Those retailers who take the time to develop tailored recruitment specifications and support them with appropriate methods to attract candidates to interview are more likely to begin the process with a strong candidate pool and finish with more than one suitable applicant after interviewing.
Evaluating Applicants- Confirm Interview Quality
Although a standard selection process may be defined in an organisation it is possible that in reality things may not progress as expected. When excessive applications are received, the recruitment process is pressured by urgency, clarity on recruitment procedures is unavailable or not requested, or any number of alternate challenges arise the interview process can be compromised.
It is essential then that organisations take steps to clarify the consistency and quality of interviews prior to making final selections. This can be done through examining interview records to ascertain the method of questioning adopted and the quality of information gleaned so ensure quality in benchmarking.
Compare and Contrast Applicants
Establishing clear selection criteria provides a benchmark from which to accurately review candidate suitability.
Job descriptions and job specifications if developed at the commencement of the recruitment process provide all the information required to develop comprehensive selection criteria.
Employing a weighted selection process can assist in the equitable comparison of candidates. A record sheet for this approach ideally lists the attributes outlined in the position description and job specification (selection criteria).
Attributes and skills are prioritised through weighting that is assigned according to how important it is for the position you are filling (the weightings should add to 100). After each interview candidates are marked for each skill or attribute, on a scale 1 = poor to 5 = excellent.
Scores are then calculated for each candidate by multiplying their rating by the weighting for each skill or attribute. The candidates are then ranked on their total scores.
Example Record sheet for objectively ranking candidates when using a weighted selection process
When the final short-list of ideal candidates has been identified it is necessary to conduct reference checks. The process should be taken seriously as it can often shed further light on the attributes of shortlisted candidates. It is common to ask questions around work ethic, punctuality and reliability, honesty, rapport with colleagues and customers, why they left and whether they would be employed again.
Previous employers are preferred referees over personal contacts, particularly applicant’s immediate supervisors. It is standard practice not to contact an organisation for which the applicant is still working (unless the applicant has given specific permission) as to do so is a violation of the Privacy Act 1988.
When conducting reference checks it can be helpful to consider:
- Reference checking questions should only focus on the duties of the role. Listen to how the answers are given. This often conveys a lot of feelings and attitudes.
- Start checking references as soon as the applicant has given their permission to do so.
- Ask permission to call most former employers. The most recent employers may not have bad things to say about an applicant, but this is not to say that previous employers haven’t had problems you would like to hear about.
- Obtain references by phone as people are generally reluctant to record negative remarks on paper, and speaking to somebody directly increases the likelihood of being able to judge the sincerity and enthusiasm of their reference.
- If unable to obtain references from the individuals an applicant has suggested, it is perfectly acceptable to request alternate references.
Select Successful Candidates
Making a fair and valid recruitment decision means the recruiter must be confident that the process employed has provided adequate insight into the relevant skills and knowledge of each applicant to then evaluate their potential and determine the most suitable candidate.
Make and Communicate Selection Recommendations
Notifying internal stakeholders of the appointment of a candidate needs to be done in a timely way after the selection decision has been made. Of particular importance is how the new recruit’s future colleagues and team members are notified.
Inform Unsuccessful Candidates
It is respectful to notify unsuccessful candidates as early as possible after the decision. Non-shortlisted candidates (those not invited in for an interview) can be notified via email or mail advising they did not successfully progress to the interview stage. Every organisation should take the time to provide a response to both acknowledge the applicant’s time and appropriately represent the brand. Be mindful of the terminology and language used ensuring it is not demotivating. It is common to use terminology such as ‘we are not able to consider you for the position at this time.’
Inform Successful Candidates of Next Steps
Successful candidates need to be notified of the job offer prior to notifying unsuccessful applicants to ensure the availability of the second choice if the preferred candidate declines the offer. A job offer should always be verbal – either in person or over the telephone and followed up with a formal letter of offer (and in some cases a contract) in the mail.
The most critical points to discuss with the successful candidate when making an offer are:
- The Position and Title
- Start Date – agreed with respect to any candidate notice period required
- Starting salary and specific benefits
- Advise of the on boarding process
- Advise on next steps to expect i.e. contract, first day protocol
Be mindful that during the notice period a candidate may be offered other job opportunities or possibly a counter-offer from their existing employer. It is important to remain in contact with the candidate throughout the notice period to be informed of and proactively address any eventualities that could put into doubt their commitment to the role.