What is the first step to a successful recruitment process?

When speaking to a head-hunter or a recruiter on how to achieve a successful recruitment process, you will likely be advised on the importance of improving your company’s branding, in order to get excellent candidates and employees. Taking this advice, many companies spend a fortune by paying for advertising roles in the media and rebranding their company websites, all for the purpose of attracting the best candidates.  

However, these methods sometimes still don’t lead to getting the most suitable candidate for your company, and when you consider the amount of money spent, it simply isn’t worth the gamble.  

Benefits of doing an excellent job and person specification analysis  

Hiring a new employee requires spending time and money towards attracting the perfect candidate. It is therefore important that your time is well spent during the process. Therefore, going about the recruitment process the wrong way will inevitably lead to wasting hours that you could be investing somewhere else in the business. The best way to avoid this is to analyse properly what you need from a potential employee. This process is referred to as “job description and person specification” analysis, which could be a tedious process, but it helps save time and achieve a better recruitment process. 

Who is a suitable candidate for you?  

Employment processes can be quite complicated, especially with the large pool of competent and qualified candidates in the labour market. For companies, it really doesn’t matter whether you are a start-up organisation in need of fast and flexible learners who can easily adapt to modern technology, or you are an established company trying to maintain and improve your position in the market, your hiring process should be tailored towards attracting the candidate that fit directly into your company needs. Therefore, a candidate may be extremely qualified and may clearly stand out from everyone else, but unsuitable for your company.   

What do “job description” and “person specification” mean?  

They are 2 separate processes that are often conducted simultaneously. The first step is to define the role, as well as the tasks to be fulfilled by the person.  

For example, when a supermarket plans to employ a cashier, the job description will include the following:   

  • Attending to customers  
  • Charging customers on the till / counter  
  • Serving them when required 
  • Counting the money received at the end of a workday 
  • Replenishing the shelves when needed.  

These are the tasks that make up the cashier’s job description. They include the responsibilities to be carried out on a daily basis. 

The other part of the process is known as person specification, or role description. It focuses on the person and involves their abilities and capacities. In addition, it also specifies the company culture and the kind of candidate that must fit into such an environment.  

Still sticking to the example of a supermarket, let’s examine a big supermarket with a large customer base, where many employees never really stay for more two years. In such a situation, you may want to employ workers who are more likely to stick with the company, due to having similar values with the company. By doing this, you indirectly give them a reason to remain with the company for longer periods, whether or not they initially came on board for just the salary. You may also need to employ people with specific traits such as being generally happy, rather than serial complainers. This helps with customer relations. Other qualities you are likely to look out for include being proactive, independent, and spontaneous, which signify that a certain employee has the potential to become a manager in the future.  

A person specification simply says, “These are the qualities we want in a person who wants to fill this role”. In conducting a “person specification”, the first thing is to write down the needed skills and capabilities needed in such person. In the case of a cashier, these skills will include customer service skills/ experience, the ability to perform the store’s fundamental opening and closing activities, and all the qualities demanded by these tasks, including taking responsibility, attention to detail, numeracy, etc. 

In addition, as we mentioned earlier, you may want to include some values and inherent traits, which are directly in conformity in what you want as a company. Examples of these include the earlier examples we mentioned – being generally happy and proactive. These traits improve the company’s customer relation metric, as well as improvement in other areas of the company.  

How do you evaluate the skills of your candidates?  

After establishing the needed qualities in a candidate, the next step will be ensuring that the candidates you are evaluating/selecting are the ones you are looking for.  

The most ideal way to navigate this process is to ask competency and behavioural based questions. They give you an accurate idea on how ideal the candidate is to your role.  Simply outline the job description, as well as the list the knowledge, the skills and values needed. You should also include the needed experience (if any) and prepare your questions accordingly.