Top Tips for successful recruitment – part one


HOW hard is it these days to get the right candidate for the available job you have? There are so many ways to attract interest, and even then when you have their attention you fail to shortlist the right ones or treat them dreadfully in interview!


It is for this reason we regularly get asked for help with recruitment. The simplest rule of thumb in my opinion is to try and put yourself in the applicants shoes throughout the recruitment process – develop some empathy for the process and you will find it goes smoother. Failing that try the following instead:


  1. Advertisements are your shop front. They need to attract the perfect candidate and entice them to want to apply for your job. They should, without going over the top, sell the job and company. Make your advertisement about the applicant not about you. An advert which is just a list of what you want the person to be like, and be able to do, just isn’t very appealing.
  2. Be clear with what you want and why. You must have some pre requisites of who and what the ideal candidate must be and have. This gives you grounds to reject applicants you feel are unsuitable; just make sure they are legal grounds! However ensure you understand why you need them; justify them against the job role.
  3. Keep it legal. Make sure your advertisement does not discriminate on the basis of any ‘protected characteristics’ – such as age, race, sex, disability, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, either directly ‘must be over 25’ or indirectly ‘recent graduate’ unless the requirement can be legally justified.
  4. Make it simple to apply. A detailed application form in this fast electronic age will put people off applying. Whilst you do not want people to just apply for the sake of it you also do not want to put barriers in their way. Instead ask for an up to date CV and cover letter detailing why they are interested so they have to put some effort in and consider the job.
  5. Manage their expectations. Tell them when they can expect to hear and how, then stick to it. It makes you look professional.


  1. Avoid the assumptions. Whether you are shortlisting from agency CVs or your own advert don’t make assumptions about someone’s circumstances, motivation for applying or ambitions for the future, we are all different. For example we were recruiting for a physically challenging role within a warehouse and had the application from a 59 year old chap. Turns out he had been unemployed for some 6 months, and spent them down the gym. He told us he feared previous companies had rejected him as soon as they saw his age.
  2. Look for reasons to see people. A well written, considered letter, an accurate CV, relevant transferrable skills go a long way, even if they don’t perfectly match your criteria.
  3. Be consistent. Shortlist against the set criteria you used when creating your advertisement.       It was relevant then and remains relevant now! And stick to it; that will help avoid discrimination claims.
  4. Put the ball in their court. It is very easy to apply on line for jobs these days and whilst you don’t want to put people off you also want to be able to get rid of timewasters so check out how serious people are. If you receive a large response, which is possible, then put in a telephone interview stage or a further assessment but make them ring you.
  5. Be quick and always reply. It makes you look better than your competitors. Even if someone isn’t successful in obtaining employment they could be, or know, a prospective customer. Also the best people will go quickly so if you intend to run an advert make sure you have time to deal with the response.

Follow these tips and create a more professional and successful recruitment process.  Next time I will be sharing some tips on successful interviews and how to get the best out of using an agency to recruit for you.


2 Responses to “Top Tips for successful recruitment – part one”

  1. With regards to advertising – I think it’s really important that an “overview” of skills an employer may want is really just not good enough. Recently, I responded to an ad for a contract role within the aviation industry. They requested someone with exceptionally high benchmarks in a number of administration areas. They wanted technical knowledge along with an interest in travel and aviation. The recruitment process was painfully long and as the successful candidate I actually found myself pulling staples out of paper. Endless archive boxes to be unstapled and scanned. Clearly overqualified I asked why they had hired on the skills of x,y,z and they told me it was because they had previously hired people who could not turn on a computer. They wasted my time in offering me this position for 6 months by selling it as something it wasn’t. I just don’t think that’s good enough.

    • Hi an overview is a starting point – clearly, as I suggested, an understanding of what they want must have a ‘why’ they want it attached, and a valid one at that. It appears here an unfortunate previous experience sent them into panic and over drive. It’s about understanding why as a company/recruiter you need them and justifying them against the job role. The recruiter failed to appropriately do that here sadly. I wish you well (and better) in your future job searches.

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