Your employees are probably the most valuable asset your company has, and will make the biggest difference to the success or failure of your business.  Every new person you employ brings their own unique personality and skills to the team. Particularly when workforces are small, one individual can change everything about your business, from its culture, productivity and client relationships to its very reputation. So making sure you get the right people for your business is paramount.

The key when recruiting is to remember that most of the really the good people are in work right now. They will be being paid and have some form of security, so they are unlikely to change employers unless they can see a real benefit for them to do so.  As an employer, this makes recruiting good people more challenging.

Too many businesses find they need a bum on a seat, stick an advert on the job boards, hire someone as quickly as possible, and then 3 months down the line wonder whey they chose the wrong person. The old adage, “hire slow, fire fast should be your guide. It saves time, money and stress in the long term if you make the effort up front in your recruitment process, and give yourself more of a chance of recruiting the right person first time.

So here is my 7 step process to recruiting the perfect person for your team.

1. Identify the Ideal Candidate 

Take some time to think about exactly what you want from this new person. The more accurate you can be, the more chance you will have of spotting the right candidate when they show up. Consider:

  • Roles, responsibilities, tasks and duties to be fulfilled
  • Skills required – minimum needed, and ones that would be desirable
  • Key Performance Indicators they will be held accountable for
  • Hours you expect them to work – remember, flexibility can be key
  • Holidays and benefits that would be desired by brilliant people doing this job
  • Pay range that will entice them away from their current job, but that fits with your existing team
  • Who they would be working for and with
  • Attitudes you want employees to have. Having clarity on your own company values is critical to understanding this.

2. Prepare compelling advertising for the position

Remember – you’re trying to entice good people away from other businesses, so you need to highlight all the great things about the role and your business. Follow the marketing “AIDA” formula – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.  Put as much effort into this as you would an advert you were making to sell your products/services.  (Get somebody else to write it for you if you can’t make the role sound exciting!) Your advert should:

  • Have a headline that captures attention – to make it stand out from the other thousand jobs out there
  • Focus on the benefits of the job – why this is the best job in the world
  • Sell your company – because great people want to work for great companies
  • Keep it brief and not waffle – this is just a teaser, to get them wanting to know more. You will never do the role justice in a job advert
  • Get them to do something as well as just send their CV. It could be answering a question or providing a covering letter – this will let you know whether they have actually read the advert, or are just throwing CV’s at jobs
  • NB Watch out for government regulations on discriminatory language. Get the ad proof read by somebody as a check.

3. Decide where you will find the right person

Think of where your perfect recruit will be hiding and where they will be looking, even if they do not yet know that they want a new job.  The wider you cast your net, the more fish you can catch.

  • Look within your organisation first, and offer a bonus to those that refer friends
  • Shop windows, schools, clubs and local papers are great if you want local people
  • Trade/industry publications and what you need if you want specific people who can relocate
  • Schools, colleges and universities are your target if you want young people
  • Your customers and suppliers are also a potential source of candidates
  • Social media and your website – talk about the role, and get your team talking about it
  • Your company newsletter and emails to customers can let them know you are recruiting
  • Using a recruitment agency, head-hunter or HR company will cost you money, but will save you time
  • Recruitment websites such as Monster, Reed, Indeed, Gum Tree, or a consolidator that does them all for one fee will get your message out there.


