How to hire good people – the selection process

This is the third blog in our series on recruiting and retaining good people for your business.  We’ve already covered how preparation can help you avoid panic hiring and how to take the bull by the horns and treat your recruitment as a campaign.  So, you should now have an impressive selection of CVs on your desk.  But what next?

In this blog we will cover how to sift through the applications, what to look out for and best practice when it comes to interviewing.  All of which takes time and effort in the short term but will undoubtedly save you time and potentially inconvenience in the long term:

  • Sifting the CVs. Of course, it’s nice if the CV is well presented, but most importantly you need to look at how long candidates have stayed in previous jobs.  Have they hopped around?  This can be indicative of things not working out for one or both sides. Are there gaps between jobs? Make a note of any concerns and carry these forward for the telephone interview stage.  Also check for their qualifications, which will vary depending on what trade you are recruiting for.
  • Telephone interviews. Yes, you heard me!!!  Incorporating a telephone interview stage into your recruitment process will honestly save you time in the long run.  Generally, I advise choosing the top 10 CVs and contacting them to conduct a short interview (10-15 mins) on the phone. This is your chance to ask a few screening questions and to assess whether they sound professional, keen and on the ball? Ask them why they are looking for a job, get them to tell you a little about themselves and their strengths.  Find out what they are looking for from their next employer and don’t forget to pick up on any issues around job hopping or employment gaps from their CV!
  • Face to face interview. I advise inviting the top 6 telephone interview candidates to meet you face to face.  This is where you can ask them what we call ‘competency’ questions. In other words, ask for examples of when they have dealt with challenging customers, a time when they have worked under pressure, or a time when they didn’t know what to do and had to find a solution.  Past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour so the answers to this type of question will give a good indication of what they are really like.
  • Reference checks. When you’ve chosen the best candidate, it’s time to check their references.  This is an important part of the process so don’t be tempted to skip it!  You can make a job offer subject to the receipt of two satisfactory employment references and I would recommend doing the refence checks over the phone.  It’s quicker and you will often get a better feel for the authenticity of the reference.
  • Potential rookie error alert. Don’t decline any other strong candidates until the references are in and the person has accepted!
  • Keep the process moving. Remember, this is a two-way process, so it is vital that you create a good impression by getting back to any candidates who were interviewed. Also, good people get snapped up quickly, so doing all of this in a timely fashion (ideally within two weeks) will ensure that you are the one doing the snapping!

Having a proper selection process sends a clear signal that you deal with people fairly, efficiently and professionally.  This is helpful for setting expectations from the start, around how you require your team to behave when they are representing your company.

And now that you have successfully recruited someone with the right combination of technical ability and softer skills, you can sit back and relax.  Right?  Well, not quite – our next blog will look at how to keep good people.

If this information strikes a chord with you then there are lots more top tips and practical advice in my book ‘Build and Grow – How to go from Tradesperson to Managing Director in the Construction and Trade Industries’ And you can buy it from Amazon via this link http://amzn.to/2CBok2L.

“We work by taking the tried and trusted processes used by large, successful corporations and implementing them in a practical way that suits small-to-medium-sized Trade businesses. Our solutions must deliver financial return for our clients for us to feel satisfied that we’ve achieved our aim.”

— Alison Warner

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