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How a Simple Funnel will Improve your Recruitment Process

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

According to research by the ILM (Institute of Leadership & Management) nearly 40% of workers plan to leave their jobs this year, a figure that is significantly up on 2014’s figure of 19%. For employers looking to recruit in 2015, this is likely to mean a significant increase in the number of applications received when advertising a role. When this occurs, recruitment costs increase because recruiters have more (but not necessarily better) applications to wade through. Estimates vary but a recent report from Oxford Economics put the average cost of recruiting one staff member at over £30,000. So what can employers do to bring costs down and improve the recruitment process whilst ensuring that they identify the best possible candidate?

Know what you want. Before getting started it is worth reviewing whether the requirements of the role have changed since it was last advertised. Engage with key stakeholders to understand what they want and ensure there is complete agreement between all interested parties. This eliminates the risk of disagreement between stakeholders at the end of the process.

Write it down. Once everyone is agreed, update the job description to include not just the activities the successful candidate will be required to undertake but also the technical skills and behavioural attributes that are required. It is by assessing these technical skills and behaviours that you will be able to identify whether a candidate is able to perform their duties to the high standards that you expect.

Assess, assess, assess. Like any major decision in life, from buying a car, a house or even choosing your life partner, it is important not to rely purely on gut reaction or first impressions. The more ways in which you assess your candidates, the more you will find out about their likely suitability for your role. How you decide to assess your candidates, and what assessments you use at each stage of the recruitment process will vary according to a number of factors but common methods include telephone interview, online psychometric testing, competency-based interview, presentations, case-studies and role-plays. By creating a multi-stage recruitment process, you can move from screening out unsuitable candidates at the early stages (thereby saving you time and money) to getting a far better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your remaining top shortlisted candidates (thereby improving the quality of your decision making).

Do it online. The more you can do to assess your candidates online the less your recruitment process will cost. For a one-off recruitment exercise it may not be appropriate to build an online recruitment system if you don’t already have one, but you can start by assessing candidates using off-the-shelf online ability tests or situational judgement tests. By the time you are in a position to interview candidates face-to-face you should be down to a shortlist of very promising individuals.

Be decisive. Does the preferred candidate meet all of the requirements you set out at the beginning of the recruitment process? Can you live with a candidate that does not meet all of the requirements or is it better to start the process again? The answer will depend on the pressures within the business but the perils of making the wrong decision here are great. It can take 9 months or more to manage someone out of the business and during that time their impact on others around them can be significant. Don’t be afraid to review your recruitment process and start again if you can identify ways in which to attract better candidates second time around.