press? Professional journals or the Internet? Your money is wasted if your target audience are unlikely to look where your ad is placed. Prepare the job description and person spec Have them ready to be sent to all applicants, so that those who do not meet your minimum criteria do not apply. When choosing essential criterion, check how important they really are? Could some of the skills be quickly developed on the job? influencing skills are important, then you need the candidates to present, not just talk about it. Decide whether to introduce psychometrics (timed ability tests). These can introduce some objectivity, and there are definite right and wrong answers. Care needs to be taken over the choice of tests, as numerous ones are available. The choice has to be made on what is relevant to the assessment. Are the tests at the right level? (You do not want to set a test designed for a senior executive if your target group is junior managerial level). Checks also need to be made as to whether relevant norms are available. This is the group that you compare the candidate’s response with. If you are recruiting for senior managers in the public sector, is a norm group of engineering students appropriate? Is a personality questionnaire going to be used?

Many organisations still rely on interviews for selection, but interviews can be very unreliable, particularly when undertaken by untrained interviewers. Follow these top tips to get the right person in place.

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Benefits to the organisation are an in-depth understanding of a persons personal Collect the information you want to qualities. Care needs to be taken that the provide to candidates questionnaire is designed for recruitment (some, like the MBTI, are not to be used for Company literature, job and person spec, this purpose). You also need to allow time in contact name for informal discussions etc. Get them ready in advance so you can send the process for the questions to be discussed with the candidate. It is good them out promptly. practice to do this, and it will validate their Decide on the date of the assessment responses. Candidates also see this as a very positive aspect of the assessment You will want to ensure that the people to process. be involved in the assessment process are available and suitable interview rooms are Who will form the assessment team? free. Decide whether you will hold the It will usually include a HR manager; line assessment on your company premises or manager and often an external consultant in a local hotel. who has been involved in designing the Place the advert assessment elements. Often a panel interview is included as it enables all assessors to Allow sufficient time for applications to be see candidates and have first hand evidence received, a short list drawn up and letters on how the candidate behaves. Decisions sent out. It can be helpful to applicants if need to be made on how to divide up the the assessment date is included in the questions, who will take notes etc. advert so they can keep the day free. All assessors should be trained in interview Decide on the format of the techniques to ensure they: plan questions assessment that relate to the competences; ask questions which are open and probing rather This will be based on your agreed than closed and leading; accurately record competences. It is from this that you choose the elements of assessment, don’t the responses; leave the evaluation to the end. start by choosing a numerical test and a presentation; they might not be relevant. From the competences you can choose the most appropriate assessment method. Some but not all can be assessed via interview, but if e.g. presentation or If a panel member has not been trained they need to be supported through the process to ensure all good practice interview guidelines are adhered to.

After the assessments Once all the candidates have been seen, it is time to review all the evidence and make a decision.

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Getting the right person for a vacancy is important, get it wrong and you have not only the costs of having to advertise again, but also the costs incurred by someone not being as effective as a better candidate – the lost opportunity costs.

This is the time to go back to the initial job analysis and compare each candidate against your key criteria; this ensures you are not overly influenced by one specific piece of evidence and that you will be able to justify your decision should any candidate decide to appeal against the decision. At the end of this round up session you should collect in all the notes taken on each candidate and save them in case they need to be referred to again. Letters should be sent to all unsuccessful candidates and an offer letter and perhaps a phone call to the successful applicant. Occasionally none of the candidates will meet all your requirements. You then need to decide if any of the applicants will be acceptable with development. You also need to consider the impact on the team and line manager of you decide to appoint someone who does not rate highly on e.g. leadership qualities. Sometimes it is better to start the process again rather than to appoint someone who is not acceptable. Review Before everyone departs it may be timely to consider how you worked together. What worked, what didn’t, and how can you develop for next time.

Brought to you by Denise Taylor, Chartered Occupational Psychologist and Director of Amazing People. Denise is a careers expert who specialises in helping individuals achieve career satisfaction and to take a systematic

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Within organisations she is an assessment specialist, recruiting graduates, professional and senior management in a wide range of organisations. Denise has published extensively in the area of career development and her specialist

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