How to Recruit

THE RECRUITING PROCESS is just that: a process. Finding and hiring top talent is critical to company success, and should be approached strategically and purposefully. This involves formulating a plan and executing it throughout the following three distinct phases.



When getting ready to recruit, the likelihood of success will improve by investing time to get organized and really understand what you need and how much that is worth to your organization.

Phase 1: Preparation


Plan to dedicate a good amount of time to headhunting as it is critical to success. Finding and engaging potential candidates is important as most quality hires are not actively applying for jobs.

Phase 2: Headhunting


Now that you have a list of qualified and interested candidates, it’s time to process them. This means reviewing their claims, getting to know them, and seeing whose goals align best.

Phase 3: Processing

How to Recruit Successfully

Phase 1: Preparation

Job Descriptions

To find what you’re looking for, it helps to first define it. 

A well written job description is a critical human resources document that is often used as an ongoing communication tool between employers and employees about job expectations. The description should explain the role within the context of the overall company hierarchy. Important details to include are key performance indicators (KPI), and  key behavioural indicators (KBI), as well as training and development requirements. 

Where a job classification system is in place, the job description should include a set of compensable factors for which the company is willing to pay, such as skill, effort, responsibility, working conditions and innovation. Job descriptions can be reviewed and updated annually, or when organization changes dictate. 

KPIs and KBIs

KPIs are measurable statements that can be used to evaluate employee performance. They should be well considered, in line with company goals, and realistic.

KBIs on the other hand contain words which describe outcomes. These pertain to desirable behavioural skills that are important for the success of the role.

Writing a Job Posting

Generally speaking, the job posting plays a dual role. Firstly, it serves as a communications piece that seeks to attract quality candidates. Secondly, it acts as an informative guiding light that both helps candidates evaluate positions and companies evaluate candidates. It should be accurate, informative, and appealing, while still including the aforementioned aspects of the job description.

Establishing a Salary Range

Salary is obviously an important motivator for candidates, and should be considered carefully. In order to do this, a company should conduct salary reviews both internally (amongst current employees) and externally (in the competitive marketplace as a whole). Consideration must be placed on the balancing act between n offering potential candidates attractive packages without alienating current staff, who are unlikely to be impressed if their new colleagues out-earn them.

Phase 2: Headhunting

Now that we’ve decided who we’re looking for, let’s find them! Headhunting can be time-consuming, but it’s absolutely essential. 

Attracting the attention of top candidates in a tight labour market is no easy matter, but if your job title and description are well formulated you’ll have a leg up on the competition. Remember: you’re essentially selling the position. Be persuasive without being misleading, cliché, or over the top. Now is the time to put your best foot forward without drowning potential candidates in details.

Finding Potential Candidates

Finding the best candidates means casting a wide net. You’ll want to take advantage of job boards in order to capture the attention of job seekers, but this alone is insufficient. Many qualified candidates may not be actively searching for new employment opportunities, but could be persuaded to interview if approached with an attractive offer. LinkedIn, company websites, or industry and association lists are good ways to identify these people.

Approaching Candidates

The initial contact will often be conducted by email or InMail. Quality professionals are frequently approached, so it’s important to make your introduction interesting and persuasive, without being hyperbolic. 

Highlight the position, and state your desire to speak with them directly to assess the fit. Emphasize the specifics of the role, including opportunity for education or advancement and other benefits.

Next Steps

If the candidate shows interest, it’s time to arrange a phone call or virtual meeting. Details such as company name, job location, and salary can now be disclosed, if they haven’t been already. If these prove to be deal-breakers, it’s best to know this before investing any additional time. If the candidate is interested, a more detailed job description can be forwarded to the candidate, in exchange for an updated resume. 

Phase 3: Processing

If you’ll pardon the holiday reference, you’ve made a list, now it’s time to check it twice. At this point, you’ll thank yourself for all the work you did preparing the detailed job description. Assess each candidate with an eye toward qualifications, soft and hard skills, and tenure, both within the industry, and specific positions. 

Keep in mind, it’s unwise to rush the hire, but it’s also inconsiderate to the candidate if the process has undue delays or lacks transparency.

Reference Checks

When checking references, ask specific questions that are pertinent to the role itself.. Is the candidate a hard worker? How did they perform relative to their colleagues?

Who you speak with is equally as important as what you ask. Anyone can curate a list of friendly colleagues or clients, so it’s far better to speak to their boss. This is the person who will be able to give you the real scoop on the candidate’s workplace performance. 

Discretion, of course, is key, so you won’t be able to approach their current superiors. Contact a former boss instead.

Conducting the Interview

In advance of the interview it’s best to revisit the job description and formulate a plan. Prepare a list of questions that will allow you to dig deep into the candidate’s experience and qualifications. Don’t be afraid to go off script and delve into a more conversational tone. What you learn from a candidate during an unscripted back and forth may be more revealing than their pre-considered answers to anticipated questions. 

Making the Decision

It’s time to weigh what’s been learned and make somebody a job offer. Regardless of who you move forward with it’s important to treat all candidates with respect and professionalism throughout the process. If location or salary range don’t align at the time,, keep them on file. Their parameters, or yours, could change over time. 

As Albert Einstein famously said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If your candidate search fails to yield results, consider revising your process or seeking outside help.

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