4. Focus on deselection

The key lesson in recruitment is that it is not a selection process, it is a deselection process. Put as many candidates as you can in the top of the funnel, and ensure you have a series of stages where the candidates that don’t fit are filtered out. Ideally you want to have a small number of candidates at the end of this process that fit your requirements and are worth spending time on. DO NOT read a CV or interview anyone until they have passed through your deselection process. This way, you will save yourself hours of wasted time considering people who would never work for your organisation. Possible steps for the process are:

  • Get them to send more than just a CV on their initial application. Any that fail to do so are deseleted at this  stage
  • Once the valid application is received, email them to ask them to complete a simple task. This could be to do a video, write a blog or leave a voice mail. It shouldn’t be too difficult a task, but something that only serious candidates would make the effort to do. Deslect any that don’t complete this task, or any that are really badly done
  • Now get the remaining candidates to attend an introductory group ZOOM call. This is your chance to sell the business and the role, and make them excited about coming to work for you. Do it once to all of the candidates, so you are not repeating yourself each time – and put some effort into it. Great people want to work with great people
  • After your pitch, ask each of them to introduce themselves for 2-5 mins.  Ask them 2-3 questions that allow you to get a feel for who they are. Record the Zoom session, so you can review it later, and if possible have somebody else on the call to watch the candidates. Are they interested, and paying attention? At this stage, deselect the bad ones. Do not positively select at this stage
  • Now you can short list by looking at the CV’s and comparing to what you have seen on Zoom. At this stage you deselect the people you don’t want to interview. If you have been clear about the sort of person you want and rigorous in your deselection process, you should only have a handful of people to take forward for interview

5. Focused interviewing

The key to good 1:1 interviewing is keep it focused. Remember, skills can be taught and acquired but attitudes are hard to change. Therefore, you are looking to recruit 80% for attitude and 20% for skills, so make sure your questions reflect this. There are no specific questions that are better than others, but you must make them relevant to the person profile you drew up in Step 1. Find out where they want to be in 5-10 years and what is important to them. If you can help them achieve their goals, they will help you achieve yours. You can build in skill tests at any stage in this process, just don’t do it too early or make it harder than it needs to be. It’s a great attitude that makes a great team member.

The more important the, role the more 1:1 interview stages you should have. For a high level role, you might have a 3 stage interview process:

  • An initial visit to your site, which gives you an additional opportunity to sell the business, and for the candidate to meet some of the team
  • A face to face interview, exploring their experience
  • A social get together with their partner too, if they have one. Nobody makes a job move decision without speaking to their other half.  Convince them, and you will win them if they have another opportunity on the table

I would always complete a behavioural profile on the preferred candidates before the final interview, as this can uncover some areas that you could look into in more depth at the interview.

6. Closing the sale

You have gone to all this effort to find the perfect person for your team, so don’t let them get away now. At the end of this process you should be ready to make an offer within 24 hours. If the decision takes longer than that, it suggests that you are not sure, and risk taking on somebody who is not right.

Make the offer by calling the candidate ASAP after you have seen them. I have done this within a couple of hours of them leaving. The longer you leave it, the more it says to them that they are not right, and they may go for another role.

When you speak to them, listen to how they sound. If they are overjoyed with your offer, then you have a winner. If they sound unsure and say they need to think about it, seriously consider your second best candidate. I would rather have a keen second choice than a reluctant first choice.

7. Post acceptance

Make sure that you get the formal offer out to your chosen candidate ASAP, and expect it back quickly. Any delays suggest that they are not that keen, and you may need to go elsewhere. You should have covered the remuneration package in full at the interview, so if they are now picky about the package, be wary. You want people who will forego a few things just to work for you, and get these things when they have proven themselves.  Also:

  • Always check references – and call them, do not write
  • Carry out document checks as soon as possible, and before employment commences
  • Prepare a great 13 week induction programme to ensure they have the best chance of success.

Once you get into the swing of this process, you will find it takes no longer than a few hours of your time. Delegate as much as you can, and it will be even less. Because of this, you should never worry about not hiring anybody at the end of the process and trying again. Don’t be tempted to hire somebody you know is wrong for your business. Wherever possible, start recruiting before you really need them, then your emotion of filling a seat will not make you hire badly.

 If building a successful team is something you would like to know more about, then check out another of my blogs – ‘6 Keys to a Winning Team’

Need help putting any of the above into ‘Action’? then contact ActionCOACH Solent

Tel: 02380 560833 or email