Recruiting permanent employees in a short time frame

Streamlining Permanent Recruitment - Thinkstock

At various points, it may be important for your organisation to hire somebody quickly. This could be to add capacity as new commercial opportunities emerge, or to replace a valued member of staff who leaves or becomes a long-term absentee. Failing to bring in the necessary skills and expertise can lead to loss of opportunity for your business, causing you to lose ground to the competition. As such, HR departments and hiring managers need to think about what they can do to speed up the recruitment process, without sacrificing the thoroughness required to select the right candidate. 

In some instances, organisations may choose to take on a project professional - this could be an experienced interim hired on a short-term contract, or potentially an agency temporary professional.  Providing they are not occupied with another placement, such individuals may be able to start immediately - plugging the gap within your workforce. Temps are particularly useful when employers do not wish to add to the permanent headcount, as they can be released as soon as the need for additional labour subsides. But in a growing economy, with opportunities for revenue generation increasing all the time, employers may take the view that full-time, regular hires best serve their interests.

One issue with temporary workers is that - by nature - they are free to leave at any time. Although the Agency Workers' Regulations have granted equal treatment to contract workers who stay with an employer for longer than 12 weeks, initially such workers may not have access to the same benefits as members of the permanent workforce. This means that, should a better opportunity come up elsewhere, they could exit with virtually no notice. Consequently, the time and money spent training the worker up and integrating them into your team is wasted, and the whole hiring process has to begin again. So providing employers can afford to hire permanent employees, most choose to do so - knowing they can expect a greater return on investment on the individual they take on.

  • Streamlining the permanent recruitment process

Once you have identified a need for a new hire, it is important to start the recruitment process expediently. This does not mean cutting corners, but it does involve focusing on the specific needs of your organisation and devising a clear strategy for bringing the right person on board. At the start of the process, you need to draw up a job description and outline criteria for the ideal candidate - this should ensure you receive more worthy applications and have a larger pool of talent to choose from.

The next decision to make is whether to post the job internally, or open it up to the wider market. If there are a number of potential candidates for the role in-house, it may make sense to promote somebody already working for your organisation. But in many cases, hiring managers may look to bring in skills elsewhere, in order to benefit from their expertise, fresh approach and injection of energy. If you decide to recruit externally, the next step is to place adverts - whether online, via the print media or through recruitment agencies. Providing the job is marketed adequately - and the level of remuneration fits the role - you should start to receive CVs and applications from ambitious jobseekers. To ensure you are offering a competitive salary, it may make sense to consult resources such as the Robert Half Salary Guide.

Setting the deadline for applications is not always straightforward. On the one hand, your organisation has a role it needs to fill, and every day without a new hire being in place can be costly from a productivity perspective. But on the other, you want to give potential recruits sufficient time to find the job advert, consider whether to apply, and then make a submission. If the deadline for applications is too soon after the job is posted, this could impact on the quality of applicants, leaving you with fewer viable options.

  • Choosing a candidate

Having gathered the CVs and ranked the respective applicants, it is time to invite some to interview. At this point, it is important to prepare a list of suitable questions, based upon the original job criteria and any other factors which need to be taken into consideration. It is important that the questions remain consistent across all interviews as it will allow you to benchmark candidates based on their responses and potential fit for the role instead of the one you get along with best.

Having conducted the initial round of interviews, you need to decide whether a further meeting with candidates is required. Two interviews are typically the norm for staff-level employees, whereas three or more are typically standard practice for management-level hires. Having the right individuals present to interview – whether the direct supervisor, departmental lead and/or the head of HR - will help streamline the process and save the candidate from having to return for multiple rounds.

Once you have made your final decision, the next step is to seek references from current or former employers, and conduct any other relevant background checks. Using a recruitment consultant will help facilitate this process, saving the hiring manager valuable time while also serving as intermediary for the negotiation on pay and benefits.

Should the candidate accept the formal offer of employment - which needs to be submitted in writing - then, all being well, the job is done. It is just a case of getting the contract signed and waiting for the chosen individual to work their notice period. If they are not currently working, the recruit may be able to start almost immediately, ensuring your workforce has the vital extra capacity it needs.

However, be wary of counteroffers. With voluntary turnover on the rise, companies are doing whatever they can to retain top performers and many are offering increased pay and benefits to keep their best workers onboard. Speaking with the candidate throughout the interview process about their current employer’s potential to make a counteroffer will help mitigate its potential.

  • Conclusion

Adopting a structured and focused approach to employee recruitment increases the likelihood your organisation will hire a suitable individual in an appropriate timeframe. It is important that the hiring process does not drag on indefinitely, but equally crucial that best practice is followed and no short-cuts are taken.

Should you rush in and choose a candidate too hastily, you may have the wrong person come to work for your organisation - and this may prove costly. Conscious of the time pressures they are facing, hiring managers need to use all their skill and expertise to make the right judgement calls.