Recruitment: How to Pick the Right Person

Finding the right people for your company is a difficult and time-consuming process. But it done right, your time and energy is well spent: Good recruitment practices lead to high retention rates (meaning you don't have to keep recruiting for the same positions over and over again), ensure new employees are a true asset to their teams, and result in higher productivity rates.

Conversely, poor recruitment practices can cause high fluctuation and absenteeism rates, increased costs (e.g. for additional training measures), and conflicts, either because of misconduct or simply because the new recruit's behaviour and / or mind-set isn't in synch with your corporate culture.

In this two-part series, we put together a few helpful tips for picking the right person. We'll start by looking at the foundation for successful recruitment: the job description and the job requirements:

1. Job description A good job description provides a comprehensive overview of the tasks and responsibilities of a job role. Together with the respective line manager, determine the following points:

  • Tasks and responsibilities: This list is like an inventory. It contains everything a holder of this job role will have to do.
  • Prioritisation: Your task list should now be sorted by importance, starting with the most important task on top of the list.
  • Estimating proportions: How much time per week will be spent per task? You can use hours or percentages for your estimations. This will also help you identify the top tasks for the job role (i.e. tasks that take up at least 10% of the time). You will need that later in steps 2 and 3.

2. Job requirements When defining the skills & experience required for a given job role, it's crucial you ask the following question: Which requirements are essential for this job, especially regarding the top tasks you identified in step one? Which are only desirable or not as important because they only pertain to minor tasks?

  • Education: More often than not, experience and proven skills in an area are more important than a certain university degree. If you declare a specific degree as an essential requirement, you may miss out on great talents who acquired their skills on the job.
  • Skills: When you define essential and desirable skills, also consider how much time and effort it would cost if someone didn't have an essential skill and therefore would need to acquire it: If it is a relatively easy skill to learn, you may want to put it under "desirable", so you can include candidates in your job search who are perfect for the job except for this one essential, but easy-to-acquire, skill.
  • Experience: Don't use specific durations ("at least 10 years...") to define experience. Firstly, it can be interpreted as being discriminatory against younger applicants, secondly, it's not really what you're interested in: You are looking for somebody who is really good at what they do, not somebody who has been bad at something for ten years. Therefore, determine the skill level you expect from applicants, not the years of experience.
  • Personality: This is an aspect which is often neglected, but can be crucial: If the job role includes mostly repetitive tasks, you need someone who prefers routine and security to constant change and challenges. Ask yourself which character traits and personal preferences the job holder should have in order to be a good fit.

Job description and job requirement constitute your job profile. You need it not only for your job ad (step 3) but also for internal purposes, e.g. employee assessments.

In the second and last part of this series, you will learn how the quality of this job profile will help you for third and fourth recruitment steps: the job ad and the selection process.

If you would like to read more about the topic of employment, then download the eBook The Seven Deadly Sins of Employment: How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes Made By Employers by Russell HR Consulting. Also, have a look at our website where you'll find many more eBooks.